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The Battle of Aggieland: A preview of SEC opening weekend vs. Texas A&M

No.1 LSU will face its first ranked opponent of the year in No. 15 Texas A&M on opening weekend of SEC play.

Texas A&M Athletics

Top-ranked LSU will start SEC play today as they will travel to College Station to take on No.15 Texas A&M.

Texas A&M leads the all-time series 29-26-1. Last season, the unranked Aggies won the series against the #15 Tigers as Texas A&M was victorious in two of three games in Baton Rouge on March 18-20 in the first weekend of SEC play.

Since Texas A&M joined the SEC in the 2012-13 athletic year, the Aggies have gotten the better of the Tigers as they have a 14-13 record in the 27 conference games that have been played between them. 11 of the 27 contests have been decided by one run.

Texas A&M returns most of its pitching staff from last year’s team that went 44-20 and finished as a semifinalist in the College World Series and has another chance to make it this year again in Jim Schlossnagle’s second season.

How the Aggies look on the mound

The Aggies have one of the best pitching staff in the SEC. Texas A&M’s pitching staff has an ERA of 3.35, which is 19th nationally and sixth in the SEC.

RHP Nathan Dettmer returns as the Friday night starter for the Aggies. Dettmer (1-1) has an ERA of 2.37 with seven walks and 24 strikeouts. Opponents have struggled at the plate against Dettmer as opposing batters have a .197 batting average against Dettmer.

On Saturday, the Aggies will start left-hander Troy Wansing on the mound. Wansing (2-1) has recorded an ERA of 2.75 and has recorded 33 strikeouts, a team-high. Wansing pitched at Purdue last season, where he was named a member of the 2022 Big 10 All-Freshman team. Wansing recorded a 4-4 record with a 5.44 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 51.1 innings last season.

On Sunday, the Aggies will start Chris Cortez on the mound. Cortez (1-0) has an ERA of 5.60 and has struck out 17 batters. However, he has been suspect this season as he has allowed 11 earned runs and has walked 12 batters.

Texas A&M has three great relievers in left-handers Justin Lamkin, Evan Aschenbeck and Will Johnston. Opposing teams have only managed to average .146 at the plate coming into the game.

Lamkin (1-1) has an ERA of 0.75 and has 16 strikeouts on the year. Teams have batted just .140 at the plate against Lamkin in six appearances. Lamkin also has recorded a save.

Aschenbeck (2-0) has an ERA of 2.08 and has struck out 17 batters in 13 innings pitched. Aschenbeck has only given up a batting average of .196 against opposing batters.

Johnston (1-0) has recorded an ERA of 3.38 and has struck out 16 batters and has only allowed three hits. He leads the pitching staff in allowed batting average with .103.

What Texas A&M Brings to the Plate

Although the Aggies are one of the best teams in the country, they aren’t very strong when it comes to hitting the ball into play as they are an average hitting team. Texas A&M has only batted .279 at the plate and has only hit 15 home runs, which is second to last in the SEC.

However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous at the plate.

The Aggies’ overall best hitter is All-American third baseman, Austin Bost. Bost has batted .323 and is the team leader in RBIs with 24. Bost has recorded six doubles, one triple and three home runs on the season as well.

Shortstop Hunter Haas has been a revelation for the Aggies since he transferred in from Arizona State this season. Haas has averaged .371 at the plate, which is a team-high. Haas has also recorded four doubles and three home runs along with 10 RBIs.

All-American designated hitter Jack Moss is also lethal at the plate. Moss has averaged .308 at the plate and has 13 RBIs on the season.

LSU Projected Starting Lineup

1B Tre Morgan

2B Gavin Dugas

SS Jordan Thompson

3B Tommy White

RF Paxton Kling

CF Dylan Crews

LF Brayden Jobert

C Alex Milazzo

DH Jared Jones

Texas A&M Projected Starting Lineup

1B Ryan Targac

2B Austin Bost

SS Hunter Haas

3B Kaeden Kent

RF Jordan Thompson

CF Tab Tracy

LF Jace LaViolette

C Hank Bard

DH Jack Moss

Pitching Matchups

Game 1

LSU – Jr. RH Paul Skenes (4-0, 0.75 ERA, 24.0 IP, 4 BB, 48 SO)

TAMU – Jr. RH Nathan Dettmer (1-1, 2.37 ERA, 19.0 IP, 7 BB, 24 SO)

Game 2

LSU – Jr. Ty Floyd (3-0, 1.08, 16.2 IP, 5 BB, 21 SO)

TAMU – So. LH Troy Wansing (2-1, 2.75 ERA, 19.2 IP, 6 BB, 33 SO)

Game 3

LSU – So. RH Thatcher Hurd (2-0, 2.04 ERA, 17.2 IP, 9 BB, 25 SO)

TAMU – So. RH Chris Cortez (1-0, 5.60 ERA, 17.2 IP, 12 BB, 17 SO)