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Series Preview: Aggie Baseball at Tennessee

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The TEXAS AGGIES look to keep their winning streak alive in Knoxville

Photo via Rebecca S.

Texas A&M held on to win at home on Tuesday night 7-5 against Texas State. Most of the offensive fireworks came in the very first inning when the teams traded crooked numbers, almost setting a theme of the night. From there, whenever the Aggies would score, the Bobcats would answer in the top of the next frame to tie it up. The Ags were able to buck the trend in the eighth and ninth, and close out the game with two nearly perfect innings in a combined effort between Asa Lacy and the ever-terrifying Nolan Hoffman.

George Janca has definitely had a rough year at the plate. But on Tuesday night he took his frustrations out on this poor, innocent baseball.

This weekend the Aggie Baseballers begin the second half of their SEC slate in Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. The Vols are 22-17 on the season, and they’re currently tied with Alabama and Mississippi State at the bottom of the SEC standings, with a record of 5-10. Heading into the weekend, they sit in the bottom three among SEC teams in every major offensive category outside of walks, where they rank fifth. On the mound, it’s the same story (although, surprisingly enough, they have picked off the most runners in the league to this point). In the field? Well, defensively they’re the only SEC team with a worse fielding percentage than the Aggies. It’s been a struggle for Tennessee, statistically speaking.

Probable Starters

  • Friday: Mitchell Kilkenny (8-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Sean Hunley (6-0, 1.53 ERA)
  • Saturday: John Doxakis (5-1, 2.38 ERA) vs. Garrett Stallings (4-3, 3.47 ERA)
  • Sunday: Stephen Kolek (3-4, 3.48 ERA) vs. Will Neely (4-1, 3.32 ERA)

What to Watch For

Mitchell Kilkenny: No. 1 Starter

This is a move that seems like an absolute no-brainer. Honestly, it’s a bit surprising that it took this long for it to happen. On the season, Kilkenny is 8-0 with a 1.50 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 16 walks in 60 innings of work. He’s only allowed 43 hits, which puts his WHIP at 0.983. Even if you include his five hit batters on the season into the WHIP calculation, he still ranks first among A&M’s weekend starters. His ERA ranks 22nd in the nation and first in the SEC, and he’s pitched into the seventh inning in all but two of his starts thus far in 2018. It’s Kilkenny’s time to shine.

The offense is rolling pretty good right now

A&M is currently riding a seven-game winning streak, and in five of those games the offense has scored six or more runs. Michael F. Helman, Logan Foster, and Braden Shewmake (the top three hitters in the lineup), have been the guys driving the offense essentially all season. During this streak, those three have gone a combined 31 for 79 at the plate (a .392 avg), with 24 runs scored, two homers and 13 RBIs. Behind them, the Aggies desperately needed the rest of the lineup to come through if the offense were to give them any chance of winning long-term, and those guys have responded. Especially Hunter Coleman, whose reemergence in the last two weeks has been huge for A&M. He’s gone 8 for 25 at the plate, with a homer, seven RBIs, and nine runs scored. Against a struggling Tennessee pitching staff (aside from their Friday starter, Hunley, who hasn’t faced an SEC team this year), the Aggie offense should have plenty of opportunities.

How to Watch

  • Times: Friday, 5:32 pm | Saturday, 5:02 pm | Sunday, 12:02 pm
  • TV: All three games will be available to stream via the SEC Network +
  • Radio: Dave South has the call on SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 102.7 FM
  • Live Stats: UTSports.com