'Battle of the Brazos'

With a series victory this weekend, the Aggies hopes of a national seed are still alive. If A&M can pull off the sweep, things will really get exciting. Aggie Websider's Lanny Hayes takes you inside the series this weekend and talks about the keys to the Aggies' coming out on top.

The Battle of the Brazos renews itself on the diamond this weekend, as #18 Texas A&M and Baylor hook up for their traditional weekend series. Game one will be played at Baylor Ballpark in Waco on Friday night before the series shifts to College Station for games two and three on Saturday and Sunday.

The stakes are high for the Aggies, who have three weekend series remaining and the full range of possible results still on the table. A&M has every opportunity to play their way into hosting a regional, a national seed (which would allow them to host all the way to the College World Series), or not host at all.

With the next two weekend series being against Baylor and Kansas State, the current 8th and 9th place teams in the conference, it's time for A&M to get greedy. Four wins against the pair would keep the Aggies in line with hosting a regional, but not do much to help their national seed opportunities. Anything less than four wins puts the hosting slot in jeopardy, and more than four wins puts the national seed in play. Of course, more than four wins requires a sweep of one of those two opponents, and Baylor is the lower ranked one.

Recent history suggests that such a result may be out of the question. Baylor has a 16-6 record against the Aggies since 2000, winning every series except for 2003. The Bears have also taken seven of the last nine against the Aggies, including a sweep in 2005.

There has been one discernible trend in the rivalry; if the road team wins the Friday night game, they've gone on to win the series each year. A&M will need to bring their best game tonight to do its part for that trend. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM.



ABOUT BAYLOR

The Bears are struggling towards their second lowest finish since joining the Big 12, and are just two years removed from a deep run in Omaha. The letdowns have been across the board, as both the offense and pitching are below the standards that Bears fans have become used to.

Offensively, Baylor is hitting .281 on the season, averaging 6.32 runs per contest and slugging .433. They reach base at a .371 clip, and strikeout almost twice as often as they walk. They don't move much on the base paths (39 steals), but are successful when they try (52 attempts).

Those numbers dip slightly in Big 12 play. The batting average and slugging fall just seven points each (.274 and .426), while the on base percentage falls to .349. They average 5.61 runs per conference game, but have struggled on the base paths (9-for-16).

The Bear offense is led by sophomore sensation Beamer Weems (.302, 6 HR, 35 RBI) and freshman Raynor Campbell (.336 avg, 2 HR, 17 RBI). Aaron Miller (.296 avg, 4 HR, 35 RBI) is tied with Weems for the lead in RBI, while Chase Gerdes (.285 avg, 4 HR, 24 RBI) leads in runs scored and stolen bases (13).

On the hill Baylor has a 4.25 ERA, striking out 312 while walking just 138. Opponents are hitting .281 off of the Bears, and almost 26% of those hits go for extra bases. Those numbers skyrocket in conference play, with the ERA rising to 5.99 and the opponents' average climbing to .314.



PROJECTED STARTING ROTATION

Friday - Jeff Mandel (5-6, 4.19 ERA, 22 BB, 61 K in 68.2 IP) vs Kyle Nicholson (9-1, 1.24 ERA, 12 BB, 62 K in 79.2 IP)

Saturday - Randall Linebaugh (2-4, 5.40 ERA, 26 BB, 37 K in 58.1 IP) vs David Newmann (6-1, 3.45 ERA, 26 BB, 59 K in 60 IP)

Sunday - Kendal Volz (5-1, 4.98 ERA, 12 BB, 37 K in 47 IP) vs Scott Migl (5-1, 2.59 ERA, 23 K, 13 BB in 48.2 IP)

Aggie Digest Top Stories