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Series Preview: Aggie Baseball at Arkansas

If the Aggies are to host a regional, it’s put up or shut up time

Photo via Rebecca S.

After a totally relaxing week off for finals, in which everyone on campus got a full nine hours of sleep every night because they never missed a day of class and were fully prepared for their exams, the Aggie Baseballers are on the road for the final time of the 2018 regular season. It’s no secret that the regular season is quickly coming to a close, which means time is running out to impress the NCAA selection committee. Heading into the second-to-last weekend, A&M still clings to a small-but-definitely-existent chance at hosting in the postseason.

What it will take to secure that hosting spot is hard to say. Hell, that chance may have already been squandered. That said, if the Aggies are able to get to 16-14 in SEC play, they would have a pretty good argument. On top of that, if they were to find a way to take the series this weekend on the road against a consensus top ten Arkansas and then take down a resurgent South Carolina next week, it would be hard to argue against A&M hosting. SO, I’d say the Ags should definitely consider snagging a series win this weekend in Fayetteville.

As for the Razorbacks, they’re not exactly on the same level as Florida, but the Hogs are very, very good. This is especially true in the friendly confines of Baum Stadium, where they have a 27-4 record. After Ole Miss’ win last night over Auburn, Arkansas (33-15, 14-10 SEC) sits a half game ahead of the Rebels in the West. They started their SEC slate with a bang, sweeping then-No. 4 Kentucky in their first league series of the year. They then dropped two of three in their second series of the year at Florida. They had the tying run on second with one out in the ninth of game three, but fell 5-4. In their last three series, they were swept in Starkville three weeks ago, swept Bama at home two weeks ago, and dropped two of three in Baton Rouge last weekend. In their eight total SEC series thus far, the Hogs have won four of them, with three sweeps (vs. UK, vs. Auburn, vs. Bama) and lost four of them, including the sweep at the hands of State. In D1Baseball’s most recent NCAA Tournament projections, they currently have Arkansas as the No. 6 overall seed. They also have the Hogs at No. 5 in their RPI, as does Warren Nolan and the official NCAA site.

Statistically this season, the Razorbacks currently lead the SEC in a myriad of offensive categories. They sit atop the board in batting average, slugging, and homers, they rank second in OBP, hits, and total bases, and they’re fifth in runs scored and RBIs. A&M, in comparison, ranks fourth in hits, sixth in batting average, seventh in total bases, and eighth in slugging, homers, and runs scored. They also rank ninth and 11th in RBIs and OBP, respectively. The Ags do have an advantage in strikeouts, where they have the third fewest, and triples, where A&M leads the SEC. Arkansas sits sixth fewest in strikeouts, and they are tied for last in triples, by comparison. Neither team is particularly keen on stolen bases, as A&M sits 10th in steals and 12th in attempts, while Arkansas sits 13th and tied-for-last, respectively.

Arkansas is also pretty good on the mound, as per usual. The Hogs lead the league in saves and strikeouts looking, though they are middle of the pack (seventh) in total strikeouts. They also sit third in the league in ERA and walks allowed, as well as fourth in WHIP. Arkansas has also allowed the fewest extra base hits in the league thus far. The Aggies, on the other hand, don’t strike very many hitters out (12th in total Ks, last in Ks looking). They’re also middle of the road in saves, at sixth. Where A&M excels, however, is ERA (first), walks allowed (first), and WHIP (second). Interestingly enough, the Hogs have racked up the second most wild pitches in the SEC to this point, with 50. Contrast that with A&M, who has thrown the fewest wild pitches with just 21, and you have quite the dichotomy. Should the Aggies get on base, there could be ample opportunity to snag a free extra 90 feet.

Probable Starters

  • Friday: Mitchell Kilkenny (8-2, 2.20 ERA) vs. Blaine Knight (7-0, 2.77 ERA)
  • Saturday: John Doxakis (6-3, 3.04 ERA) vs. Kacy Murphy (5-4, 2.57 ERA)
  • Sunday: Stephen Kolek (5-4, 3.78 ERA) vs. Isaiah Campbell (3-5, 4.76 ERA)

How to Watch

  • Times: Friday, 6:02 pm | Saturday, 1:02 pm | Sunday, 12:02 pm
  • TV: Friday, SEC Network | Saturday and Sunday, ESPN2
  • Live Video: All three games can be streamed on SEC Network +
  • Radio: Dave South has the call on SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 102.7 FM
  • Live Stats: tamu.statbroadcast.com (desktop); tamustats.com (mobile)