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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

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Who’s done it better?

Photo by FILE

The 2015 team started off the season red hot, winning their first 24 games of the season.

When comparing Aggie baseball from 2015 to 2016, there are a lot of differences between the two teams. From the lineup to pitching to overall leadership, the 2016 team has made significant strides in establishing Aggie baseball as one of the country’s premier programs.

But, which one is the better team?

That’s a bit difficult to determine until all is said and done. However, midway through the year thus far, the 2016 team appears to be leaps and bounds ahead of the 2015 team.

In 2015, the Aggies started the year on a 24-game win streak but eventually plateaued and came back down to earth, going 26-14 down the stretch.

That team was an offensive juggernaut and led the SEC by years end in slugging percentage and home runs. The 2015 team was a “feast or famine” type of team. They relied a lot on the power of their bats but that was eventually their downfall in the Super Regional loss to TCU, as they faced a tough pitching staff in a big ballpark that did not see a bunch of home runs. They had a top-heavy lineup that could produce but the bottom half of the lineup seemed to fall off a cliff.

This year, there was no big win streak.

Last year, A&M didn’t lose its seventh game until April 24. This season, they already have seven losses. But A&M’s quality series wins this season (Mississippi State, LSU) stand out much more than their quality wins of 2015.

Hitting is once again solid in 2016. However, this year’s lineup is lethal from spots one through nine with no drop off late in the lineup. Anyone can cause serious damage. That was something not seen by A&M last season. Thus far in 2016, A&M has already tallied 303 runs, which is more than half of what they put up all last season.

The 2016 Aggies also currently lead the league in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, hits, RBI, triples and home runs. So far in 2016, they have five more triples than they had in all of 2015 and have pounded out 441 hits, which is well over half of what they accomplished last year. They have torched teams in their eight game win streak for 84 runs on 107 hits.

While it is baseball and this kind of hitting is not likely to last all the way into June, this year’s Aggie offense just seems to have clutch bats not just in the lineup but on the bench as well. The team relies on one another and the leadership of the upperclassmen is a critical component to the team. Everyone is ready to make a play and that was something not seen as much last season. If this kind of hitting can somehow continue into June, the Aggies will find themselves in Omaha without a doubt.

In 2015, pitching was possibly the biggest Achilles’ heel. A&M featured a solid rotation with MLB draft picks A.J. Minter, Grayson Long and Matt Kent. However, once Minter got injured, the Aggie rotation seemed to change on a weekly basis. The staff was solid in general, being second in the SEC in strikeouts and third in runs allowed, but in situations like the regional where it is a merry-go-round of pitching, the Aggies simply began to run out of arms. And that would eventually haunt them in their Super Regional loss.

This season presents fresh faces, such as Tyler Ivey and Jace Vines, and veteran arms, such as Kyle Simonds and Mark Ecker, which give the Aggies some depth in the bullpen. The youth from last year have grown up and the younger pitchers have already been proving their worth to the team and fans. The staff currently holds opponents to a .236 batting average and has allowed the least amount of runs of any SEC team (126). The staff is diverse and gives A&M multiple pitching options depending on the game situation. Their only problem recently has been holding a lead when called upon — but with the offense the Aggies have behind them, the staff can breathe a bit.
Overall, the two teams are stellar. Last season began with a long win streak and ended with a disappointing 16-inning defeat one win shy of Omaha. When the MLB draft took away some of A&M’s talent like Logan Taylor, Aggie baseball fans were up in arms about how the team would fare in 2016. However thus far, the 2016 team appears to be light-years ahead, and should they continue their current hot streak into the NCAA Tournament, Aggie fans could be celebrating their first trip to the College World Series since 2011.

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  • The 2016 Aggie baseball team is ranked No. 3 in the country, just like the 2015 team, which hovered around the top five the majority of last season.

    Photo by Photo by: Morgan Engel

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