The Texas Aggies started off the 2019 season with the program’s sixth consecutive series sweep in a series that saw quite a few new faces make some huge impacts in their first appearance at Olsen. There were new starters on opening night at first base, second base, third base, left field, and behind the plate, plus a pitching staff that returned only three guys with at least 20.0 innings of work in 2018. That’s quite a bit of turnover.
There typically isn’t much to glean from opening weekend series. Bigger programs usually welcome teams from smaller schools up north that can’t go outside at this time of year because winter up there means below freezing temperatures and snow (bizarre, I know). If they aren’t doing that, “Power 5” schools often take part in opening weekend showcases similar to the Houston College Classic that A&M plays in every other year. For example, Vanderbilt, Cal State Fullerton, TCU, and Virginia participated in the inagural MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament over the weekend. Tournaments like that frequently include multiple ranked teams, and pit big-name programs against other big-name programs. From those games, you can learn much more about each team than, say, A&M’s drubbing of Bowling Green to open 2017.
Texas A&M’s opening weekend series sweep was a play in three acts. Their performance against an Atlantic 10 program surely won’t open many eyes around the country, but the Ags did what they needed to do. They came away with three solid wins, they got some dominant pitching performances (especially from the starters), played (mostly) clean defense, mounted a 19 run onslaught in Act II, and got some timely hits in Acts I & III.
- John Doxakis got his first opening day start of his Aggie career, and he responded with pure dominance. The lefty threw 7.0 innings of one-hit, shutout baseball, walking none and striking out 12 Fordham hitters (BRAND). His 12 punchies tied his career high, and his zero walks gives him a strong early-season K/BB ratio of ∞. P good if you ask me, and the SEC thought so as well.
- The Aggies got the scoring started in the second, when 3B Jonathan Ducoff’s sac fly scored C Mikey Hoehner from third to make it 1-0. Logan Foster followed that up in the third inning with a mammoth two-run WHAMMY that apparently went over the scoreboard.
- The story of Act II was a combination of A&M’s offense and Fordham’s (lack of) defense. The Ags scored four runs in the first three innings, each coming directly off of a Fordham error. After the Rams got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth, A&M responded with a six-spot in the bottom half of the frame to make it 10-1, Ags. They added four more in the fifth, one in the sixth, three in the seventh, and one more in the eighth for good measure. The Rams put together a rally in the ninth, scoring four times in the frame, but it was juuuuust a bit too late.
- Asa Lacy took the ball to start this one, and he was brilliant. In his 5.0 innings, he allowed one run (earned) on three hits, a walk, and two hit batters, while striking out 11. Lacy easily could have come back out for the sixth, but given that A&M pushed their lead to 14-1 in the fifth, his day was done.
- The series finale was a much tighter contest than the previous two, with the game remaining scoreless through the first four innings. The Ags threatened in the third and fourth innings, but they came up empty. Then in the fifth, Fordham jumped on the board first with a two-out RBI single to make it 1-0, Rams. In the bottom half of the frame, A&M responded with a couple of sac flies from Cam Blake and Will Frizzell to take a 2-1 lead. The Ags added their third and final run in the sixth on a Zach DeLoach RBI single to make it 3-1.
- Freshman lefty Jonathan Childress made his A&M debut with the start in this one. After facing a bit of trouble in the first inning, Childress sat down 12 Rams in a row. All told the lefty allowed just the one run on three hits and a hit batter, while striking out three in 4.2 innings.
- Following Fordham’s run in the fifth, sophomore righty Christian Roa came on in relief of Childress, and he was dominant. Roa faced 10 hitters. Roa retired 10 hitters. He racked up five punchouts in his 3.1 innings. The biggest unknown for A&M at this point is the bullpen, and Roa’s performance is very encouraging.
The Aggies will welcome Stephen F. Austin and Prairie View on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. First pitch for both games is set for 6:32 pm, and as always you can catch the games on SEC Network+ and SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 102.7 FM.