Opinion: Power surge
Texas A&M’s ability to hit for power will be key to surviving the SEC gauntlet
Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 22:02
Throughout the early part of the season, the Texas A&M baseball team has displayed an ability to hit for power that has been unlike anything fans at Olsen Field have seen in recent years.
The Aggies began the 2014 season winning seven of their first eight games due in part to their knack for driving in runs in exciting fashion. Texas A&M has managed to hit five home runs and 12 doubles while outscoring their opponents 51-14.
In 2013, it took the Aggies 11 games to hit their first home run and they had only three during their first 20 games of the season. Junior third baseman Logan Nottebrok has accounted for three home runs alone during the eight games he has played this year. Of his three that have cleared the fence, two have come in the form of walk-off, game winners.
“[Nottebrok] is unbelievable,” said senior pitcher Parker Ray. “It’s awesome to watch him perform and hit the shots that he does. Even when they are outs, they are loud outs.”
Along with leading the team with his three home runs, Nottebrok tops the team with three doubles and 11 RBIs to go along with a .700 slugging percentage.
If the Aggies are to have a shot of making it back to the College World Series for the first time since 2011, and the sixth time in school history, they will have to continue displaying the power that has helped them through the early part of the season.
During their run to Omaha in 2011, the Aggies totaled 30 home runs and 138 extra-base hits. They are currently on pace to eclipse the home run mark by hitting 35 while also accounting for 84 extra-base hits.
“We’ve been swinging the bats well since the fall,” said junior second baseman Blake Allemand. “We have a pretty good hitting team. I think we can expect some big things out of this lineup this year.”
Heading into their third weekend series of the season, the Aggies have totaled a team batting average of .299 and a slugging percentage of .406. Of the 51 runs scored this season, 49 have been driven in by timely hitting.
Texas A&M began the season scoring double-digit runs for the first time since 2011. They have accounted for over 10 runs three times this season and have scored over five runs in six of their eight games.
“The offense is what I’ve been most impressed with,” said head coach Rob Childress. “The guys that have gotten an opportunity to play have made the most of it.”
In a conference that is home to eight teams ranked in the top-25 in the nation, the Aggies will have to do all they can to manufacture runs. In 2013, SEC teams averaged over five runs per game. Thus far, Texas A&M has managed to produce just over six runs per game, compared to the four it averaged last year.