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Texas A&M Baseball

Previewing Texas A&M vs. Texas: A collaboration with Inside Texas

March 15, 2016
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The Texas A&M Aggies and Texas Longhorns are getting together on the diamond this week for the first time in nearly two years.

Seeing as how these things tend to happen less and less nowadays, we figured it'd be a good idea to let someone with a better idea of how things are going in Austin tell us what to watch for with the Longhorns.

Therefore, TexAgs has partnered with Inside Texas to preview Tuesday's matchup. Below is the Longhorn preview written by Joe Cook, the baseball writer for Inside Texas. I would like to personally thank Joe for helping with the collaboration. In return, he'll be using my preview below in Inside Texas' game preview.

Texas Longhorns (7-9)

With high expectations at the beginning of the season for head coach Augie Garrido, the Longhorns have somewhat stumbled out of the gate. They opened the year with a series win vs. UNLV and a split with Stanford. The team has since been on a downturn after a sweep at the hands of a top-15 Cal team. The Horns had gained some momentum prior to this past weekend's trip to Los Angeles, where the top 20 Bruins took two of three.

Although Tuesday games for Texas are usually filled by other members of the Texas or Texas A&M systems, this battle between flagships will have a lot more riding on it.

Prior to this season, his last appearance was in Omaha in 2014. He is no stranger to the Aggies, either. Cooper threw two innings of scoreless relief against A&M during the first game of the 2014 Houston Regional. {"Module":"quote","Alignment":"left","Quote":"Prior to this season, his last appearance was in Omaha in 2014. He is no stranger to the Aggies, either. Cooper threw two innings of scoreless relief against A\u0026M during the first game of the 2014 Houston Regional.","Author":""}
Probable starter: Morgan Cooper
If the Aggies were looking for a stopgap pitcher to roll over, this is not that game. Sophomore Morgan Cooper of Jarrell, Texas is likely the Longhorn staff’s best pitcher, even though he is throwing on Tuesdays instead of Fridays. Cooper has overpowered the competition with his 93-95 mph fastball and a devastating curveball that often catches hitters looking clueless. His 1.50 ERA and 0.75 WHIP tell the tale.

Cooper is in the Tuesday role rather than the Friday or Saturday role because Garrido is slowly working him back into pitching shape. Prior to this season, his last appearance was in Omaha in 2014. He is no stranger to the Aggies, either. Cooper threw two innings of scoreless relief against A&M during the first game of the 2014 Houston Regional.

Two bats, including 'one to see': Kacy Clemens & Tres Barrera
Junior first baseman Kacy Clemens had difficulty seeing the ball his first two seasons for the Horns. In addition, he could never just focus on one aspect of his game. He only played first his freshman season, but in his sophomore season he was called multiple times to perform double duty, including one game in which he both pitched and was the designated hitter — for himself (college baseball is strange, right?). This was the first time that this occurred under Garrido.

In his junior season, Clemens was told to focus solely on hitting. He already boasts an elite glove at first base, and now that he can see the ball better, his hitting is coming around.

Why is he seeing the ball better? He switched from contact lenses to ‘rec specs’ recently, and has improved his hitting as a result. Clemens has a hit in seven of the last nine games, including two home runs, the first two of his career. And yes, if you were wondering, this is the son of the Rocket, Roger Clemens.

Garrido loves playing Clemens against right-handed pitching, but often limits him against left-handers. If the Aggies march a southpaw out to the mound on Tuesday, another bat who is a mainstay in the lineup will be waiting.

Junior catcher Tres Barrera is a leader on this team. He’s vocal, yet encouraging, and he leads his team by example on and off the field. Barrera is Texas' most consistent hitter, having recorded a hit in all but two games this season. He has yet to record a home run, but he has power — he won the 2014 TD Ameritrade Home Run Derby as a freshman.

Behind the plate, Barrera is as solid as they come. He doesn’t have the elite arm his backup, sophomore Michael Cantu, does, but he works a great game and rarely lets any ball get past him. If anyone is going to make sure that the Longhorns are emotionally ready for the Lone Star Showdown, it will be Barrera.

Abigail Cook, TexAgs Boomer White and the Aggies are firing on all cylinders and looking to carry their 10-game win streak into conference play. {"Module":"photo","Alignment":"right","Size":"large","Caption":"Boomer White and the Aggies are firing on all cylinders and looking to carry their 10-game win streak into conference play.","MediaItemID":68264}

Texas A&M Aggies (15-1)

The Aggies are coming off a series sweep at home against a solid Fresno State squad that came in with a team ERA under 2.00. A lot was made about the talent and depth of this Aggie roster before the season started, and early on that hype has been validated. The Ags are loaded with talented upperclassmen that have seen a lot of baseball. There's no question this is the deepest club in the Rob Childress era, both on the mound and in the batter's box.

The Aggies have struggled somewhat in the midweek, coming into their contest with the Longhorns having beaten Houston Baptist and Northwestern State in close affairs, 2-1 and 7-6, respectively.

Two hitters to watch: Boomer White & Nick Banks
Coming into the weekend series against Fresno State, Boomer White was on pace for 120 total hits this season. The A&M record is 107. The TCU transfer was a key cog in the Horned Frogs' run to Omaha a few years back, and he's shown to be as important to this Aggie team in the early going.

Boomer isn't going to hit a bunch of balls out of the yard, but his short, compact stroke results in a ton of line drives and very few strikeouts. He's become the straw that stirs the drink for the Aggies.

As for Nick Banks, the preseason All-American got off to somewhat of a slow start. It didn't help matters when he was sidelined for nearly two weeks with a lower back problem. He re-entered the lineup against Yale and immediately began to make an impact. Banks is at his best when he's using the whole field, and it's beginning to look like he's finding his way back to that.

Nick has as smooth of a swing as there is in the SEC, and it was just a matter of at-bats for him to get himself going again. While Boomer White has been putting up torrid numbers, the Aggie offense isn't at its full potential until Banks gets going. There's going to be a big spotlight on the Aggies' top MLB prospect as the team enters conference play.

Other bats to watch
:
OF J.B. Moss: hitting over .400 in the leadoff spot.

1B Hunter Melton: the big man from Corsicana has been an RBI machine so far this year.

Pitching probables: Corbin Martin or Brigham Hill

Martin is a sophomore with elite arm talent. He has run his fastball up to 97-99 mph and has flashed a devastating breaking ball at time to go with it. His problem has been consistency. He's erratic.

Martin struggles getting ahead of hitters, which was his primary issue last year and is again this year. He's been the type of guy that will walk two hitters an inning but also strike out two in the same frame. He'll be rolling along then let an inning get away from him in a flash. The coaching staff has shown continued belief in Martin, though, as he put together an outstanding fall and early spring. His approach to the Longhorn lineup will be a key factor.

Hill is a sophomore from Nacagdoches who is quite different from Martin. He has a good arm (he usually sits between 89-92), but he's been very consistent so far this spring. In fact, early on he's been Rob Childress' first option out of the bullpen in most weekend series.

Hill has a nice feel for pitching and understands how to hold runners while executing pitches. His fastball has a tendency to jump on hitters the first time they see him. While he doesn't have the wipe-out stuff Martin does, he does force action early in counts and tends to keep the game close.
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Previewing Texas A&M vs. Texas: A collaboration with Inside Texas

6,314 Views | 1 Replies | Last: 7 yr ago by Ft Worth Ag
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Previewing Texas A&M vs. Texas: A collaboration with Inside Texas
Ft Worth Ag
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Thanks for the article by both guys.
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