The Big 12 kicks off 2 series early this week in anticipation of the Easter holiday. #16 Texas A&M travels to Manhattan, Kansas to play a surprisingly improved Kansas State ballclub in what should be the top series of the weekend. The other early series features #9 Texas heading to Hawks Field to take on a struggling Nebraska team. Texas A&M, Texas, and Kansas State are all on track to make the Big 12 Tournament and play in the NCAA Tournament, while Nebraska is currently sitting at the bottom of the Big 12 standings with a postseason bid looking out of reach.
#16 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (20-12, 7-5) @ KANSAS STATE WILDCATS (24-8, 5-4)
Kansas State is not the same team that finished 29-29 last year. Improvements have occurred on offense and with the pitching staff. Last year’s team finished 10th in the Big 12 with a .261 batting average, while this year’s team is currently 2nd in the league with a .330 average. The pitching staff finished 2008 with a 5.11 ERA, but have dropped that number to 3.88 thanks to starter A.J. Morris and his 0.83 ERA in 8 games, all victories. #16 Texas A&M is looking to rebound after dropping 2 games last weekend in Lubbock, Texas. The Aggies stranded 28 runners on base, bringing only 21 runners around to score against the Red Raiders. Kansas State will throw A.J. Morris on Saturday against Alex Wilson, a matchup that will likely produce high strikeouts, but should favor Kansas State.
Thursday 6:00 PM: Brooks Raley, So. (L) (5-1, 2.15) vs. Lance Hoge, Sr. (L) (4-2, 3.55)
Friday 6:00 PM: Alex Wilson, Jr. (R) (3-3, 3.80) vs. A.J. Morris, Jr. (R) (87-0, 0.83)
Saturday 2:00 PM: TBA vs. TBA
PREDICTION: Kansas State 2-1
#9 TEXAS LONGHORNS (21-8, 6-6) @ NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (16-15, 4-8)
The Longhorns scored a huge victory last weekend, winning 2 of 3 in Stillwater, Oklahoma against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Nebraska, on the other hand, was swept by the strong pitching of Kansas State. In the series, Nebraska has won 6 of the last 10 from Texas, but that should shift in favor of the Longhorns after the final game on Saturday. Texas has won 7 of their last 9 games since dropping 4 games against Rice and Kansas, including a 6-0 victory in Austin against a good TCU team. The biggest improvement in the last few weeks has been the offense, which has seen an increase in runs scored, a problem that has haunted Texas this season. Nebraska’s problem this year has been a lack of pitching. With the struggles, the Huskers have moved Mike Nesseth to the bullpen to improve their chances if they find themselves in the lead after 5 innings. Still, the Texas pitching staff will be too much for the Nebraska hitters to handle. Game 1 will be televised by CBS College Sports.
Thursday 6:00 PM: Chance Ruffin, So. (R) (5-2, 2.48) vs. Sean Yost, Fr. (R) (1-2, 7.83)
Friday 6:00 PM: Brandon Workman, So. (R) (3-3, 2.55) vs. Jordan Roualdes, Jr. (L) ( 4-2, 5.83)
Saturday 1:00 PM: Cole Green, So. (R) (2-0, 2.75) vs. Casey Hauptman, So. (R) (2-2, 5.30)
PREDICTION: Texas 3-0