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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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Junior pitcher Mitchell Kilkenny will take the mound for the Aggies on Saturday versus No. 17 LSU.

The Texas A&M baseball team is nearly a third of the way through SEC play and the Aggies (3-6 SEC) are off to a less than ideal start. The Aggies will look to turn their fortunes around in their home SEC series against No. 17 LSU beginning Thursday.
The Aggies fell out of the rankings in the latest poll released on Monday, after they lost two of three against Georgia last weekend. A&M was supposed to host the University of Houston on Tuesday, but the game was canceled to inclement weather.
“Defensively, offensively or on the bases, we need to be a little bit better in every area,” Childress said. “We’ve certainly done that all year long for the most part, we just haven’t done it the last three weeks on a consistent basis.”
Despite their rocky start, the Aggies will continue to utilize the same pitching rotation they have in weeks past, with junior Stephen Kolek starting Thursday, sophomore John Doxakis on Friday and junior Mitchell Kilkenny taking the mound on Saturday. Kilkenny has seen the most success this season, boasting a 6-0 record and a 1.59 ERA. Childress said despite Kilkenny being the Aggies’ best pitcher thus far, the schedule doesn’t allow him to switch him to the Thursday spot.
“At this point, when you’re on short weeks, there’s no flipping the rotation,” Childress said. “We’ve got way too much talent, way too much experience, to do anything different.”
The familiar rotation will take the mound against LSU, who has a balanced lineup, including seven players with batting averages over .300. Junior Brandt Broussard paces the Tigers with a .363 average.
The Tigers are dealing with the same peculiar pitching situation, which has their best pitcher, Ma’Khail Hilliard, starting their third game of the series. Similar to the Aggies, the Tigers’ schedule doesn’t allow for a shift, setting up a rubber match in the series finale on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a big game in game three on Saturday,” Childress said. “Those guys have been very good on their respective teams. Having Kilkenny is a good feeling going into our series and having him available.”
Hilliard highlights an LSU pitching rotation which has presented problems for opposing batters throughout the season. The Aggies will look to combat this with the bats of junior infielder Michael Helman and freshman outfielder Zach DeLoach, neither of whom have faced the Tigers before. Helman ranks sixth in the nation in hits (48) and 31st in runs (31), while DeLoach ranks third in triples (five).
Working in the Aggies’ favor is their return to Olsen Field after playing eight of their last 11 games on the road. The maroon and white hold a 15-3 record at home this season, which matches up favorably against LSU’s 1-4 record on the road. Senior pitcher Cason Sherrod said he is excited to be back at home.
“We had about a week-long road trip and getting back to College Station and getting things going again feels great,” Sherrod said. “There’s no other place like home, we look forward to the 12th Man getting behind us and giving them a couple wins.”
The Aggies will play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with start times of 7:02 p.m., 6:02 p.m. and 2:02 p.m., respectively. The series presents an opportunity for the Aggies to get back in the win column, not just squeaking out the final game of the series, but winning the series outright.
“We’ve found a way to avoid getting swept each of the last three weeks, but by the same token we’ve got to go win series to start moving north in the standings,” Childress said.

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