Well, the Aggies are off to Waco later this afternoon to participate in the QTI Baylor Classic. It was a late addition to the schedule–and kudos to Baylor coach Steve Smith for adjusting his schedule to accommodate this tourney–and a VERY good addition.
A&M will get a crack at three NCAA Tournament teams in one weekend, a rarity in this day and age of college baseball. The action starts tonight at 6 p.m., so let’s take a quick look at the other three teams in the field…
WESTERN KENTUCKY (2-1) is a team that pushed Ole Miss to the brink last June at the regional in Oxford, as the Hilltoppers fell in the “if necessary” game, 4-1. They bring back 15 letterwinners, five starters and two starting pitchers, and picked up where they left off last weekend by taking a series at home from Kent State, another ’09 NCAA squad. WKU is hitting .333 on the young season and feature a 4.67 team ERA. A&M will see senior RHP Matt Ridings (0-0, 13.50), who was 8-2 with a 4.84 ERA in ’09 and is the school’s all-time strikeout leader. He was picked in the 25th round last June by the Washington Nationals.
Host BAYLOR (3-1) was impressive in opening the year at its own home tournament. The Bears took two games from Duke and split a pair with then No. 22-Georgia, and enter this weekend with a .308 batting average and a strong 2.50 team ERA. Sophomore Logan Verrett (0-1, 7.71) will face A&M on Saturday. Verrett was 7-1 with a 5.13 ERA in 2009, and he got the win over the Aggies in the series finale last March at Baylor Ballpark (an 8-7, 10-inning Baylor win). He threw the final 6 1/3 innings of that one, striking out 10–A&M got to him late with four runs in the eighth and ninth to force extras but was unable to push the go-ahead run across.
TEXAS STATE (3-0) won the Southland Conference last year and was the 2-seed in the Austin Regional (remember that one? the one with the 25-inning game last year?). The Bobcats had a great start to 2010, sweeping the University of Houston on the road last weekend (6-0, 6-3, 9-7). They hit just .248 in the series but posted a paltry 2.67 ERA. The Aggies’ mound opponent? junior Brian Borski (1-0, 3.60), who got the win over UH in the series finale. He was 7-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 2009 and has never faced Texas A&M.
Of note, the Aggies were the only team in the field to get a game in this week–WKU’s game at Belmont, Texas State’s at Rice and Baylor’s against TCU were all postponed or cancelled.
Hope everyone making the trip travels safely, and for those of you who can not make it, you can tune in to Friday’s and Sunday’s games on WTAW-AM 1620, aggieathletics.com or radioaggieland.com. Saturday’s game will be on Sports Radio 1150 The Zone and also available on both internet sites. And as always we’ll have updates through gametracker and in-game scoring updates on Twitter via @aggie_baseball.
Check back this afternoon from Waco, we’ll have the starting lineups right here.