Sacramento State to visit Olsen Field
Published: Thursday, February 20, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014 23:02
The No. 21 Texas A&M baseball team will host the Sacramento State Hornets (3-2, 0-0 WAC) at Olsen Field this weekend, eyeing its best start to a season since 2011.
Victories on Friday and Saturday would mark six straight wins to open the year for the Aggies (4-0,0-0 SEC), matching the record of the 2011 team that finished 42-18 and advanced to the College World Series.
Junior pitcher Daniel Mengden (1-0, 3.00) is scheduled to start for A&M at 6:35 p.m. Friday and he will face junior Ty Nichols (1-0, 3.00) of the Hornets. The Aggies will send senior Parker Ray (1-0, 1.80) and sophomore Grayson Long (0-0, 0.00) to the mound at 6:35 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday, respectively.
Offensively, the Aggies hope to continue their hot streak as they have batted 0.319 as a team through the first four games.
A&M is led by junior shortstop Patrick McLendon, who was 4-for-6 in Tuesday’s 12-3 victory over Stephen F. Austin, and junior third baseman Logan Nottebrok, who hit the first walk-off of the season Sunday with a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to seal a 1-0 win over Northeastern.
“I’ve got a better feeling going into this weekend than I did last weekend,” Childress said. “When you open the season, you don’t really know what you’re going to have. Once you start playing — and you put people in the stands — I think there’s a little bit more comfort with our guys.”
The Hornets are led by sophomore designated hitter Chris Lewis who had an impressive freshman season, batting 0.349, scoring 33 runs and driving in 46.
Sutter McLoughlin, sophomore relief pitcher, had a 2.11 ERA in 28 appearances out of the bullpen for Sacramento State in 2013.
Before the season, Sacramento State was chosen to finish third in the WAC by conference coaches.
“They’re going to be a solid team,” Childress said. “They’re going to throw strikes, make routine plays and be very offensive. It’s going to be a tough test for us this weekend.”
Although SEC play does not begin for A&M until March 14 against Auburn, Childress said he will approach this weekend as if he were preparing for conference foes.
“We’ll treat this weekend just like a conference weekend,” Childress said. “We’ll roll our three starters out there and do our very best to win on Friday night.”
Friday’s game will be the first meeting between A&M and Sacramento State.
After this weekend’s series, the Aggies will finish their eight-game home stand at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday against Houston Baptist.