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Series Preview: Aggie Baseball Welcomes Northern Kentucky

One final tune-up series before SEC play, in which please don’t lose another non-conference series

Sunday starter Chris Cortez has been A&M’s most consistent starting pitcher, who hopefully won’t be faced with avoiding a sweep once again
Photo via Rebecca S.

The Aggies kick off their final non-conference series of the 2023 season this weekend, when the Northern Kentucky Norse come to Aggieland for the first time ever. This marks the third first-time opponent of the year for A&M, which means we’re just making so many new friends! Let’s just hope these new friends are sent packing with a fresh bag of Ls unlike the last group of new friends.

The Norse bring with them this weekend some gaudy offensive numbers. Five players sport an OPS north of 1.000, including their team leader in batting average (DH Colton Kucera, .516/.583/.742) and their team leader in homers (1B Liam McFadden-Ackman, .341/.429/.829, 5 HR). As a team, the Norse rank tied for 15th in doubles, tied for 18th in steals, 20th in batting average, 27th in OBP, and tied for 31st in runs scored. They also run out a crazy amount of experience every time they take the field. Every single one of their qualified hitters (those who have 2 PA/G and appeared in 75% of their games) is at least a junior. Their competition, however, hasn’t been the strongest, thus far.

Of their 12 games in 2023, only two have come against teams that finished 2022 with an RPI south of 209. NKU beat Eastern Kentucky (115 RPI in 2022) back on 2/21, and lost to Xavier (62 RPI in 2022) on 2/28. So while their bats have been red-hot to start the season, they’ve yet to face a pitching staff close to what the Aggies will run out there this weekend.

The Aggies, meanwhile, seem to be turning things around at the dish. Since he was held hitless in the Portland series, Austin Bost is suddenly riding a seven-game hitting streak, with six multi-hit games along the way. During this stretch, he’s 12 for his last 23, with five doubles, two homers, 14 RBI, and just two strikeouts. Hunter Haas has been dynamite at the top of the lineup, leading the team with a .532 OBP and 16 walks. He even clubbed his first two homers as an Aggie against UIW on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, it looks like the Ags will be without Trevor Werner, who’s dealing with a hamstring issue. He missed last Saturday’s game against Rice with an illness. He then came out of Tuesday’s matchup with UIW with cramping apparently associated with that illness. Schloss said in his weekly talk with TexAgs Radio that the hope is Werner will be back after this weekend.

Probable Starters

  • Friday: Nathan Dettmer (0-1, 3.46 ERA) vs. Kaden Echeman (0-0, 4.97 ERA)
  • Saturday: Troy Wansing (1-1, 3.29 ERA) vs. Ben Gerl (1-1, 7.30 ERA)
  • Sunday: Chris Cortez (1-0, 4.11 ERA) vs. Jackson Fraser (0-1, 2.89 ERA)

How to Watch

  • Times: 6 p.m. Friday | 2 p.m. Saturday | 1 p.m. Sunday
  • Live Video: All three games can be streamed on SEC Network+
  • Radio: Tyler Pigg has the call on SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 93.7 FM for Friday & Saturday
  • Live Stats: (desktop); (mobile)