The Texas A&M baseball club looks to get fat and happy while improving their NCAA resume at Olsen Field this weekend.
The Aggies (35-11, 11-9) leave the rigors of Big 12 play for a weekend set against Dallas Baptist. While Big 12 play has been erratic, the non-conference slate has been very kind to A&M. They've amassed the nation's best record outside of league play at 24-2 and possess the nation's highest non conference RPI—a key component in their resume for the NCAA selection committee.
That resume still needs enhancement for the Aggies to reach their ultimate goal of earning a national seed. The marks of a legitimate top eight seed are there across the board, except for conference record, which cannot be helped this weekend. What can be helped is A&M's winning percentage, which constitutes 25 percent of the RPI, and the overall feel that the team presents to the selection committee.
At 35-11, the Aggies hold a .7608 winning percentage. A sweep of the Patriots would improve that success rate to .7755, a difference of .0147. Multiplied by its one-fourth weight, a series sweep would be worth .0037 points in the RPI formula. While that number seems miniscule, it would be enough (given nominal results by other teams) to move A&M back into the fourth place position it held before dropping Sunday's contest.
An RPI of four, versus a ranking of six, may or may not be enough difference to give a team with a marginal conference record a national seed. However, the committee does look at each team's final ten games, as well as the full season, for quality victories and poor losses. Though DBU is not a sub-par squad, A&M's national seed hopes cannot afford even a single loss this weekend.
That will be no small task against the Patriots, who bring a deceptive 25-20 record into the weekend series. They also sport an 8-13 road record and an 0-6 mark against Big 12 squads, further evidence that A&M holds the tactical advantage this weekend.
Statistics indicate, however, that DBU will pose a deeper threat than their record indicates. The team is hitting .301 on the season and averaging nearly eight runs per game. They accomplish this through playing for the big inning, an obvious product of their .488 slugging percentage and patience at the plate (282 free passes this year, an average of more than six in each contest).
Garrett Baker (.301 avg, 12 HR, 57 RBI) and Trevor Head (.253 avg, 11 HR, 31 RBI) lead the team in home runs, while Austin Knight (.355 avg 1 HR, 36 RBI) and Austin Krum (.354 avg, 7 HR, 40 RBI) top the stat lines in batting average. Krum's 52 runs scored and .605 slugging percentage also lead the team's totals.
As A&M fans well know, a team that can score in spurts has a chance against the back end of the Aggie bullpen.
Luckily for Rob Childress' crew, the Patriots struggle mightily on the mound. The team ERA of 5.23 isn't respectable but probably not as disturbing when looking at the rest of the stat book. Opponents are hitting .270 against their staff, which also issues more than two walks for each three innings pitched. That all combines for an allowed on-base percentage of .373, which may be disastrous against an A&M line-up that reaches base at a higher rate (.407) versus consistently better arms.
PROJECTED STARTING PITCHERS
Friday – Kyle Nicholson (10-1,35 ERA, 72 K, 13 BB in 86.2 IP, .204 BAA) vs Jordan Meaker (5-2, 2.89 ERA, 62 K, 21 BB in 81 IP, .233 BAA)
Saturday – Scott Migl (5-1, 2.50 ERA, 23 K, 13 BB in 50.1 IP, .254 BAA) vs Randall Taylor (5-3, 3.34 ERA, 73 K, 23 BB in 64.2 IP, .255 BAA)
Sunday – David Newmann (7-1, 3.48 ERA, 66 K, 29 BB in 67.1 IP, .238 BAA) vs Victor Black (4-4, 3.96 ERA, 75 K, 44 BB in 72.2 IP, .225 BAA)
A&M set for Dallas Baptist
Aggie Digest Top Stories
Alabama Post Game: Kevin SumlinThe Texas A&M Aggies lost a hard fought game in Tuscaloosa to Alabama Saturday. Afterwards, head coach Kevin Sumlin met with the media to discuss the game and the future for the…
Aggie DigestYesterday at 7:53 AM
Game Balls: AlabamaThe Texas A&M Aggies couldn't overcome miscues against top ranked Alabama Saturday, picking up their first loss of the season 33-14. Aggie Digest hands out it's 'Game Balls' for…
Aggie DigestSaturday at 5:49 PM
Know Your Foe: Five Questions On AlabamaThe Texas A&M Aggies are heading into their biggest game in recent history, with a chance to become the last unbeaten in the SEC. We "Get To Know" the Crimson Tide with BamaMag.com…
Aggie DigestThursday at 12:59 PM
Chavis Sees Progress, Looking For MoreThe Texas A&M Aggies are set to face off with the top ranked Alabama team in Tuscaloosa Saturday and defensive coordinator John Chavis met with the media Tuesday to discuss the big…
Aggie DigestTuesday at 4:57 PM