After scuffling through the first three weeks of SEC play, the Texas Aggie Based Ballers finally found a way to bring home a series win this weekend, taking two of three from LSU. They dropped the opener on Thursday, putting the Tigers in the driver’s seat. But thanks to an offensive explosion on Friday and an absolutely dominant performance on the mound on Saturday, the Aggies secured their first SEC series victory of the season.
Three straight series losses to open conference play put A&M in a deep hole, but not one that they can’t completely climb out of. If the Ags have any hopes to host a regional in College Station, taking the series against LSU was vital. There’s still a ways to go for their hosting chances, but this was definitely a step in the right direction.
- LSU starter Zack Hess was outstanding for the Tigers in this one. He got the win in the longest outing in his LSU career, throwing eight scoreless innings. He allowed just four hits, while walking three and striking out five. The Ags just could not get anything going against Hess.
- Stephen Kolek breezed through the first three innings. He induced six groundball outs, allowed just one hit, and looked in control. Then things fell apart, as LSU struck for four runs in the fourth. Kolek’s final line: four runs on five hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. He struck out just one.
- A&M jumped out to a 5-0 lead with a five-spot in the bottom of the first, knocking LSU starter Caleb Gilbert out of the game after only two-thirds of an inning. Michael F. Helman, Logan Foster, and Braden Shewmake all singled to open the inning, giving the Aggies an almost instant lead, before a Hunter Coleman sacrifice fly scored the second run of the game. So basically when A&M made their first out, they had already put up a crooked number. From there, Cole Bedford, Zach DeLoach, and George Janca added RBI hits to push the lead to five. The bats were quiet until the fifth, when A&M put three more on the board to give them eight. A Zach DeLoach RBI single in the seventh completed the scoring for the evening, pushing the Aggies’ lead to 9-2.
- John Doxakis was once again excellent. The only blemish in his eight innings of work came in the fourth, when he allowed a one-out, two-run homer for LSU’s only runs of the night. In total, he allowed two runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out five. With A&M’s bullpen struggles to this point in the season, strong starting pitching is sorely needed for the Ags to win games. In the MLB, they define “quality start” as one where the starter allows three or fewer runs in at least six innings of work. Aside from his outing against Auburn, every one of Dox’s weekend starts have been quality starts. The only reason his start at Auburn wouldn’t be considered is because he only recorded five innings. Keep doing the thing, Dox.
- Mitchell Kilkenny has easily been A&M’s best pitcher all season long, and it’s really not even close. In his eight starts thus far, only once has he failed to pitch past the fifth inning. Consequently, that outing has been the only time A&M lost a Kilkenny start. Saturday was no different. With their first SEC series win of the season on the line, Kilkenny dazzled, allowing one run on just five hits and a walk, while striking out four in a complete-game effort. He needed just 107 pitches to get through all nine innings. Kilkenny has definitely been the team MVP so far. Keep doing the thing, Mitchell.
- The offense got started in the fourth, when Hunter Coleman somehow cranked a solo shot to left despite 20 mph winds. Then in the sixth, George Janca smacked a two-run triple to right center to give him three RBIs on the weekend. Hopefully this can serve as a turning point for George and lengthen A&M’s lineup a bit. Keep doing the thing, George.
This Tuesday, the Aggies will host everyone’s favorite neighbors from Austin. The Horns are currently 22-12 on the season, and through their first four Big 12 series they sit second in the league with a 9-3 conference record. Their lone Big 12 series loss came two weeks ago at Kansas State, their biggest Big 12 series win thus far is probably taking two of three from Oklahoma State, and they’re coming off of a sweep of Baylor. They’ve suffered early-season series losses to LSU (two of three) and Stanford (three of four), as well as a midweek, two-game sweep at Arkansas. They’ll definitely be looking for a feather to put in their cap against A&M. This should be a fun one. First pitch is scheduled for 6:02 pm. See y’all at Olsen!