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Weekend Preview: #2 Texas A&M @ #1 LSU

An epic showdown of #1 vs. #2 at the Box.

The only photo of an A&M baseball player I could find in our system
The only photo of an A&M baseball player I could find in our system
Brandon Wade/Getty Images

Texas A&M Aggies - 36-5, 12-5 SEC
CBI Rank: 2nd
RPI: 5th
ISR: 3rd

Well, it doesn't get any better than this does it? LSU vs A&M in prime time at Alex Box Stadium - Skip Bertman Field. #1 vs #2 in the middle of the regular season with control over the SEC West on the line.

The Aggies come to town owning a 36-5 overall record with a 12-5 mark in SEC play. They suffered their first series loss of the season to Arkansas last week, but have otherwise dominated their competition all year.

gonna be good

The Bats

Nick Banks - 407/471/580
Logan Taylor - 376/447/669
Mitchell Nau - 363/458/486

Much like LSU, this lineup is loaded from top to bottom and ranks either first or second in nearly every stat category. They lead the SEC in home runs with 47 and own the highest on base percentage in the league. They don't strike out a lot, they get plenty of walks, and they put up plenty of runs.

There are a few things A&M doesn't ask their hitters to do.  They hardly steal bases.  The Aggies only have 28 swiped bags on the year, so they won't try to manufacture their runs that way.  They also don't bunt much, only having 20 all year.

The Arms

Starters

Player

W-L

ERA

IP

OBA

K

BB

Grayson Long

8-0

2.73

56.0

0.206

66

24

Ryan Hendrix

3-0

1.40

25.2

0.226

24

8

Turner Larkins

5-1

3.31

49.0

0.266

46

13

Bullpen

Player

ERA

IP

OBA

K

BB

Andrew Vinson

0.60

30.0

0.172

29

3

Kyle Simonds

0.96

37.1

0.185

26

13

AJ Minter

0.43

21.0

0.213

29

8

Again, just unreal numbers all around. A&M has a really strong claim as the best pitching staff in the conference.  Only Vanderbilt comes close to matching their gaudy numbers. A&M owns the lowest ERA in the conference at 2.40, and allowed only 126 runs all season. LSU isn't far behind at 142 runs allowed, but A&M is going to be a hard team to score against.

The bullpens numbers are ridiculous. Four players have a sub 1.00 ERA with at least 19.0 innings pitched. The Aggie bullpen has only issued 57 walks on the season. LSU's going to work really hard for every run they score in this series.

Keys to the Weekend

Stolen Bases: I don't think the Aggies are going to give up many consecutive hits or home runs, so LSU will need to apply pressure when they get runners on base. I'd rather attempt steals than give away outs by bunting.

Solid Bullpen: The starters will inevitably get into a jam and need to be bailed out by the bullpen against this A&M lineup. Hopefully the Tiger bullpen is up to the task.

Home Field: Every game is sold out this weekend. Including standing room only. The environment will be insane. Let's see if the Box can get in the Aggies' heads a bit.

Horrible Prediction

I think the team will be amped up and ready to play.  The starting pitching will get us off to a good start, and a bullpen with something to prove comes out firing.  LSU takes 2-3 and gains control of the SEC West.