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 look for win No. 26 of the season against Abilene Christian

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Photo by Photo by: Lawrence Smelser

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Following a week of losses, Aggie baseball finally gained some momentum with a dominant sweep of the Georgia Bulldogs. The Aggies now hope to continue their winning streak leading into a big weekend showdown against Mississippi State with a midweek win over Abilene Christian Tuesday night at Olsen Field.

The sweep of Georgia showed the No. 3 Aggies (25-7, 7-5 SEC) ability to manufacture runs, as they outscored the Bulldogs by a 30-3 tally. Hunter Melton, who was named SEC player of the week for his performance against Georgia, was the main instigator of the offensive explosion. The senior went 6-for-11 (.545) from the plate with three home runs, 10 RBI and two doubles. For Melton, those numbers leave a good feeling heading into the mid-week bout.

“It feels good going into a tough competition against ACU,” Melton said. “Sticking to preparation is a big thing that I have tried to focus on this year the most. Just working to do the best I can for the team.”

Elsewhere, Ryne Birk, Nick Banks, Joel Davis and Boomer White each cranked home runs over the weekend. Melton leads the team with eight and the Aggies have eight total players who have two or more homers this season.

Nine Aggies have more than 10 RBI and of those nine, five of them have more than 20 RBI. Melton also leads the team in that category with 41.

Abilene Christian (11-19, 3-9 Southland) has been on the losing end in 12 of their last 15 games. However, that is not something the Aggies will take lightly. They understand this is still a talented ball club.

“They are an extremely well-coached team that transitioned to Division 1 three years ago,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “They have a good guy going Tuesday night. They beat Dallas Baptist and held TCU down. We’ll certainly be challenged Tuesday but I expect us to come out and play with the same chip on our shoulder that we played with this weekend.”

The Wildcats are led by Alex Copeland, who has a .310 batting average, but Braxton Wilks leads the team with 17 RBI. Hunter Markwardt is the speedster, having gone 12-for-14 in stolen base attempts this season and has scored a team-high 15 runs this season.

A&M’s pitching staff, which struggled last week, allowed just three earned runs all weekend. When playing at home this season, the staff retains a 1.75 ERA and holds opponents to a .209 average.

Freshman right-hander Stephen Kolek gets the start on the mound for A&M. He will make his third career start on the mound and earned his first win over A&M-Corpus Christi after pitching five innings, allowing three runs on six hits with three strikeouts.

The Wildcats send senior Nate Cole to the mound. Cole leads the team with a 2.83 ERA and in his last start worked seven innings, allowing one unearned run on six hits while striking out 10. Cole leads the team with 29 strikeouts this season.

All-time, A&M is 4-0 against the Wildcats. The Aggies blasted ACU 20-2 in 2014 but 2015 was a much tighter contest, ultimately ending in a 3-2 Aggie win. The Aggies are 20-1 at home this season and ACU is 2-9 when playing on the road.

First pitch is set for 6:34 p.m. and the game will air on SEC Network Plus.

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