Vanderbilt baseball starts its "second season" today when the Commodores face a surging Texas A&M in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. Look inside for more. No. 9 seeded Texas A&M beat No. 8 seed Florida, 6-3, to advance in the SEC Tournament on Tuesday. The Aggies used an 11 strikeout performance by pitcher Daniel Mengden coupled with a solid hitting outing by Hunter Melton, who had a home run and four RBIs, to pull off the victory.
Winning is something that Texas A&M has become accustomed to lately. The Aggies have been on a tear, winning nine of their last 12 games to improve to 31-25 on the season.
On April 27 things were looking bleak for Aggie baseball. Texas A&M had dropped to 22-22 (7-13 SEC) after a pair of 3-2 losses at Alabama. The final game of the series was cancelled due to weather.
Since that dismal weekend in Tuscaloosa the Aggies have found new life. A series sweep over Missouri followed by a two games to one series loss to LSU in which the Aggies stunned the Tigers 2-1 in a Friday night game, got the ball rolling. Then A&M won two of three at Tennessee to secure a spot in the SEC tourney. Two midweek wins during the run also helped bolster the Aggies record.
Overall the Aggies bat .275 which ranks A&M in the middle of the SEC in that category. Senior short stop Mikey Reynolds is a big reason that the Aggies been able to turn their season around. Reynolds is batting a hefty .354 with 23 RBIs, 11 doubles, a triple and a home run on the season. The earlier mentioned Melton is solid as well. Melton (.275) has 17 RBIs and a team leading five home runs on the season.
First baseman Cole Lankford (.346, 32 RBIs) had a hit and scored two runs in Tuesday's win over Florida. He has 15 doubles on the season. Catcher Troy Stein (.308, 21 RBIs) is second on the team in home runs with four.
Tuesday's winning Aggie pitcher, Daniel Mengdon, is also a solid batter and serves as a designated hitter when not pitching. He has a .280 batting average with three home runs and 14 RBIs.
Against Vandy the Aggies might pitch either righty Rafael Pineda (5-4, 3.09 ERA) or righty Parker Ray (0-1, 2.12 ERA) who pitched in A&M's 8-4 win over Tennessee on Friday. In that game Ray struck out four while allowing 5 hits and three earned runs. Pineda pitched five innings in the 7-5 loss to the Vols on Saturday striking out three while allowing five hits and three earned runs. Either Ray or Pineda would be throwing on short rest if used against Vanderbilt but the Aggies may feel compelled to gamble some in order to sustain success in the SEC-T in order to secure an NCAA bid. Grayson Long, a right-handed freshman, could also be another option for the Aggies. Long (4-1, 3.79 ERA) has 34 strikeouts with 23 walks while allowing 26 hits and 16 earned runs.
Vanderbilt has an all-time record of 38-27 in the SEC baseball tourney. The Commodores won conference tournament titles in 1973, 1974, 1980 and 2007. Last season Vandy made it to the Conference Championship game where the 'Dores fell to Mississippi State. Vanderbilt has never before faced Texas A&M in baseball.
Vanderbilt postseason starts today
VandyMania.com Top Stories
Three Keys: Vanderbilt vs. TSUThe Vanderbilt Commodores host neighborhood rival Tennessee State on Saturday for homecoming at Vanderbilt Stadium. Here are your three keys to a Commodore win.
SIX PACK SEC FOOTBALL PICKSSEC football enters its seventh week of action. Look inside for this week's game picks by the VandyMania six.
SEC Basketball Media Days 2016 Music VideoPlayers, coaches and staff from 28 SEC basketball teams converged on Nashville for the 2016 SEC Basketball Media Days. Look inside for sights and smiles from the 2016 Media Days.
VandyMania.comYesterday at 8:58 PM
Bryce Drew on disciplineVanderbilt head coach Bryce Drew discusses discipline and the vetting of recruiting prospects.
VandyMania.comYesterday at 12:05 AM