In the Childress era, when the projected weekend starters throw in the fall series, they usually shutdown the hitters. It's not until some of the younger pitchers out of the bullpen pitch in the later innings that the batters start making noise. That wasn't the case in game one of the 2013 Fall Series.
The Plowboys torched veteran Friday night starter and Team USA participant Daniel Mengden to the tune of five earned runs and nine hits over just three innings. The hits weren't cheap either...three doubles and several had line drive singles.
Although Parker Ray had a better outing, the Farmers still had some quality at-bats against the senior who was dominant throughput the summer and fall. Ray gave up two runs and three hits over four innings of work.
What stood out the most was the lack of strikeouts, especially at the top of the order for the split squads, where most of the starters are located. For hitters 1-6 on both squads, there were only three strikeouts in 43 cumulative at-bats. Strikeouts have been a major issue for A&M hitting in recent years. This is a huge improvement.
Top hitters on the day include sophomore shortstop Logan Taylor who collected a double, two singles, and two RBI's hitting in the No. 3 hole. Mitchell Nau added three singles and an RBI in the No. 5 spot for the Plowboys. Veteran Blake Allemand had a double in the gap and an RBi single in the leadoff spot for the PB's. Jace Statum and freshman third baseman Ronnie Gideon also collected two hits apiece.
The Farmers were led by Junior Cole Lankford with two hits and an RBI. Projected starting third baseman and JUCO transfer Logan Nottobrok roped an RBI double into the gap in the clean-up spot while sophomore J.B. Moss managed an RBI double in the No. 2 hole.
I continue to be very high on this team mainly because the bats look much stronger than in recent Childress years. This year's team has more natural hitters who are tracking balls versus guessers and hackers. Remember, I'm not a sunshine pumper. I've been one of the most vocal critics of the type of hitting talent recruited to the program as well as unacceptable number of strikeouts.
JUnior Corey Ray will face sophomore Grayson Long in game two THursday at 3:00. Long has been getting excellent reviews so far this spring and he'll be a finalist for that last weekend.
For those inquiring about freshman phenom Nick Banks, he had a quiet day going 1-of-4 with an infield single. Even more surprising was his position in the batting order for the Plowboys hitting in the No. 7 hole. Veteran Jace Statum seems to have the hot hand now, swinging in the No. 2 hole and lacing an RBI double off the outfield wall.
Here were the batting orders for game one.
1. Ryne Birk - 2B FR
2. JB Moss - OF soph
3. Cole Lankford - 1B junior
4. Logan Nottobok - 3B junior
5. Hunter Melton - DH soph
6. Troy Stein - C senior
7. Krey Bratsen - CF senior
8. Patrick McLendon - SS junior
9. Nathan Goodell - OF junior
1. Blake Allemand - 2B junior
2. Jace Statum - OF junior
3. Logan Taylor - SS soph
4. GR Hinsley - 1B junior (slated for LF)
5. Mitchell Nau - C junior
6. Jonathan Moroney - OF soph
7. Nick Banks - OF freshman
8. Ronnie Gideon - QB freshman
9. Nick Chouroby - OF Junior
Fall Series Kicks Off with Slugfest
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