So last weekend wasn’t great. It definitely wasn’t the end of the world or anything, but dropping the first SEC series of the year puts a bad taste in your mouth, for sure. Luckily for A&M, Mitchell Kilkenny is really #good at baseball, he’s now 5-0 on the year, and frankly his performance on Sunday saved the Aggies from disaster. Playing error-free baseball also helped, considering three of their four errors on Friday night led to three unearned Auburn runs when the Ags were facing one of the best pitchers in the entire country, in Auburn’s Casey Mize. Harrumph. MOVING ON.
Tuesday night, A&M headed down to Reckling Park in Houston (HOL IT DINE), where they promptly thrashed a not-good Rice team to the tune of 13-4. Michael F. Helman, who’s absolutely on fire right now, led the way by going 4-for-6 at the plate with a WHAMMY, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Altogether, the Aggies collected 13 hits, posted a six-run fourth inning, and got scoreless relief outings from both Cason Sherrod and Kaylor Chafin. Those two guys are so incredibly important to the pitching staff as a whole, and they’ve been struggling a bit lately. If A&M can get Sherrod and Chafin back on track, that will be a huge boost to their trio of outstanding weekend starters.
This weekend marks the first of four consecutive series that will get started on a Thursday. First up, we have the Ole Miss Rebels, who currently boast the best record in the SEC at 20-2, are seemingly really good at everything, and are currently ranked #5 in the country by three of the four major polls. After failing their test last weekend, A&M has an even tougher one this go round, if they want to bounce back.
- Thursday: Stephen Kolek (3-2, 1.50 ERA) vs. Ryan Rolison (3-2, 2.37 ERA)
- Friday: John Doxakis (3-0, 1.65 ERA) vs. Brady Feigl (5-0, 1.10 ERA)
- Saturday: Mitchell Kilkenny (5-0, 1.30 ERA) vs. James McArthur (3-0, 1.35 ERA)
What to Watch For
Yet another seemingly evenly matched series
Both teams lean heavily on their pitching staffs, which makes sense given they’re the top two teams in the league in ERA. Both teams are hitting exactly .300. Both teams have scored exactly 159 runs on the year. They’ve hit about the same number of homers (Ole Miss with 26 to A&M’s 23). Basically, the two teams are mirror images of each other. If they want to avoid dropping their second straight series, A&M HAS to play clean baseball. Errors doomed them against Auburn, and this weekend errors will doom them against Ole Miss.
Michael F. Helman’s turn to lead the offense
Seemingly every week we see a different guy in the Aggies’ lineup take charge. First it was Zach DeLoach, then Chris Andritsos, and then Logan Foster. Apparently, it’s Helman’s turn. He currently leads the team in batting average at .394, hits with 37, and doubles with six. He’s also wrestled away the team lead in total bases, with 54. Right now, Helman is slashing .394/.467/.574, which means his OPS is 1.041, narrowly behind Logan Foster’s 1.085. Michael F. hitting like this isn’t new. As I mentioned in the season preview (hashtag shameless plug SZN), he slashed .487/.567/.829 last year en route to the 2017 NJCAA Player of the Year award. Keep doing the thing, Michael F.
How to Watch
- Times: Thursday, 6:02 pm | Friday, 6:02 pm | Saturday, 2:02 pm
- TV: Thursday’s and Friday’s matchups will be televised on the SEC Network! Woo! But also Ben McDonald is here. Boo.
- Live Video: All three games can be accessed on SEC Network +
- Radio: SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 102.7 FM
- Live Stats: tamu.statbroadcast.com (desktop); tamustats.com (mobile)