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Texas A&M Baseball

By the Numbers: Series win at Vandy keeps A&M on track for postseason

May 3, 2022
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With three weeks remaining in the regular season, this Aggie baseball team is starting to look more and more like a regional host lock and a strong candidate for one of eight national seeds than a team on the outside looking in on the hosting conversation.

And it happened overnight, did it not?

Prior to, let’s say, the win at Texas, these Aggies had the look of a team just hoping to sneak into the NCAA Tournament.

There was nothing about them that made you feel like they would play their way into a sure-fire lock to even make the dance, much less ever have a chance at hosting.

And just making the tournament would indicate a great step in the right direction in Jim Schlossnagle’s first season.

But here we are, less than a month until the bracket is unveiled, and A&M has somehow managed to scratch its way to so many huge series wins and has positioned itself to do the unthinkable.

With a strong close in the last nine conference games, the Aggies could have the record and overall resume to make a very strong case to attain a top-eight national seed for just the third time since the NCAA Tournament went to a super-regional format (1999-present).

With a strong close in the last nine conference games, the Aggies could have the record and overall resume to make a very strong case to attain a top-eight national seed for just the third time since the NCAA Tournament went to a super-regional format (1999-present).

The only other times that happened were ’99 (reached the CWS) and 2016 (lost to Schlossnagle and TCU at home in heartbreaking fashion and finished a game shy of the CWS ... and like the ’89 home regional loss to LSU, it’s still too soon to talk about).

You may second guess this sentiment, but the metrics back up the thoughts.

Texas A&M now sits at No. 12 in the RPI and No. 5 in strength of schedule. These are two significant metrics that the selection committee still uses in baseball to determine the pecking order for the field of 64.

Ahead of the Aggies in the RPI includes teams like Virginia Tech (RPI 5; SOS 50), Dallas Baptist (RPI 6; SOS 3 and lost head-up to A&M), Georgia Southern (RPI 7; SOS 12), Notre Dame (RPI 8; SOS 53) and Mercer (RPI 10; SOS 101). At this very moment, I would think those clubs would be positioned behind the Aggies in the quest for a top-eight seed.

Then you factor in another key metric ... Quadrant I (RPI top-50) wins. The Aggies now have 13 QI victories this season. That trails only Tennessee and Georgia Tech (15 each) for tops in the nation this season. That includes six wins against the RPI top-10, and 11 wins against the RPI top-26.

If the season ended today, I think the top-eight locks would be Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia out of the SEC along with Oregon State and maybe Oklahoma State. That is a max of five teams that would flip on the tube on Selection Monday feeling very good about their shot at a national seed.

Outside of that group, A&M has a resume that stacks up with any other team in the country as we head down the home stretch.

And along the way, suddenly the SEC West regular-season title is up for grabs. The Aggies sit just two games behind Arkansas in the SEC West with nine to play, and A&M owns the tiebreaker over the Hogs.

And while Schlossnagle & Co. get three teams in South Carolina, Mississippi State and Ole Miss that have a combined league record of 25-38 (.397), Arkansas (RPI 26; SOS 84) closes out with Auburn and Alabama on the road and with a home series vs. Vanderbilt in-between. Those opponents are a combined 31-32 (.492).

The Aggies just have to keep winning. I think 5-4 gives you a shot at entering the SEC Tournament with a decent shot to play your way into a top-eight seed, and 6-3 down the stretch could very well lock up both the West title and a national seed.

It may very well happen, but the Aggies could falter in May and find themselves on either end of the regional host bubble.

There is so much baseball left to play. Still, the fact that it’s even a topic of conversation says all you need to know about the guts, heart, fight and overall togetherness of the 2022 version of the Aggies. What an impressive run it’s been, and it certainly appears to only be getting better and better with each passing week.

Jamie Maury, TexAgs
With Saturday’s 12-4 win, the Aggies have now outscored opponents 63-26 in their last four rubber matches. 

Here’s a statistical look, By The Numbers, at A&M’s 2-1 week that included a monstrous series road win over Vanderbilt (RPI 10; SOS 13) this weekend in Nashville...

.120 - Combined batting average in the Vandy series for Dylan Rock and Jack Moss. A&M went to Nashville and took two games from the Commodores despite the dynamic duo of Rock and Moss going 3-for-25 in the series. Rock went 1-for-11 (.091) with just one run scored and zero RBIs. Meanwhile, Moss went 2-for-14 (.143) with two RBIs and one run scored.

+.200 - Difference between the Aggie offense with runners in scoring position vs. Vanderbilt hitters in the series. A&M hit .303 (10-for-33) with RISP over the weekends, while the ‘Dores hit at a 3-for-29 (.103) clip with runners at second and/or third base.

.500 - Austin Bost’s batting average in the Vanderbilt series. The A&M junior is on a rapid rise of late, going 5-for-10 over the weekend with two RBIs and three runs scored to raise his average in league play to .378. That puts him third in the SEC with two series to play. He’s also seventh in the league in on-base percentage (.443). Bost has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games, raising his season average by 59 points in that span (from .301 to .360).

1 - Total number of runs allowed for A&M relief ace Jacob Palisch in his last nine outings COMBINED. That dates back to the win over Texas in Austin five weeks ago and spans a total of 19 innings, during which the grad transfer from Stanford has also racked up 27 strikeouts with just two walks and lowered his ERA from 5.60 to 2.79.

Palisch pitched just once in the Vandy series, closing out a 3-1 win in game one with two scoreless frames and picking up his fourth save of the season. All four of his saves have come in the Aggies’ last 11 games played and in Palisch’s last five appearances.

2.36 - Nathan Dettmer’s ERA in seven SEC starts. Coming off of a brilliant performance in Nashville (7 IP; 2 H; 1 ER; 3 BB; 6 K), the sophomore is pitching like a future high-end first-round pick. He’s currently tied for third in the SEC in conference wins (4), sixth in the SEC in ERA, fifth in innings pitched (42), tied for eighth in strikeouts (41) and ninth in opponents average (.208).

2 - Games out of first place for Texas A&M in the SEC West. A&M is currently sitting at 12-9 in league play and is just two games behind Arkansas atop the division while now owning the tiebreaker over the Razorbacks.

3 - Runs allowed by the A&M bullpen in 14 innings of action. That’s good for a salty 1.93 ERA. The group allowed just 11 hits and five walks in that span, punching out 17. There might not be a single unit in any aspect of any team in college baseball this season that has more improved in-season than the Texas Aggie bullpen. It’s been quite remarkable.

You can’t deny that we’ve seen a bunch of great pitching in College Station for much of the last 15 years, but what Nate Yeskie is doing with this group on the fly in ’22 is right there with the most impressive coaching efforts we’ve seen around here.

5 - As in the Five Factors ... a stat that we’ve tracked for years in the old “Diamond Notes” feature and are continuing here. The five factors to success offensively and defensively/on the mound ... hitting with two outs, with runners on, with runners in scoring position, getting the leadoff man on base, and two-out RBIs. Here’s how A&M did on both offense and positionally in three games last week...

Offensively:
- Two outs - .289 (11-for-38) ... down 44 points from last week
- Runners on - .346 (18-for-52) ... up 42 points from last week
- Runners in scoring position - .303 (10-for-33) ... down 30 points from last week
- Leadoff OBP - .333 (9-for-27) ... down 86 points from last week
- Two-out RBIs - 10 ... up one RBI from last week

Defensively:

- Two outs - .278 (10-for-36) ... up (opponent improvement) 58 points from last week
- Runners on - .179 (10-for-56) ... down (A&M improvement) 53 points from last week
- Runners in scoring position - .103 (3-for-29) ... down 162 points from last week
- Leadoff OBP - .538 (14-for-26) ... up 156 points from last week
- Two-out RBIs - 7 ... up five RBIs from last week

6 - RBIs for Ryan Targac in the Aggies’ game three victory over Vanderbilt to take the series. The sophomore went 3-for-5 with a single and two mammoth home runs ... one of which cleared the batter's eye in straightaway center field.

According to the local broadcast team in Nashville, it’s very rare to see that happen in a live-action play at Hawkins Field. Targac is delivering a sensational season in the power department.

He’s currently fourth in the SEC in RBIs in conference games (26) ... just three behind Tennessee’s Trey Lipscomb for the league lead. Targac also ranks sixth in slugging percentage (.680), tied for eighth in on-base percentage (.441), tied for ninth in total bases (51), tied for 10th in walks (13) and tied for 12th in home runs (7). Targac now has a total of 37 RBIs on the season. That’s tops on the team as the calendar turns to May, leading Troy Claunch by one and both Moss and Rock by two.

6 - A&M hitters with a season batting average over .300. Moss leads the way at .366/.424/.517 (.295 in SEC play), followed by Bost at .360/.445/.513 (.378 in SEC play), Rock at .317/.463/.621 (.333 in SEC play), Trevor Werner at .306/.444/.472 in limited at bats (.227 in SEC play), Brett Minnich at .302/.417/.447 (.265 in SEC play) and Claunch at .302/.380/.428 (.318 in SEC play).

8.13 - Micah Dallas’ ERA in league games. The transfer from Texas Tech has allowed 31 earned runs in 34.1 innings against SEC bats. Opponents are hitting him at a .327 clip in league play.

Meredith Tabor, TexAgs
Nathan Dettmer’s dazzling performance on Friday earned him his second SEC Pitcher of the Week honors this season. 

Not good. Not good at all for a #2 starter on a team vying to host a regional or possibly even — somehow — or Schlossnagle and Yeskie will be forced to go in a different direction in an effort to find answers in the weekend rotation after Dettmer.

7 - Major offensive categories in which Dylan Rock currently ranks among the SEC’s top five hitters in league games. The UTSA grad transfer struggled in the Vanderbilt series, going 1-for-11 in three games. Despite that, Rock is in the midst of one of the best individual offensive seasons in the SEC. He’s first in runs scored (28), second in OPS (1.217), third in on-base percentage (.476), fourth in total bases (60) and walks (19) and fifth in slugging percentage (.741) and RBIs (23).

8 - Major offensive categories in which Texas A&M as a team ranks in the top-two in SEC play. The Aggies are currently first in the league in on-base percentage (.384), sacrifice flies (13) and walks (113), tied for first in doubles (39) and second in batting average (.282), hits (213) RBIs (139) and runs scored (147).

No. 12 - A&M’s current ranking in the RPI. That’s up nine spots from No. 21 since this time last week and 24 spots up from No. 36 two weeks ago. It gets even crazier to think that A&M sat at No. 223 after week four (Santa Clara series) and was at No. 80 after week six (Auburn series). But then came the win at Texas (RPI 21 but No. 2 at the time), and the win over Texas State (RPI 39) after dropping 2-of-3 at Alabama, then the series win over Kentucky, the series win at Georgia (RPI 4), the midweek win over DBU (RPI 6; SOS 3) and finally series wins over Arkansas (RPI 26) and on the road at Vandy (RPI 10).

If you’re scoring at home, that’s eight top-30 wins in the last 19 games and an 11-4 record in the last 15 contests. All of these great wins against high-ranking teams have moved A&M into 12th in the RPI and the Strength of Schedule is sitting at No. 5.

13 - Number of Quadrant I (RPI top-50) wins for A&M this season. That’s four more QI victories than the Aggies had all of last season plus the shortened 2020 season, combined. Seven of those 13 wins have come in the last ten games, with two victories at Georgia (RPI 4), a midweek win at home vs. DBU (RPI 6), two wins last weekend at Olsen Field against Arkansas (RPI 26) and two wins at Vanderbilt (RPI 9).

A&M is 13-8 vs. QI teams so far this season. Only Tennessee and Georgia (15 apiece) have more QI victories thus far.

15.8 - Runs per game for A&M in game three of the series over the last four weeks. The Aggies have scored 63 runs in game three in that span ... 17 runs vs. Kentucky, 23 runs at Georgia, 11 runs vs. Arkansas and 12 runs at Vandy. Counter that with the first four weeks of the season when the Ags scored exactly five runs in all four finale games to open the season.

93 - Pitches thrown in relief by veteran lefty Joseph Menefee in A&M’s series-clinching win on Saturday. Menefee took the ball in the second inning with the Aggies leading, 7-3, and proceeded to “shove” for the next five-plus innings of action.

Menefee gave up an RBI single in the sixth inning (earned) on just two hits over 5.1 frames, walking three and striking out nine. Menefee continues to explode out of his rough start to his fourth season in Aggieland.

He’s given up just one run total in his last 10 innings, during which he’s allowed just four hits. While he has walked six in that span, he has also struck out 16. He’s commanding multiple pitches very well and having thrown 65 pitches and 93 pitches, respectively, in his last two appearances, you have to wonder if Schlossnagle and Yeskie will think about starting Menefee over Dallas in this weekend’s series against South Carolina.

We’ll see what happens, but that’s certainly something to watch.

That’ll do it for this week. Four games at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park this week, starting with UT-Arlington coming to town tonight for a 6:30 p.m. CT battle before the Aggies welcome the suddenly-hot South Carolina Gamecocks to the corner of George Bush and Olsen for a three-game series starting on Friday.

It should be fun. We’ll see you around the ballpark!

Discussion from...

By the Numbers: Series win at Vandy keeps A&M on track for postseason

2,499 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by jigsaw87
Gabe Bock
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AG
Lots of great numbers this week. Which one stands out most to you. I have 3 that go hand-in-hand ... all about the bullpen...

Quote:

1 - Total number of runs allowed for A&M relief ace Jacob Palisch in his last nine outings COMBINED. That dates back to the win over Texas in Austin five weeks ago and spans a total of 19 innings, during which the grad transfer from Stanford has also racked up 27 strikeouts with just two walks and lowered his ERA from 5.60 to 2.79.

Palisch pitched just once in the Vandy series, closing out a 3-1 win in game one with two scoreless frames and picking up his fourth save of the season. All four of his saves have come in the Aggies' last 11 games played and in Palisch's last five appearances.

3 - Runs allowed by the A&M bullpen in 14 innings of action. That's good for a salty 1.93 ERA. The group allowed just 11 hits and five walks in that span, punching out 17. There might not be a single unit in any aspect of any team in college baseball this season that has more improved in-season than the Texas Aggie bullpen. It's been quite remarkable.

You can't deny that we've seen a bunch of great pitching in College Station for much of the last 15 years, but what Nate Yeskie is doing with this group on the fly in '22 is right there with the most impressive coaching efforts we've seen around here.

93 - Pitches thrown in relief by veteran lefty Joseph Menefee in A&M's series-clinching win on Saturday. Menefee took the ball in the second inning with the Aggies leading, 7-3, and proceeded to "shove" for the next five-plus innings of action.
Menefee gave up an RBI single in the sixth inning (earned) on just two hits over 5.1 frames, walking three and striking out nine. Menefee continues to explode out of his rough start to his fourth season in Aggieland.
He's given up just one run total in his last 10 innings, during which he's allowed just four hits. While he has walked six in that span, he has also struck out 16. He's commanding multiple pitches very well and having thrown 65 pitches and 93 pitches, respectively, in his last two appearances, you have to wonder if Schlossnagle and Yeskie will think about starting Menefee over Dallas in this weekend's series against South Carolina.
We'll see what happens, but that's certainly something to watch.
RED AG 98
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AG
Great stuff Gabe. Always enjoy this numbers series. Tough to pick something this week but I think I have to go with the lights out performance of the bullpen. That's a bunch of innings of shutdown ball, and it seems the team goes at the pitching goes.

In the spirit of numbers, another key this weekend was the pitch discrepancy between the 2 staffs.

  • Game 1 - Delta -64 / Us 133 / Them 197. I believe we saw 37 pitches in the 1st alone.
  • Game 2 - Delta -16 / Us 150 / Them 166. This one was a bit surprising given the score.
  • Game 3 - Delta -55 / Us 154 / Them 209. Again I think we saw 30 pitches in the 1st.

That's a total of 135 fewer pitches for the good guys in just 3 games. Our pitchers did a great job of throwing strikes (in spite of blue) and were in general pretty darn efficient. Only using 2 arms in the "Friday" game two SEC series in a row is huge for this staff that isn't very deep.

The other side is also the job we did at the plate. I don't have all the splits but our approach was generally tremendous. We were patient, worked deep into the count, and fouled off more 2 strike pitches than I can remember.

So impressed with the job Schloss, Yeskie and Earley are doing!



jigsaw87
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