Husker Baseball: Scouting report – Texas A&M

HUGE weekend for Husker baseball. The SEC gets to play weekday games and play the Ivy League while the Huskers spend time on planes. LSU just played weekend series against Princeton and the Aggies played against Dartmouth. Let’s hope the Huskers can hand the AGGIES their first “L” on Friday.  They are going to need flawless pitching and solid defense to pull this one off at the Houston College Classic. They take on Texas A&M Friday, Hawaii on Saturday and LSU on Sunday. Here’s what we know about the Aggies….

Huskers will be seeing some familiar old faces this weekend. Head coach of the Texas A&M squad is former Husker pitching coach Rob Childress. Former NU player and assistant coach, Will Bolt is now their assistant coach (2014). Childress took over the program 10 years ago since leaving Nebraska in 2005 and has done well. He has been in 8 consecutive NCAA Championships, 2 conference titles and 3 league tournament titles and appeared in the 2011 CWS.

Top returning position players for the currently 14th ranked Aggies are Nick Banks, a sophomore who finished with .327, 10 2B, 2 3B, 2 HRs and 26 RBI. He is in the outfield and sits at .439 in 11 games played this year. Ryne Birk is also a sophomore and switches between 2nd base and the outfield. He was .306 last year with 5 2B, 2 #b, 2 HR and 18 RBIs. This year he is at .391 in 12 games.

Just under the mark last year at .290 is senior Blake Allemand who plays all of the infield except for 1st base. He had 4 @b, 1 3B, 24 RBIs and 5 SBs. Currently he is at .318 in 12 games. Last year’s team was certainly aggressive at the plate and gritty, as in never give up.

Lately Aggie success has come by getting the early hitters on base. They are solid on defense and have no problem with turning a double play or two. In describing their offense, DH Mitchell Nau said, “I would say ‘relentless.” We don’t have just one guy in the lineup that the pitcher can work around. All nine guys can hit and that makes it tough on pitchers.”

Childress can develop a pitching staff too. On the mound against the Huskers from Texas A&M could be Junior Grayson Long who is a righty and has a 3.12 era over 89.1 IP with 55Ks. NU could also face Tyler Stubblefield is a senior lefty with a 3.81 ERA over 59 IP and 61 Ks. A.J. Minter is a closer with great stuff having a 1.85 ERA over 24 IP and 24 Ks. Regardless of who Big Red draws, it’s going to be interesting.

So far the boys in Maroon and White haven’t lost a game this season and are 12-0. If you examine the talent the Aggies have come up against so far, based on RPI, they played Holy Cross – 221, Penn State – 235, Dartmouth – 173, Stephen F. Austin -167, Houston Baptist – 200, and Incarnate word – 271. Bear in mind Texas A&M started with an RPI of 31. (Huskers were 32)

As for the teams A&M played, the margin of runs was as low as only 3 runs twice, but after that they have won by more than 5 runs the rest of the way. In the only game that was seriously close (4-3) they faced a RHP who had previously been a reliever. It was a left hander from Penn State that managed to cause problems for their lineup in the other low scoring affair (5-2). As of the printing of this article, Huskers haven’t indicated who will be taking the hill.

All in all Texas A&M really hasn’t played anyone that tough yet but that doesn’t always mean much. Bottom line is they have the resume and stats from last year and returned enough letter winners to cause some serious concern for the Huskers. It’s going to be a tough, scrappy and close matchup.

If I were Coach Erstad I’d start Kubat against them, with Burkamper to follow, Knutson for Hawaii and toss Sinclair in for good measure against LSU. I know this messes with his rotation but get over that because winning against those programs would be HUGE! UPDATE [Chance Sinclair will be starting against the Aggies]

It’s a BIG weekend for the Huskers and a good side-by-side comparison with the competition that looks to be heading to regional competition at the end of the year. GO BIG RED!!!