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Texas A&M Faces Vanderbilt on Second Day of SEC Tournament

HOOVER, Alabama – The Texas A&M Aggies enter the double-elimination portion of the SEC Tournament to face the No. 1-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores. The Maroon and White are coming off a 6-3 win over the Florida Gators in their first-ever SEC Tournament game on Tuesday. The Aggies made the most of six hits in the win over the Gators with Hunter Melton logging four RBI, including a three-run dinger. Daniel Mengden recorded his second-consecutive complete-game and his fourth consecutive win.

Hoover Metropolitan Stadium (10,800) • Hoover, Alabama

Wednesday, 4:30 pm
TELEVISION – Comcast SportsNet South (Ch. 119 on SuddenLink Bryan)
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RANKINGS – A&M – unranked • Vanderbilt – No. 1
SERIES HISTORY – First Meeting
SERIES STREAK – First Meeting
• Wednesday – Parker Ray (Jr., RHP, 0-1, 2.12 ERA) vs Walker Buehler (Fr., RHP, 4-1, 2.29 ERA)

Texas A&M appeared in 14 of 16 Big 12 Tournaments, winning three of the last six. The Aggies won the tournament titles in 2007, 2010 and 2011. The Maroon and White own the second-best winning percentage in tournament history (.563) with a 27-21 mark, trailing only Nebraska (.707) who went 29-12 in their 10 appearances. 2005 and 2006 were the only two seasons the Aggies didn’t make the tournament between 1997-2012.

The Aggies won SWC Tournament titles in 1986 and 1989. 

Jason Jester has been solid as the Aggies’ closer this season, going 13-for-15 in save situations. He is 3-3 with 13 saves and a 2.45 ERA on the season. He has allowed 11 earned runs in 40.1 innings of work over 26 appearances, scattering 28 hits and 11 walks while striking out 35. He is holding opponents to a .190 batting average.

In 15 save opportunities, Jester has allowed just one run on 12 hits and four walks while striking out 18 over 22.1 innings. He owns a 0.40 ERA in save situations and holding opponents to a .156 batting average. He has allowed just two of 12 inherited runners to score.

In the Aggies’ series finale against Missouri, Mikey Reynolds had his streak of reaching base snapped at 45 games. The senior has reached base in 51 of his 54 games. The streak began with a 22-game hit streak and ended with a 15-game hit streak. He has hit safely in 48 of 54 games. He is hitting .354 on the season with a .419 on-base percentage, 37 runs, 11 doubles, one triple, one home run, 23 RBI and 18 stolen bases. Reynolds’ 45-game streak of reaching base included three pinch-hit appearances in three games at Arkansas in which he drew a walk and hit two singles.

Mikey Reynolds is the only player in NCAA Division I to log two or more hit streaks of at least 15 games. After going hitless in the first game of the season, Reynolds hit in the next 22 games, the sixth-longest streak in school annals. Later in the year he posted a 15-game hit streak that included back-to-back games with pinch-hit singles in his only at-bats.

Cole Lankford has been playing his best collegiate baseball as of late. In his last 39 games (the Aggies’ last 45 games), Lankford is batting .367 (58-for-158) with 16 multiple hit games, including seven three-hit games. He has 14 doubles, two triples, two home runs and 28 RBI during the span. In the weekend series at No. 8 Cal State Fullerton, he went 6-for-13 with five RBI. In the series finale against Georgia, Lankford came up just a single shy of hitting for the cycle going 3-for-5 with three runs, one double, one triple, one home run and one RBI. In the series finale against No. 6 Ole Miss, Lankford keyed the Aggies comeback, going 2-for-4 with one double and two runs scored. He batted 5-for-11 against South Carolina, including three hits in the series opener. Lankford batted 7-for-14 with two doubles and two RBI in the three-game series against Auburn. In four games last week, Lankford hit .444 (8-for-18) with three doubles, one home run and nine RBI.

Wednesday’s game marks the first-ever meeting on the diamond between the Aggies and Commodores.

Vanderbilt is ranked No. 1 in all four of the major polls and enters the SEC Tournament with a 48-7 overall record and the No. 1 seed in the tournament with a 26-3 league ledger, the most league wins in SEC history.

The Commodores are hitting .319 on the season with a .460 slugging percentage and .414 on-base percentage. Vanderbilt leads the league with 117 stolen bases. Tony Kemp is the league’s top hitter with a .408 batting average, 58 runs, 13 doubles, six triples, 30 RBI and 27 stolen bases in 55 games. Mike Yastrzemski is hitting .333 with 44 runs, 17 doubles, two triples, three home runs and 39 RBI in 55 games. Connor Harrell is the top power threat with 12 doubles, three triples, 11 home runs and 61 RBI to go with a .319 batting average.

Vanderbilt owns a 2.70 ERA and is holding opponents to a .216 batting average. Wednesday’s probable starter Walker Buehler is 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA and .245 opponent batting average in 14 appearances, including seven starts. 

The Commodores have stormed the national scene as of late with seven straight NCAA Championship berths and making their first ever College World Series appearance in 2011. Overall, Vanderbilt has 11 NCAA Championship bids. The Commodores have won six SEC regular-season titles, including three of the last seven seasons and SEC tournament crowns in 1980 and 2007.

Vanderbilt boasts 24 former players who have gone on to play Major League Baseball. The group is headlined by three-time AL All-Star and 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner David Price, 19-year veteran Scott Sanderson and four-time NL All-Star Rip Sewell.

After going 0-for-17 in his first six games (the Aggies first eight games), Allemand has batted .292 (50-for-171) with eight doubles, one home run and 24 RBI in the last 48 games. He and Krey Bratsen are the only two players to play in every game over the 48-game span. The 24 RBI and 27 runs during the span both rank second on the squad. Even when he wasn’t hitting, Allemand was able to get on-base enough to score five runs in the first six games, drawing five walks and getting hit by two pitches for a .292 on-base percentage. His on-base percentage the last 40 games is .400 with 22 walks and seven HBP.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT
First 8 games   .000   6- 6  17   5   0    0  .000   5   2   7  .292   2   3-3
Last 47 games   .292  48-48 171  26  50   24  .357  24   8  24  .400   6  13-19

Texas A&M is in the midst of its first season in the Southeastern Conference. After 16 seasons in the Big 12 Conference, the Aggies will meet a new set of league mates. This year, A&M will face 10 of 13 possible conference opponents in the regular season, with no series scheduled against Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt this season.

The Aggies are 136-100-3 (.575) against current members of the SEC, including 3-2 vs Alabama, 39-31-1 vs Arkansas, 1-2 vs Auburn, 7-1 vs Florida, 3-0 vs Georgia, 3-1 vs Kentucky, 16-14-1 vs LSU, 6-3 vs Ole Miss, 8-9 vs Mississippi State, 47-32-1 vs Missouri, 0-4 vs South Carolina, 3-1 vs Tennessee. With long-time Big 12 companion Missouri out of the equation, A&M entered 2013 campaign with a 78-52-2 (.595) mark against the old guard. Texas A&M had never faced Auburn, Georgia and Vanderbilt prior to the 2013 campaign.

Texas A&M pitchers have allowed just four earned runs in the ninth innings of games this season. In 39.0 innings of ninth inning work, the bullpen has allowed five runs, four earned, on 28 hits and 13 walks while striking out 31 for a 0.92 ERA and .200 opponent batting average. Jason Jester leads the way with 19.2 scoreless innings, scattering eight hits and five walks while striking out 15. Parker Ray has worked 3.0 scoreless frames, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out one.

Batters leading off an inning are hitting .312 (135-for-433) with 22 doubles, four triples, nine home runs and a .378 on-base percentage. Daniel Mengden has a .600 on-base percentage, going 13-for-25 (.520) with four walks, one hit-by-pitch, two doubles and three home runs to lead the way. Mikey Reynolds owns a .460 on-base percentage, going 31-for-78 (.397) with six doubles, six walks and three HBP. Krey Bratsen owns a .410 on-base percentage leading off innings, going 14-for-37 (.378) with one double one home run and two HBP.

The Aggies schedule features eight teams in the Baseball America Preseason Top 25 for a total of 20 games. The slate also highlights seven games against three teams in the BA Preseason Top 5 and 13 games against five teams in the BA Preseason Top 10. The Aggies play preseason No. 1 North Carolina and No. 18 Rice at the Astros Foundation College Classic at Minute Maid Park. They have a non-conference road series at No. 22 Cal State Fullerton. They have SEC series at No. 13 Ole Miss, No. 7 South Carolina and No. 3 Arkansas and SEC home series against No. 5 Mississippi State and No. 10 LSU.

Fourteen teams on Texas A&M’s 2013 schedule will be coming off NCAA tournament campaigns.

Of the 14 squads who earned a berth in the field of 64 in ‘13, four hosted regionals and Arkansas and South Carolina both advanced to the College World Series in Omaha where the Gamecocks finished as national runner-up to Arizona. Eight of the Aggies’ opponents racked up 40 or more wins.

The Aggies will play a total of 31 games against 2012 NCAA tourney teams this spring.

Mitchell Nau has five plate appearances with bases load this season. The sophomore has gone 4-for-5 with bases loaded with seven RBI. Against UT Pan American, Nau had a bases-loaded situation in the fifth inning, but a passed ball on an 0-2 pitch unloaded the bases. As a team, the Aggies have a .324 batting average (22-for-68) and .370 on-base percentage with 54 RBI in 81 plate appearances.

Troy Stein owns a considerably higher batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage in road games as compared to home games. In 19 road games, Stein is batting .338 (24-for-71) on the road, 45 points higher than his home batting average.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT
19 road games   .338  19-18  71  12  24    8  .549   5   1  19  .390   0   2-2
26 home games   .293  28-27  99  11  29   11  .404   6   1  14  .336   2   1-1

After a bit of a slow start, Troy Stein has hit .326 (43-for-132) in his last 36 games with 20 runs, six doubles, two triples, four home runs and 18 RBI. In the first 18 games of the season, Stein played in 15, including 13 starts and hit .260 (13-for-50) with just four runs, three doubles, one triple and three RBI. His slugging percentage (.492) and on-base percentage (.379) over his last 36 games is vastly improved over the numbers he put up in his first 15 games (.360 and .315, respectively).

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%  SH  SB-ATT
First 18 games  .260  15-13  50   4  13    3  .360   2   2  12  .315   1   1-1
Last 38 games   .326  36-36 132  20  43   18  .492  10   1  26  .379   1   3-3

Kyle Martin spent his first three seasons exclusively as a stalwart in the bullpen and one of the pitchers most called upon by Coach Rob Childress. He currently ranks third on A&M’s career list with 93 appearances. Martin has some work ahead of him to move up the list further as he’s chasing Kyle Thebeau’s record of 103 appearances between 2006-09. Estevan Uriegas (2009-12) ranks second with 100 appearances.

With 15 stolen bases on the year, junior OF Krey Bratsen moved into third place on the Aggie career stolen base charts with 67. Jason Tyner owns the school record with 118 from 1996-98. Chuck Knoblauch (1987-89) is next on the list with 83 steals.

Bratsen stole 31 bases as a freshman, the seventh-best season in school history. Last season, Bratsen racked up 21 stolen bases.

After 33 career appearances, all out of the bullpen, Parker Ray made his first career start four weekends ago … In his four starts, he is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA fanning 17 over 25.0 innings … Despite getting saddled with the loss, he worked 7.2 innings in his first career start, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four at Alabama … The last three weekends he was left with no decision, despite strong performances against Missouri, No. 3 LSU and Tennessee … He held LSU to just one run over 5.1 innings … Ray didn’t allowed a run in his last six relief appearances, covering 14.1 innings, scattering nine hits and two walks while striking out eight … At Arkansas he scattered three hits while fanning two over 3.1 innings … Against Texas State, Ray pitched 3.2 shutout innings, scattering three hits and one walk while striking out four.

With his save in the series opener against LSU, Jason Jester tied the A&M single-season saves record of 13 set by Scott Beerer in 2003.

The Aggies are 23-10 this season at Blue Bell Park, including a 8-7 mark in SEC action. Six A&M players are hitting over .300 at home, including Mikey Reynolds (.352), Cole Lankford (.333), Hunter Melton (.333), Daniel Mengden (.329), Krey Bratsen (.314) and Jace Statum (.304). Daniel Mengden is 4-1 with a 1.24 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 50.2 innings in his seven starts at home. Rafael Pineda is 5-1 with a 1.71 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 47.1 innings in his nine games, including eight starts at home. Jason Jester is 2-1 with a 10 saves, a 2.31 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 23.1 innings over 17 appearances.

In the last 12 games, Hunter Melton is hitting .360 (18-for-50) with six runs, two doubles, one triple, three home runs and 10 RBI. Prior to the outburst, the Corsicana-native was hitting just .171 (7-for-41), but he did have two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI in the 14 games.

Player           AVG  GP-GS  AB   R   H   2B  3B  HR  RBI  SLG%  BB HBP  SO   OB%
First 44 games  .171  14-12  41   4   7    2   0   2    7  .366   7   0  12  .292
Last 12 games   .360  12-12  50   6  18    2   1   3   10  .620   1   1  13  .385

The only player to play in every game for the Aggies, Krey Bratsen has gone through some hot and cold stretches. He’s currently on one of his hot streaks, getting a hit in nine of his last 10 games and registering a .441 batting average (15-for-34). 

Player        AVG  GP-GS   AB   R   H  RBI  TB  SLG%  BB HBP   OB%  SF  SH  SB-ATT
Games 1-12   .356  12-12   45   6  16   7   17  .378   2   1  .396   0   4   6-7
Games 13-24  .132  12-12   38   7   5   4    6  .158   6   0  .244   1   5   2-3
Games 25-33  .406   9-9    32   4  13   5   14  .438   4   2  .487   1   4   3-3
Games 34-46  .160  13-13   50   3   8   2   10  .200   2   1  .208   0   3   3-4
Games 47-56  .441  10-10   34   6  15   4   21  .618   0   1  .444   1   1   1-1

Outfielder Jace Statum has raised his batting average over 50 points in the last 10 games.  Statum played in 37 of the Aggies first 46 games, with 25 starts, hitting .216 with a .243 slugging percentage and .356 on-base percentage. After hitting .407 with a .444 slugging percentage and .484 on-base percentage the last 10 games, he has his season batting average up to .267. Statum’s .407 batting average the last 10 games ranks second on the squad behind only Krey Bratsen’s .441.

Player          AVG  GP-GS   AB   R   H  RBI  TB  SLG%  BB HBP  OB%  SF SH  SB-ATT
First 46 games .216  37-25   74  15  16    6  18  .243  16   0 .356   6  6   6-10
Last 10 games  .407  10-9    27   6  11    1  12  .444   4   0 .484   0  2   3-4

After going through a stretch in which he went 1-3 with four no decisions over a span of eight starts despite a 2.22 ERA, Daniel Mengden has taking things to the next level over his last four starts. During the stretch, he is 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA and he is holding opponents to a .168 batting average with 30 strikeouts over 34.0 innings. Mengden started the season going 3-0 with a 2.18 ERA and .176 opponent batting average in his first three starts.

Player            ERA   W-L  AP GS CG   IP    H   R  ER  BB  SO  B/Avg
First 3 Starts   2.18   3-0   3  3  0  20.2  12   5   5   5  18  .176
Middle 8 Starts  2.22   1-3   8  8  0  52.2  41  18  13  10  43  .214
Last 4 Starts    1.06   4-0   4  4  2  34.0  19   6   4   6  30  .168

Story courtesy of Texas A&M Athletics

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Posted by on May 22 2013. Filed under Sports.
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