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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Baseball team opens conference play against Baylor

The Big 12 opens conference play this weekend as one of the top conferences in the nation. The Big 12 boasts four teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation and a combined record of 102-37, a 73% winning percentage.
“I think like any other year there is not going to be any easy weekends,” said A&M Head Coach Rob Childress. “Everyone has great coaches and great players that have committed to winning. I think when you look around top to bottom there is as good as pitching as there has ever been in this league.”
In the opening weekend of conference play, the two top ranked teams in the Big 12 will square off right away. No. 3 Texas A&M, the defending Big 12 Champions, open Big 12 play against No. 5 Baylor in a split series, playing two games at Olsen Field and one at Baylor Ballpark. In the series last year, the Aggies swept the Bears. In order to have the same results again this year, Childress feels that it will come down to execution.
“We need to give a great effort with great attitude and out compete them,” Childress said. “We will let the cards fall where they may, but they have a good team and so do we. It is going to come down to executing and pounding the strike zone and making them work for everything they get.”
Baylor, who has posted a 10-2 record thus far this season, is carried by the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation from 2007. Now juniors, the recruiting class is known for its talent on the mound. Junior Kendal Volz has thrown 19.2 innings for the Bears while maintaining a 1.86 ERA and holding opposing batters to .146 average, and striking out 13.
“Baylor has as good as pitching in the country and has the number 1 recruiting class that are now all juniors and it is their time,” Childress said. “They have gotten off to a very good start and so it should be a very good series.”
Texas A&M also brings in three weekend starters, Brooks Raley, Alex Wilson, and Barrett Loux, who combined are allowing under three runs a game. In the past two games against Utah and Cal State Fullerton, the bullpen behind the starters has given up 18 runs in 8 1/3 innings. The scary part for the Aggies is that of those 18 runs, 13 have been allowed during the top of the 9th inning. Despite the bullpen woes, Childress said that the problems are being corrected and that the bullpen will be ready to go against the bears.
“We need to make a few adjustments,” Childress said. “Our go to guys late in the game are Travis Starling and Kyle Thebeau, those are our constants. They will be rested and ready to go in two of those games for sure.”
Due to weather, the series will start at Olsen Field on Saturday with first pitch at 6:35pm. The second game will also be played at Olsen field on Sunday at 1:05pm. On Monday, the series will move to Baylor Ballpark in Waco with the game starting at 6:30pm.

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