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

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

The Battalion

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Aggies head to Malibu for series with Pepperdine

Aggie+Baseball
Photo by Photo by: Jena Floyd
Aggie Baseball

The beginning of the 2016 season for No. 4 A&M has been as close to paradise as it gets.

An opening weekend sweep of Hofstra led to blasting mid-week opponents SFA and Prairie View A&M by a combined score of 32 to 1. Now, the Aggies travel to the West Coast of California for a weekend date in actual paradise against the Pepperdine Wave.

A&M (5-0) comes rolling into the weekend with the bats ablaze. They have tallied 57 runs through the first five games, the most through five contests since 2004.

Hunter Melton and Ronnie Gideon have been a key duo in that offensive tear. Both are hitting over .400, have racked up a total of 19 RBI and lead the team with two home runs each. Elsewhere in the lineup, Boomer White, Nick Choruby, Michael Barash and J.B. Moss each have five RBI this year.

“We’ve got a lot of guys swinging the bat real well,” Gideon said. “The bad thing is that you can only play nine. It’s a great experience and a great thing we’re doing right now…that is going to be a big thing for us going into this weekend.”

Pepperdine (2-2) won its season opening series last weekend over Oakland before falling to Cal State-Northridge Tuesday. Sophomore Jordan Qsar leads the squad through four games with a .385 batting average, but Manny Jefferson leads the RBI count with five and the home run tally with two.

The Aggie bullpen has been spectacular this year. In 20 innings of relief work, the bullpen staff has surrendered one run on nine hits while striking out 25, good for a 0.45 ERA.

Series action gets underway Friday afternoon. Sophomore righty Corbin Martin gets the nod for A&M on the mound. In his last start Saturday, Martin worked five innings, allowing three earned runs while striking out nine. The Waves will call upon junior A.J. Puckett, who allowed three runs on six hits his last outing, a loss to Oakland. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

Kyle Simonds will work the mound for A&M Saturday afternoon. The senior right hander threw five innings his last start, giving up seven hits and two earned runs. Pepperdine dishes out sophomore Kiko Garcia, who impressed in his last start Saturday following seven innings of work, allowing two earned runs on four hits with six strikeouts. Game will get underway at 3 p.m. central time.

Freshman Tyler Ivey, who made his first career start last weekend, will close the series Sunday for A&M. Ivey dazzled last Sunday, hurling six strong innings while allowing no runs on just two hits and struck out seven. Chandler Blanchard will start for the Waves following 6.1 innings pitched last Sunday with five strikeouts. The series finale will begin at 3 p.m.

A&M’s last visit to Malibu resulted in a sweep of the Waves during the 2012 season. However, Pepperdine took care of business and won two of three at Olsen Field the following season.

“This is where we want to be,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “They are a regional team with a lot of guys back and we are looking forward to that challenge. It will be all about us, taking care of our business and playing good baseball.”

The Aggies will look to add to their current 35-game regular season win streak against nonconference opponents.
All games this weekend will air on thew.tv, which is the official website of the West Coast Conference.

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