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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Baseball

Cougars, Aggies renew rivalry at Blue Bell Park


Freshman outfielder Drew Minter and the baseball team are leaving the confines of UH to play the Texas A&M Aggies at Blue Bell Park. For a team that is coming off a losing series, this is bad for the Cougars. They are only 3-5 away from Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park. | Richard Fletcher Jr./The Cougar

After losing the series to the Cincinnati Bearcats this weekend, the baseball team returns to Texas this Tuesday. But instead of returning to Houston, the team is making the drive up to College Station to play the Texas A&M Aggies.

This year, the baseball team will play a pair of single games against regional rivals: one against the Aggies and another against the Texas Longhorns on April 24. Combined with their series against the Rice Owls and the Sam Houston State Bearkats, these games are for bragging rights as to who is the best team in the state.

On another level, this game against the Aggies is a strong test for Cougars who are not performing at the level they may have hoped.

After dropping the final two games against Cincinnati, the Cougars are 17-11 with only a 3-5 record away from Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park.

Meanwhile, the Aggies are coming off their first College World Series appearance since 2011 and have qualified for the NCAA Tournament every year since 2007. They are 21-8 but have lost consecutive series against the Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Rebels and Georgia Bulldogs.

However, the Cougars will be playing the Aggies at Blue Bell Park where they have only lost three times this season.

Ironically enough, both teams will likely be unable to use any of their top three pitchers for this matchup. The Cougars used juniors Trey Cumbie, Aaron Fletcher and Ryan Randel against Cincinnati, meaning the three players will have to rest.

The Aggies played Mitchell Kilkenny, John Doxakis and Stephen Kolek against Georgia. Those three are a combined 13-4 for the Aggies.

The Aggies will likely use Chandler Jozwiak, as he is fourth on their starting rotation. In seven starts, he has a record of 2-0 but has an earned run average of 3.72 in only 29 innings pitched.

The Cougars have yet to announce their starting pitcher. The numbers show it could be Brayson Hurdsman, as he has three starts on the year, the most outside of the starting rotation. But in his most recent outing, he gave up four runs to the Rice Owls and has a season ERA of 4.63.

Regardless of who is pitching for the Cougars, they will need to keep an eye out for Michael Helman and Logan Foster from the Aggies. Helman leads the team with a .400 batting average and 48 hits. Foster is the power hitter, averaging .312 and leading the team in both home runs — six — and runs batted in — 30 — but he also has the most strikeouts at 29.

First pitch is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in College Station at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park.

UPDATE: Game has been cancelled due to severe weather in College Station. The game will not be rescheduled.

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