That was a fun day of baseball, wasn't it? No real upsets (and, no, a red-hot Alabama team over a one-trick pony Ole Miss squad was not an upset.) Today, the Big Four with byes enter the fray, and the tourney goes to double elimination format (The bracket is HERE. Note: Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama and Mizzou were your winners yesterday, so pencil in accordingly.)
Today, Alabama faces the enigmatic Texas A&M Aggies, a team somewhat lacking in defense, though it has a serviceable enough stable of arms. With Bramblett pitching the complete game yesterday, and with the Aggies' penchant for putting up huge offensive numbers, we will likely see several (rested) Tide pitchers today, and a shootout is not out of the question.
Here are your previews. First up, GABA's take on the Texas A&M Aggies:
The good: Led by first-team pick Mitchell Nau, their offensive firepower is up there with LSU's (.313 batting average and 380 runs scored--both second in the SEC) and they just plain know how to get on base (tops in slugging percentage at .479 and OBP of .405). The 61 home runs (#1 in the SEC) helps too. Grayson Long is their ace, and while Lange and Fulmer may get the buzz, the junior's held his own this season: he's 9-0 with a 2.51 ERA, and players are hitting just .211 off of him.
The not so good: If there's one thing that sticks out with the Aggies, it's that they don't attempt that many stolen bases. That's not necessarily a bad thing. To that end, while the team won't burn you on the base paths, they certainly know how to make the most of their opportunities when they come up. However, they're last in the league in fielding percentage (.967) and are second in the league in errors (66).
Chances of winning: They don't really have the all-out, top-to-bottom strength that LSU has, and they aren't the best team defensively, but their pure ability to get men on base, their overall run production, and their power make them a group to watch. (Of note: both Alabama and Ole Miss, their potential second round opponents, have beaten them this year.)
And, our friends at Team Speed Kills specifically preview this game (as well as the rest of Day Two action.)
It's hard to get a grasp on how much the Aggies need this game. They're seventh in the RPI (all rankings as of May 19), which would put them in a prime position for a national seed in the NCAA tournament, but a quick out at Hoover (including a loss to the Tide) could change things. It might knock A&M down just enough for some teams that are right behind TAMU to pass it in the race to secure home-field advantage until the College World Series. On the other hand, Alabama desperately needs to win as many games as it can in the tournament, and the Aggies would make a nice addition to the resume that the NCAA selection committee will consider. Texas A&M won the regular season series, two games to one.
How / When / Where To Watch: The game begins at 9:38 a.m. Central Time, and is available on the SEC Network, as well as the WatchESPN streaming service. 99.1 Alabama sports radio has your local coverage, and Sirius 210/XM 190 will be available for those with satellite services.