Texas A&M Baseball: Aggies to face Ole Miss in SEC Semifinals

(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images) /

Texas A&M baseball is getting hot at the right time, winning their first three games of the SEC tournament and earning a place in the semifinals.

Last weekend, the Texas A&M baseball team was swept by South Carolina and finished the regular season 2-7 in their last nine games. Their NCAA hopes were in serious jeopardy and realistically they probably needed to win two games in the SEC Tournament to be sure they were safely in the field of 64.

They squeaked into the SEC Tournament as the 11 seed, meaning they had to play a single elimination game on day one. Three days later the Aggies are 3-0, having taken down three top 25 teams. Oh, and they lit up potential No. 1 draft pick Casey Mize in game three.

The win over Auburn puts the Aggies directly into the SEC Semifinals, and they get a day off before having to play it too. Auburn fell to No. 4 Ole Miss in an elimination game on Friday, so the Aggies will face the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday at noon.

Barring something crazy, Ole Miss will be a top 16 seed when the NCAA Tournament starts. The Aggies went 1-2 against Ole Miss in March. The lone win was a 7-6 victory in game two of the series. Sophomore John Doxakis started that game on the mound for the Aggies.

Probable Starting Pitchers

Coach Rob Childress has called a perfect tournament so far, having only used six pitchers – and if you consider that Nolan Hoffman pitched two days it’s really only five.

In a surprise move, Childress called on Doxakis to pitch against Mize on Thursday, when many expected Friday starter Mitchell Kilkenny to get the nod. All Doxakis did was take a no-hitter into the eighth inning and was pulled after giving up just two hits and one run.

That makes Kilkenny the probable starter for A&M on Saturday. The Aggies fell to Ole Miss 7-6 the last time Kilkenny threw against Ole Miss, though freshman Asa Lacy was the one saddled with the loss. Kilkenny’s final line in that game was eight hits, two walks, and five runs (three earned) in 4.2 innings.

Ryan Rolison will likely get the start for the Rebels. He took a no decision in Ole Miss’s second round game against Auburn on Wednesday. Against the Aggies in March he allowed four runs on six hits in four innings.

Offense heating up at the right time

One of the biggest criticisms of the Aggies this season has been an inability to create offense up and down the batting order. Something clicked when the tournament started, however, and suddenly the Aggie bats are getting hot at the right time.

The bottom of the order still struggled against Auburn, going 2-for-11, though that can be forgiven this time given who the opposing pitcher was. Both hits came from eight-hole hitter George Janca.

Nine-hole hitter Cole Bedford also had a sacrifice hit to move Janca into scoring position. He would be brought home by a Zach DeLoach sacrifice fly.

The bigger deal is that DeLoach went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in the leadoff spot. The Aggie offense is a lot more formidable and potent when DeLoach is seeing the ball well. The string of Janca, DeLoach, Helman, Shewmake, and Andristos did all the work for the Aggies offense against Auburn, and it ended up being more than enough.

Next: 2018 game-by-game Aggie football predictions

The Auburn game was possibly the most complete game the Aggies have played all season, and if they can continue playing this well they very well could win the whole tournament.

***all stats come from 12thman.com and olemisssports.com***