With the program’s seventh consecutive opening weekend sweep (dating back to 2014), the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Basedballers took care of business against Miami (OH). Now it’s always important to remember that, outside of the big-name opening weekend tournaments, such as the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament, or big-name opening weekend series, like Ole Miss’ 2-1 series win over former No. 1 Louisville, there’s not much to reliably glean from a sweep in a team’s first series. Yes, the fresh-faced Aggies of 2017 essentially shot Bowling Green into the sun and later wound up in Omaha, but let’s not forget just how close that team was to missing out on a regional berth altogether.
This go around, the Ags outscored Miami 32-5, outhitting the Redhawks 35-9 in the process. The pitching staff was outstanding, as expected, with all three starters logging 6.0 innings, combining to allow just four runs (three earned) on seven hits and four walks, while striking out 27. The bullpen, meanwhile, held Miami to just one run on two hits and four walks across their nine total innings of work. That one run, mind you, didn’t come until the seventh inning on Sunday. It was a great weekend on the mound.
We knew the Aggies would pitch well, as they (hopefully (fingers super crossed)) should all season. But the big question coming into this season was how A&M would turn around the league’s second-worst offense in 2019. WELL. It seems that things are definitely looking up for the Aggie bats. In addition to their 32 runs and 35 hits, they drew a total of 19 walks. Last season, A&M tied with South Carolina for 12th in the SEC in free passes with 224. After just one weekend, sample size be damned, they’ve already drawn close to 10% of their total number of walks from a year ago. That’s encouraging. And perhaps most notably, the Aggies smacked seven homers against the Redhawks; a total that took the 2019 offense 15 games to reach. Again, it’s just one series, but this is already an improvement. Yippee-Caillet, y’all.
- Asa Lacy was fantastic, as per usual, in his first career opening day start. In all, he allowed just one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out eight and racking up 20 swings and misses. He put on a clinic in the third, striking out the side on just 11 pitches, but his sixth inning was, perhaps, more impressive. After a leadoff double followed by full-count HBP, Ace buckled down, getting the next hitter to line out to left, striking the following batter out on four pitches, and coaxing an unassisted groundout to first for the final out of his start. Lacy should be fun to watch this season.
- The offense put up the bulk of their runs in the first three frames, with one in the first, three in the second, and a magnificent nine-spot in the third. Among the chaos of that nine-run third came this from Will Frizzell:
- Christian Roa took the mound for the Ags on Saturday, and he put together a solid outing. In 6.0 innings, he allowed two runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out 12 (B.R.A.N.D.). The two runs he surrendered came on a pair of solo homers; a two-out shot sandwiched between a pair of swinging strikeouts in the second, and a leadoff homer followed by yet another swinging K in the fourth. So I guess in this case “solid outing” is tantamount to “2019 Justin Verlander”. Nifty!
- After trading runs with Miami in the first four innings, the Aggie offense broke out with three consecutive crooked numbers in the fifth, sixth, and seventh. That stretch was highlighted by yet another glorious piece of hitting by William J. Frizzell in the sixth:
- Chandler Jozwiak took the ball on Sunday, and he was fantastic. In his 6.0 innings, he allowed just one run on one hit, a walk, and a hit batter, while striking out seven. He didn’t allow his first baserunner until Miami’s catcher lined a double down the left field line in the third, but Joz stranded that runner just one batter later. The next inning, he faced his only real trouble of the afternoon. The lefty hit the first batter of the inning, threw away a pickoff attempt which advanced the runner to third, and then walked the next hitter, putting runners at the corners with nobody out. The next hitter successfully squeezed the runner home for Joz’s only run of the day, who responded by retiring the next eight in a row to finish out his start.
- Offensively, the Ags got going early. Logan Sartori cracked a one-out homer to open the scoring in the first for the second straight day. Hunter Coleman followed up two batters later with a mammoth, 407-foot, two-run shot to up A&M’s lead to 3-0. They added two more in the sixth without so much as getting a hit, thanks to three hit batters, two walks, and two errors. The final tally of the afternoon came on Zach DeLoach’s second homer of the weekend to lead off the seventh.
- Side note on Mr. DeLoach: After coming out of the gates at the approximate temperature of The Sun with consecutive SEC Freshman of the Week honors as a freshman in 2018, we’ve been patiently waiting for Zach to put it all together. Last summer it seemed like he was about to turn the corner, winning a batting title in the Cape Cod league, and it seems like that is carrying over to 2020. Over his first 14 plate appearances, the lefty has tallied seven hits, including a double and two homers, drawn four walks, and driven in five runs. His slash line adds up to .778/.786/1.556, which makes for a hilariously absurd 2.342 OPS. Early season stats are so much fun!
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 93.7 FM.