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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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Baseball to start season with Friday home game

Blue+Bell+Park
Photo by Photo by: Alexis Will
Blue Bell Park

The Aggies enter 2016 ranked No. 4 by DIBaseball.com, their highest preseason position in program history, after finishing last season with a 50-14 overall record. Since the ranking came out, though, A&M has lost star-pitcher Tyler Stubblefield due to a violation of team rules, which shakes up the pitching rotation for this weekend’s season-opening series against Hofstra.
Despite all the hype and anticipation, the team is staying well-grounded yet confident.
“They all talk about preseason rankings, which are great and all, but we are just normally not worried about that,” senior first baseman Hunter Melton said. “Having the preseason hype is definitely good, but we have not played a game yet … I feel like this season is going to be one like last year — pretty incredible.”
Position wise the Aggies retain a core nucleus headlined by four preseason All-American selections. Junior right fielder Nick Banks leads the charge after hitting a .364 average accompanied by eight home runs and 48 RBIs last season. He was also recently added to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List, given annually to college baseball’s top player.
Rounding out the All-Americans are juniors Ryan Hendrix (RHP), Ronnie Gideon (DH/3B) and Mark Ecker (RHP). Melton is another one to watch for after posting a .300 average with eight home runs and 37 RBIs in 2015. With the A-ll-Americans and the remaining returning talent, this team is chalked full of players who have winning experience, said A&M coach Rob Childress.
“You can’t cover up experience in SEC play,” Childress said. “That is the best attribute this team has, is so many guys back who have that experience.”
Hofstra’s sophomore outfielder Steven Foster, named to the preseason all-CAA team, led the team last year with a .351 average while stealing 19 bases and scoring 35 runs. Junior third baseman David Leiderman led the squad last season with 29 RBIs wtand 10 pitchers from last year’s team that finished 19-29 overall.
Friday night the season will kick off with senior pitcher Kyle Simonds taking the mound. He compiled a 3-2 record accompanied by a 2.39 ERA. Hofstra will send out senior Alec Eisenberg, who led the team in wins last year and posted a 5-4 record. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.
“It is a big opportunity for me to help the team win. I am blessed to be in the situation that I am, and it shows the coaches and team are confident in me being out there,” Simonds said. “There is going to be a lot of adrenaline going on before the game.”
Sophomore right hander Corbin Martin will hit the bump Saturday afternoon. Martin garnered a 2-0 record with a 2.95 ERA. Sophomore Chris Weiss from Hofstra will get the nod for the Pride and first pitch will be at 2:05 p.m.
The series wraps up Sunday afternoon as freshman Tyler Ivey makes his first career start on the mound. Ivey was an honorable mention all-American while at Rockwall High School. The Pride will offer senior Bowie Matteson, who makes the transition from relief pitcher to starting pitcher. Game time is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
The series can be seen on SEC Network Plus.

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