This past Tuesday, Texas A&M dropped their first midweek contest of the season 5-1 to UT Arlington. The final score definitely doesn’t indicate that the game lasted 18 innings, making it the longest game on record in Texas A&M history. Yeah, things got a little weird late Tuesday evening. After 17 innings of scoreless baseball, the defense fell apart in the top of the 18th, giving way to all five of the Mavericks’ runs. It’s frustrating to think that if the Aggies scored their lone run in literally any of the 17 innings before that, they’d have won. They have to work on their Olsen Magic spell casting, I suppose.
Luckily, the Ags get to open up SEC play this weekend, as they venture over to Auburn to take on one of the hottest teams in college baseball. The War Tiger Eagles started off the season by winning their first 15 ballgames before succumbing to Northeastern in the back half of a double header last Saturday.
- Friday: Stephen Kolek (3-1, 1.46 ERA) vs. Casey Mize (4-0, 2.13 ERA)
- Saturday: John Doxakis (3-0, 0.81 ERA) vs. Davis Daniel (2-0, 5.06 ERA)
- Sunday: Mitchell Kilkenny (4-0, 1.30 ERA) vs. TBA
What to Watch For
These two teams seem pretty evenly matched
On paper at least. Offensively, Auburn has the edge overall. They lead the SEC in OBP and total runs scored, whereas A&M sits ninth and seventh, respectively. They’re second in team batting average and third in team slugging percentage, where A&M ranks third and sixth, respectively. Aside from things like plate appearances and at bats, the only categories where A&M holds an advantage are hits and triples, both of which the Aggies lead the conference.
On the mound, it’s the exact opposite story. There, A&M leads the league in ERA and innings pitched, with Auburn sitting 10th and fifth, respectively. The Aggies are second in walks allowed to Auburn’s 11th, fourth in opposing batting average to Auburn’s sixth, and second in home runs allowed to Auburn’s seventh. The Tigers hold an edge in saves, but in reality A&M hasn’t found themselves in hardly any save opportunities to this point. So, this series is really a team with a good pitching staff and a solid offense taking on a team with a good offense and a solid pitching staff.
Kolek, Doxakis, and Kilkenny face their toughest task yet
The weekend rotation has been outstanding thus far in 2018. In a combined 74.2 innings, they have an ERA of 1.21, a WHIP of .804, are holding opponents to a measly .183 batting average, and have 74 strikeouts to just 14 walks. This Auburn offense is good, however, and most likely the best offense these guys will have faced. A&M’s offense is pretty stout in its own right, but this team wins its games on the mound. If they want to win this weekend, Kolek, Dox, and Kilkenny will need to be up to the task.