Other than a pair of solo home runs, Texas A&M was silent at the plate against Northwestern State on Tuesday at Olsen Field.■ Aggies fall to Tech in series final (AggieSports.com)
Aggie senior designated hitter Joe Patterson hit one in the fourth inning and senior short stop Brodie Greene hit one in the ninth as A&M lost 4-2 to the Demons. The Aggies had eight base runners, three of which were caught stealing or put out within the first two innings and two more of which were forced out in inning-ending double plays, stranding a total of three.
"They were getting out of their approach," A&M Head Coach Rob Childress said about the struggles at the plate. "They were a little too anxious. It's something we haven't done all year long and we did that tonight."
The Aggies call it Championship Sunday, acknowledging the significance of games at the end of weekend baseball series. It lived up to that billing against Texas Tech, determined by a couple of championship staples -- pitching and defense.■ More on the Aggies' sloppy defense: A&M baseball team to open Big 12 play (AggiesSports.com)
Texas Tech brought the pitching.
Texas A&M did not deliver the defense.
The previously struggling Red Raiders exploited A&M's defensive shortcomings for 11 runs during two huge middle innings to beat the 23rd-ranked Aggies 13-7 on a cold, windy afternoon before a paid attendance of 2,937 at Olsen Field.
. . .
Much of his regret was caused in the fifth and sixth innings, when the Aggies made what Childress considered several inadequate defensive plays that didn't count as errors. Among them: First baseman Kenny Jackson's inability to field a sharp grounder that went for a single, third baseman Caleb Shofner's failure to get to a high pop foul in front of the dugout that extended an at-bat that resulted in a hit, and A&M neglecting to cover first base on an infield chopper.
A&M has been one of the better pitching and hitting teams in the conference during a 13-3 start. But the Aggies are last in the Big 12 with a .955 fielding percentage, too often failing to make routine defensive plays. Those struggles resulted in some major lineup switches going into the series against Tech, which will start at 6:35 p.m. Friday at Olsen Field.
Attempting to patch a leaky infield, A&M coaches will move two players from positions where they have started in all 16 games. Brodie Greene will switch from center field to shortstop. Caleb Shofner will move from first base to third base. Scott Arthur will take over in center field.
"It's kind of like shooting free throws: You can not talk about it, or you can address it," A&M head coach Rob Childress said. "When the big pink elephant's in the room, you've gotta talk about it. We know we need to be better defensively. Hopefully those changes will work for us."
■ ESPN article about A&M's Barret Loux, reproduced at TexAgs.com
At times he's trying to strike everyone out. But he's used up a lot of pitches doing that.
■ Loux, Stilson shine for Texas A&M (PGCrosschecker.com)
Throwing 93 mph after 100 pitches was certainly another plus. The minus side was the lack of fastball life and the present below average quality of his slider and change up, although they were admittedly his third and fourth best pitches. Based on this outing I can see Loux as a second half of the first round type of pick, with teams in the early comp round getting really excited about his maybe sliding down a bit to their area of the draft.
. . .
Stilson’s delivery, to put it mildly, makes you want to say “Wow…that interesting”. It’s high energy with a pretty severe head jerk and lots of recoil after release. I think the only way that Stilson can get away with it and repeat it well enough to throw strikes is that he is such a good athlete. Of course, all hitters are seeing are arms and legs flying around and it has to be very deceptive. Stilson’s stuff, also to put it mildly, makes you want to say “Wow….that’s awesome”. He sat between 94 and 98 mph and it wasn’t your normal straight high velocity fastball.
■ If you want a peek at what our young Tiger team will be walking into at College Station, check out Panoramics from first three games (TexAgs.com)
■ Pouncing MU routs Pine Bluff (Tiger Extra)
It was painful in other ways, as well. Catcher Brett Nicholas was hit by a pitch three times.
“I do” have some bruises, “but it was worth it,” said Nicholas, who came around to score each time. “I don’t think I’ve been hit twice in a game. I was a magnet today.”
■ Tigers wrap up successful homestand (The Maneater)
Recently, much of that scoring has come in the form of homers. The Tigers have roped 11 home runs in their past five games after hitting nine in the 13 prior games.
With the Tigers producing with the sticks, coach Tim Jamieson is more concerned with their pitching heading into Friday.
“The one concern that I have is our starting pitching,” Jamieson said. “That’s something we still haven’t decided on for the weekend.”