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Texas A&M Baseball Series Preview: Aggies Host Alabama

Bama actually not that bad this year pawl

Photo via Rebecca S.

After that incredibly scressful, very intense midweek win against some unranked non-conference opponent, the Texas Aggie Baseballers must now turn their attention back to their climb to SEC contention. The 2017 team turned their surprising series win at LSU into five consecutive series victories, which, for a minute there, gave them an outside shot for the regular season SEC crown. They ultimately ran out of gas, dropping their final three series and barely squeaking into a regional.

If this year’s team wants to put together a similar series winning streak, they’ll have to take down a much improved Alabama this weekend. The Tide won just one SEC series in 2017 (a surprising three-game sweep of Auburn) en route to a 5-24-1 conference record. Their overall record was a measly 19-34-1, making them just one of two teams in the entire league to finish with a sub-.500 record.

This year, at 21-13 (5-7) to this point, they’ve already matched their 2017 SEC wins and surpassed their total wins from last season. Year over year, this is already a huge improvement, and there’s still six conference series to go. They’re coming off two huge series wins against Kentucky, who’s ranked Top 10 in every poll except Baseball America, and then-No. 18 Missouri.

Probable Starters

  • Thursday: John Doxakis (5-1, 2.06 ERA) vs. Sam Finnerty (4-1, 3.02 ERA)
  • Friday: Mitchell Kilkenny (7-0, 1.49 ERA) vs. Jake Walters (2-3, 4.23 ERA)
  • Saturday: TBA vs. Garret Rukes (1-1, 1.17 ERA)

What to Watch For

A&M’s new look rotation

With the recent struggles of Stephen Kolek, including him only lasting 3.2 innings against LSU last Thursday, Rob Childress decided to give Kolek a relief opportunity against Texas on Tuesday. He worked an inning and a third, allowing two runs on a hit, a walk, and no strikeouts. Needless to say, no matter what the plan is going forward, it was highly unlikely we’d see Kolek start this weekend. With Kolek out, Doxakis and Kilkenny each slide up a day. Lucky for A&M, these two have been dynamite, but this still leaves a hole in the Saturday slot.

The offense needs to be more consistent

The one guy that’s been a factor in nearly every game has been Michael Helman. Just twice in A&M’s last 26 games has Helman gone hitless, and of the 24 games that he’s recorded a hit, exactly half of them were multi-hit games. He leads the Aggies in almost every offensive category. Logan Foster and Braden Shewmake are two others that have been constants in the Aggie offense. Outside of those three, however, A&M needs more consistent contribution. The offense has shown flashes of brilliance as a whole, with their nine-run, 13-hit output last Friday as the most recent example. Those three mentioned accounted for seven of the 13 hits, and that’s to be expected. They drive the offense. But the rest of the lineup accounted for five of the eight RBIs on the night. That’s the kind of effort that the offense needs more often if A&M is going to fully climb out of the early-season hole they find themselves in.

How to Watch

  • Times: Thursday, 8:02 pm | Friday, 6:32 pm | Saturday, 1:02 pm
  • TV: Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPNU (more Ben McDonald)
  • Radio: Dave South has the call on SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 102.7 FM
  • Live Video: All three games will be available on the SEC Network +
  • Live Stats: (desktop); (mobile)