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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Wildcats slide into Aggieland

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Photo by Lana Cheatham
Texas A&M infielder Koko Wooley (3) slides into home base during Texas A&M’s game against Prairie View A&M on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at Davis Diamond. (Lana Cheatham/The Battalion)

No. 14 Texas A&M will welcome unranked Kentucky into town for an SEC weekend series at Davis Diamond starting on Friday, April 5 and finishing on Sunday, April 7.

The Aggies are 29-7 overall and 8-4 in SEC play, while the Wildcats are 23-12 with an underwhelming 2-7 conference record.

The teams met in a wildly up-and-down series last season in Lexington, Kentucky that included both teams run-ruling the other. A&M won the series 2-1, but Kentucky took the latest matchup with a commanding 10-2 victory.

The Maroon and White took a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana last weekend and were swept by LSU in a series in which the Aggie offense could not get off the ground. A sliver of midweek hope shined for A&M in the form of a Prairie View A&M trouncing. The Panthers night ended in only five innings as the Aggies won with a 10-0 run ruling while tossing a no-hitter.

Coming off their first two conference wins of the season in a series against then-No. 13 Alabama, the Wildcats are striving to build momentum and crack the NCAA Top-25 rankings after being the last team out in the latest poll.

Explosive offenses have been the story for these two teams, as both A&M and Kentucky rank in the top 16 nationally for home runs per game with 1.34 and 1.29 respectively. The Aggies have the 12th best slugging percentage in the country at .549 and the Wildcats are not far behind at .518.

Despite giving up nine runs in the last game against LSU, A&M’s pitching staff reminded fans how solid it has been this season with a near-perfect game against Prairie View A&M. Junior LHP Emiley Kennedy has been a star thus far, exhibited by her 51st-ranked 1.65 ERA, and the entire group has an impressive ERA of 2.14, ranking 20th in the country.

Kentucky’s pitching has been the Achilles heel for the team, with a 3.58 ERA and giving up 143 runs as a collective.

Fielding is a strength for both teams as A&M has a .972 fielding percentage with Kentucky just a tick behind at .971. Both teams have only 26 errors on the year. The biggest discrepancy between A&M and Kentucky comes in assists with 234 and 179, respectively.

A&M’s key to success in the weekend series will be staying ahead of the count on defense. The Maroon and White’s clearest advantage is in pitching, and keeping the Wildcats at bay and preventing big plays will be a priority for A&M. Senior INF Trinity Cannon is living up to her name bombing 10 pitches over the wall already this season, and the Aggies will need her offense to lift them past the Wildcats.

The Wildcats will lean on their eruptive offensive potential to pull out the upset. Kentucky’s potent batting is led by senior SS Erin Coffel, who has 11 home runs in 35 games. With A&M being in a similar class at batting and tier above in pitching, Kentucky will have to rely on its heavy-hitters to get multiple runs in an inning early to put pressure on the Aggie pitching staff.

The entire series will be televised on SEC Network+ starting on Friday, April 5 at 6 p.m.

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