Top-25 SHSU next on gauntlet
Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 19:07
There’s no rest for the weary as the No. 9 Texas A&M baseball team comes off a 2-1 series win over arch-rival Texas but travels to Huntsville, Texas, to take on No. 21 Sam Houston State at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night at Don Sanders Stadium.
Tuesday night’s non-conference contest against the Bearkats will mark the Aggies’ eighth top-25 game in its past nine outings — with the lone non-ranked opponent being perennial NCAA Tournament contenders, TCU.
The Aggies were one run shy in Austin this Sunday of sweeping the Longhorns in a three-game series to end a storybook rivalry that dates back 118 years, but Texas was able to muster two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to avoid the sweep.
Sophomore right-hander Rafael Piñeda had one of his best outings of the season against a touted Longhorn team in Sunday’s loss, pitching 7.2 innings of shut-out baseball, with six strikeouts, before being relieved in the eighth inning with the Aggies up 1–0.
“I’m really, really proud of [Pineda],” said Texas A&M head coach Rob Childress. “It’s as good of a performance as he’s had here to date. He did everything he could to give us a chance to win.”
The Aggies will have another tough test Tuesday at Sam Houston State. The Bearkats are 31-12 on the season under the tutelage of first-year head coach David Pierce as they enter the week holding the top spot in the Southland Conference standings with a 19-5 league mark.
The Aggies hold an 84-37-2 all-time record over SHSU — going 15-1-1 since 2001 — but last season the Bearkats beat the No. 6 Aggies 5–8 in 12 innings at Olsen Field. The Aggies won the season before that, 3–1, in Huntsville.
Freshman Daniel Mengden will get the start for the Aggies against the Bearkats. In Mengden’s debut as a starting pitcher at TCU, the Houston native lead the Aggies to a much needed 4–1 victory over the Horned Frogs, pitching six innings, giving up one run on one hit and striking out two batters.
The Bearkats will bring its ace pitcher Michael Oros to the mound against the Aggies Tuesday night. The senior SHSU right-hander is 6-0 on the season with a 2.14 ERA.
SHSU is also coming off a 2-1 series win this weekend, defeating A&M-Corpus Christi 6–3 Sunday for the series win. The Bearkats are 4-2 this season against top-25 opponents as they look to knock off the No. 9 Aggies with home-field advantage.