Assuming the weather cooperates, the Cats are set to take on the Texas A&M Aggies in their fourth SEC series of the 2015 season tonight at Cliff Hagan Stadium. After Kentucky took two of three games from then No. 1 LSU last weekend in Baton Rouge, they were rewarded a similar challenge this week, as the Aggies assumed the top spot in many of the national polls. Here’s some interesting notes on the upcoming matchup.
This marks the first time in school history that UK will face the nation’s top-ranked team in consecutive weekends.
UK has already notched five wins over top-25 foes this season, including series wins versus 20th-ranked Mississippi State and top-ranked LSU. The series win at LSU was UK’s third consecutive season with a series win over a No. 1 ranked team. The Cats now have eight wins in the Gary Henderson era over No. 1 ranked teams, with three of UK’s four all-time series wins over top-ranked opponents.
And it’s not getting any easier for the Cats. The USA Today Coaches’ Poll currently has four SEC squads in the top five, including Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, LSU, and Florida. UK will face all of these teams this season, so any question marks about this team will certainly be answered by the end of the year.
Texas A&M is really good.
Obviously. But let’s look at some stats anyway. The Aggies are 28-2 (7-2 SEC) this season and have hit .321 as a team, with a .477 slugging and a .417 on-base percentage, accounting for 31 homers. On the mound, they boast a 2.03 team ERA and have held opposing teams to a .228 average. A&M’s All-America outfielder Nick Banks is a slugger, hitting .435 with six doubles, two triples, two homers and 20 RBI.
It will be tough, but Kentucky can beat the Aggies.
While UK has not shown overwhelming consistency like A&M, the Cats are 18-11 (4-5 SEC) and will not go down without a fight. UK is hitting .302 as a team in 2015, with a .402 slugging and a .387 on-base percentage, including 53 doubles and 13 homers. Outfielders Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett pace the offense, hitting .387 and .372, respectively. Evan White, JaVon Shelby, and Thomas Bernal are also all batting over .300. The Cats’ pitching staff holds a 4.45 team ERA on the year.
Here are the tentative pitching matchups:
UK- So., RHP Zack Brown (2-2, 2.47 ERA) vs. TAMU- Jr., RHP Grayson Long (5-0, 2.50 ERA)
UK- Jr., RHP Dustin Beggs (3-2, 3.09 ERA) vs. TAMU- Jr., RHP Kyle Simonds (2-0, 0.00 ERA)
UK- Jr., RHP Kyle Cody (2-2, 5.45 ERA) vs. TAMU- Jr., LHP Matt Kent (6-0, 2.78 ERA)
You can watch all three games on the SEC Network. Tonight’s game is currently on a rain delay but should be starting soon. Friday’s game is slated for a 7 p.m. start while the series finale is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday.