Aggies travel to face Jayhawks
No. 2 A&M baseball team looks to rebound from Tuesday night loss
Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07
Rob Childress, head coach of the No. 2 Texas A&M baseball team, seemed very displeased after a Tuesday night defeat brimming with botched opportunities left his squad with a mark in the loss column; with 27 victories already in the books, winning has become the norm for Childress’ program this season.
“We’ll have a really good practice tomorrow, I can promise you that,” Childress said. “We will be ready come Friday.”
Literally moments after an uncharacteristic losing effort against UT-Arlington, Childress was already looking toward the next challenge. Whether we won or lost, this one’s in the books, he said; the only thing to do at this point is make adjustments and move forward.
“We’re gonna have to have a ‘team’ approach instead of a ‘me’ approach,” Childress said.
Rest assured that a veteran team with leadership at the top like senior 1B Jacob House and junior right fielder Tyler Naquin will address the inadequacies that led to Tuesday night’s uninspired loss. Following a serious credibility boost with the bestowment of a No. 2 national ranking, the Aggies responded with a dud.
They’ll get a chance to redeem themselves this weekend in Lawrence, Kansas.
“We’ll be ready,” sophomore catcher Troy Stein said of this weekend’s series against the Jayhawks. “We’re gonna come out and have a good practice tomorrow and get back to how we play ball.”
Assuming they’re able to right the ship before Friday, the Aggies (26-7, 7-2) should encounter little resistance from the Jayhawks (12-21, 2-7), who currently occupy the lowest spot in the Big 12 conference standings.
Kansas head coach Rich Price may need to dip into the bullpen early and often in an attempt to contain the Aggie bats, which are ripping a conference best .307 batting average this season. The offense has been highlighted by Naquin’s magical season which has seen the MLB prospect hit successfully on .422 of his at bats through 35 games, tops in the league.
“I love watching Tyler Naquin play for A&M,” tweeted Aaron Fitt, Baseball America’s national writer for college baseball, during March 24’s 12-5 victory over Pepperdine. “Such a quiet setup, then a smooth LHH stroke. Advanced hitter - another oppo liner hit in 1st.”
However, Naquin’s not the only one on the Aggie roster turning heads in high places. The Friday/Saturday/Sunday pitching combination of junior Michael Wacha, senior Ross Stripling, and sophomore Rafael Pineda have baffled opposing batters all season, recording a league low 2.88 ERA and earning the billing as perhaps the best starting trio in the country. Junior relief pitcher Kyle Martin and senior set up ace Estevan Uriegas have been particularly effective working out of the pen, combining for a combined 7-2 record and ranking at the top of the Big 12 appearances list.
“The pitching staff’s done a great job,” Stein said. “We’re gonna get back to hitting the ball in the middle of the yard and attacking the fastball and it’s gonna go from there. We’re gonna play great defense behind our pitchers and we’re gonna score the runs we need to score.”
Both Friday and Saturday night’s games will begin at 6 p.m., and Sunday’s series finale will start at 1 p.m. The Aggies will then head home for a Tuesday night non-conference parley against the visiting No. 9 Rice Owls at 6:35 pm.