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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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Aggie baseball welcomes LSU in top-15 showdown

Hunter+Melton+leads+the+team+with+24+RBI+on+the+season.
Photo by Photo by: Valerie Gunchick

Hunter Melton leads the team with 24 RBI on the season.

Coming off a series win in its first SEC action and a dominating run-rule victory over A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M’s No.2-ranked baseball team hosts the No. 13 LSU Tigers at Blue Bell Park in a three-game series beginning Thursday. It will be the first ranked opponent the Aggies play this season.

In the past, LSU (15-5, 1-2) has been a dynamic offensive team with the ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark at any point in the game while at the same time boasting a hard-throwing, dominant pitching staff.

This year’s Tigers, though, aren’t quite as intimidating. They are still capable of winning games advancing to the College World Series in four of the past eight years, after all — but they do it in a different way.

“It will certainly be a challenge with LSU,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “They’ve lost a lot of guys, but they’ve got difference makers on the mound that get them off to great starts and an awful lot of tradition. They’re a little bit different offense. They’re going to try to take the free base and once they get on they’re going to pressure us on defense.”

The Aggies, on the other hand, have not had any trouble manufacturing runs in recent weeks. They have averaged 11 runs in their past four games and have shown no signs of slowing down. J.B. Moss and Boomer White continue to knock the cover off the ball, Nick Banks and Ryne Birk are starting to heat up after enduring slow starts to the season and Nick Choruby had a terrific series after he moved down to the eighth-spot in the lineup.

LSU will pose arguably the toughest test of the season for the Aggies (19-2, 2-1), with an experienced starting rotation consisting of Jared Poche’, Alex Lange and John Valek III. Birk — who went 4-for-4 with three runs scored Tuesday against A&M-Corpus — said that staying patient and keeping the same approach they’ve had in recent weeks will be critical in the LSU series.

“We know LSU is a great team, a great pitching staff,” Birk said. “We just have to keep it rolling, try not to do too much, just try to hit line drives here and there, take our walks. We’re a good offensive team, so I think we can play with anybody.”

The Aggies will counter on the mound with their same rotation — Jace Vines on Thursday, Tyler Ivey on Friday and Kyle Simonds on Saturday. The trio got roughed up last weekend against Auburn, but Childress said he is confident that they can learn from their mistakes and be more effective in the future.

Thursday’s game will get underway at 6 p.m., Friday’s first pitch will be delivered at 8 p.m. and the series finale on Saturday will begin at 2 p.m. The first two games will be televised on SEC Network while the third game will air on SEC Network Plus.

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