The Weekend High Five In Review

It was an up and down weekend for Aggie baseball, but the team still showed flashes of the team that is expected to make a big Omaha run. How did the Aggies answer the questions of last week? Aggie Websider's baseball analyst Lanny Hayes takes a look.

Will the bats heat up? – It's hard to give a quality score here, since the Aggies were 2-hit by Rice's Ryan Berry. Aggie fans can take minor solace that this was an isolated incident in the larger scheme of things, since Berry and Rice (more specficially) have A&M's number, but the offense needs to do more in big games like this one. A&M scored 14 runs on the weekend, nine of them in the now famous sixth inning of contests. Averaging five runs per contest may or may not be enough if A&M is playing late in June, but the pitching staff needs more from the plate to continue pitching effectively as the season goes on. Give the Aggie bats a C for the weekend.

Who will Childress turn to? - This was a good one to follow, and Aggie fans should sense real excitement here. First, Childress went to an outstanding Kyle Thebeau to throw three innings on Friday despite a substantial lead…which shows exactly how important he saw the game. This is the type of behavior you'll see in the big games down the line. On Saturday night, many Aggie fans were left to scratching their heads when somewhat unheralded freshman Estevan Uriegas was called into a critical contest, but he and fellow freshman Denny Clement combined to throw three innings of one-hit ball. Uriegas was particularly destructive to left handers, who never made good contact against him, and Clement was overpowering. Going to two freshman in a key situation was a display of Childress' faith in the pair, and a good sign for Aggies. Sunday's matchup saw Childress move to another freshman, Ross Hales, followed by Thebeau and then Travis Starling. Hales figures to see significant action as the season continues, and the move to Starling is also a telling one. Thebeau was in a groove and showing success, but Childress went to Starling in a traditional save situation, where he struggled but eventually knocked the game down. We'll see, down the line, if Childress remains committed to T-Star in textbook save situations, or if he stays with the hot hand on the hill.

Blitzkrieg Bop – For better or worse, Matt Deggs played it relatively close to the vest this weekend. A&M attempted to swipe just four bases this weekend, three of them resulting in a caught stealing (though at least two were on botched hit-and-run plays). The style, in-and-of-itself, is a non-issue; it's difficult to play chess on the basepaths (A) without runners and (B) when a pair of your top guys are in the midst of a significant slump. A&M also played some lineups that were less predicated on speed, which was no doubt a reflection of the offensive gameplan.

Shaking off Centenary – Call this one a success. Despite not scratching the runs until mid-game, A&M shows no ill-effects from Wednesday's loss on Friday; and the dismantling of Cal-Irvine, and their top starter, is a good feather in the Aggie cap. The team looked mentally in control against Houston on Sunday, despite the theatrics of the game, and the review from the peanut galley is that this team shouldn't have an issue shaking off rough losses (and there will be more) as the season progresses.

Find Ways to Win – The sixth inning magic propelled A&M to victory on Friday and Sunday, while there was none to be had on Saturday. Credit the Ags for bringing the tying run to the plate for their best hitter on Saturday night, especially since Rice allowed just three runners to even reach base, but it was just not good enough to win the contest and effectively hold down their #1 national ranking.

The Bottom Line – Friday and Saturday's game were against Omaha quality competition, and the Ags certainly deserved to be on the field against two such clubs. The 2-1 weekend finish would've been gladly taken by most fans entering the weekend, but Friday's win made many sniff a perfect weekend. A&M needs to find more consistent offensive performance to go along with what's been really stellar pitching thus far, and they have five very winnable games before taking on another Top 10 foe in Cal-State Fullerton.

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