Top-10 showdown set for Olsen Field

With No. 4 Missouri rolling into town, the first-place, sixth-ranked Aggies know this is a big weekend. Aggie Websider's Lanny Hayes takes a first look at the match-up this weekend at Olsen Field, with more analysis inside "The Tailgate."

The spotlight of college baseball shines brightly on College Station this weekend, while physicists around the globe may also peer in for some action.

After all, where else are you going to find an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object today?

All things considered, this may be the biggest weekend series at Olsen Field in many years. Both teams carry a Top 10 ranking and are in the hunt for the Big 12 regular season title. The Aggies lead the league at 15-3, 1.5 games over second place Nebraska (13-4-1), with Oklahoma State (11-7) and Missouri (9-6) training behind. The Aggies have established three "magic numbers" to eliminate the other three legitimate contenders for the conference crown; 8 for Nebraska, 7 for Missouri, and 6 for Oklahoma State. Any combination of Aggie wins plus losses by those individual teams meeting the listed number will eliminate that team from the title hunt.

Of additional consequence and possibility for the Aggies are the hopes of a national seed. The Aggie resume for such a national seed is quite compelling, though not perfect, and one need area is the RPI figure. They enter this weekend series with the #20 RPI, while Missouri is effectively out of the national seed hunt in at #44. Despite that low number, the Tigers should provide a solid bump to the Aggie RPI if they can win the series, thank to the improved Strength of Schedule.

The matchup with the Tigers is an interesting one on paper, which begins with the Physics Bowl on Friday night where the seemingly unstoppable Aggie offense meets one of the best pitchers in college baseball. The Aggies are batting a gaudy .330 as a team and average 8.12 runs per contest overall. Their Big 12 avearge matches that total and the 8.78 runs per league game matches their overall total. A&M has won 17 of 18 games, averaging 9.39 runs per game in that stretch and have hit double figure runs in 8 of the last 11 contests.

Across the way, though, sits the immovable object in Missouri's Aaron Crow. The consensus All-American candidate brings a gaudy 9-0 record into the contest along with a 2.37 ERA, striking out 79 and walking just 15 all season.

Game one of this pivotal three game set between the fourth-ranked Missouri Tigers and sixth-ranked Texas A&M Aggies is set for tonight at 6:30, with games two and three currently schedule for 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. A weather system is scheduled to move into the Brazos Valley late Saturday, but there have been no announced proactive changes to the weekend slate. c

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