The Texas A&M Aggies travel to Corvallis, Oregon to participate in their 29th NCAA Division I Championship The Aggies play the UCSB Gauchos on Friday at 2 pm Central. The Maroon and White are sharing a regional with No. 4 Oregon State and UTSA. Texas A&M is coming off a 2-2 performance at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. The Aggies beat Florida and No. 1 Vanderbilt to start the tournament, before being eliminated with back-to-back losses to No. 13 Mississippi State and Vanderbilt.
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (32-27, 13-16 SEC) vs UCSB
GAUCHOS (34-23, 17-10 Big West)
Goss Stadium (3,248) • Corvallis, Oregon
SCHEDULE – Friday, 2 pm Central
SERIES HISTORY – First Meeting
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS
• Friday - Daniel Mengden (So., RHP, 8-3, 1.84 ERA) vs Austin Pettibone (So., RHP, 9-3, 3.11 ERA)
AGGIES IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Aggies are making their 29th NCAA Championship appearance overall and their seventh in a row. The Aggies are 64-64 all-time in NCAA Championship play, including 55-41 in regional action.
Texas A&M has won regionals in 1993, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2011. They also captured a district playoff in 1951 before regional play began.
The Aggies have advanced to the College World Series on five occasions, including 1951, ‘64, ‘93, ‘99 and 2011.
TEXAS A&M/UC SANTA BARBARA SERIES NOTABLES
The Aggies and Gauchos have never met on the baseball diamond. Texas A&M is 13-13 all-time against current members of the Big West Conference, including 5-7 vs Cal State Fullerton, 3-2 vs Cal State Northridge, 1-2 vs Hawaii, 3-2 vs Long Beach State and 1-0 vs UC Irvine. This season, the Maroon and White lost two of three at Cal State Fullerton.
Texas A&M has had run-ins with the Big West on six prior occasions, posting a 2-4 record. In 1988, the Aggies dropped a 6-3 decision against Cal State Fullerton at the South Regional in Starkville. In 1993, the Maroon and White dropped a 6-2 decision to Long Beach State at the College World Series. In 1999, Long Beach State won two of three meetings at the 1999 College Station Regional and lost a 4-2 decision to Cal State Fullerton at the College World Series.
MORE ON UCSB
UC Santa Barbara enters the Corvallis Regional with a 34-23 overall record and the Gauchos finished second in the Big West with a 17-10 record. UCSB has won 11 of their last 14 games.
The Gauchos swept a three-game non-conference series against San Jose State and won three-game non-conference series against Fresno State and Sacramento State. UCSB lost non-conference series against Texas and Cal Poly. They also split a four-game series against San Francisco.
The Gauchos won seven of their nine Big West Conference series, including their last six of the season against Long Beach State, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, Cal State Northridge, Pacific and UC Davis.
Key offensive performers for the Gauchos include first baseman Tyler Kuresa who owns team-highs with a .469 slugging percentage and 45 RBI and Robby Nesovic who leads the team in hitting as a freshman with a .343 batting average. Kuresa owns a .304 batting average with 16 doubles, three triples and vie home runs. Nesovic has nine doubles, four home runs and 33 RBI. Woody Woodward is hitting .335 with 32 runs, nine doubles, two triples, one home run and 33 RBI.
Expected Friday starter Austin Pettibone posted a 9-3 record on the year with a 3.11 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 110.0 innings. He has two complete-games and one shutout. Closer Dylan Hecht is 0-2 with eight saves, a 1.93 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 32.2 innings. The Gauchos staff has a 3.99 ERA and 352 strikeouts in 501.0 innings.
The Gauchos are making their ninth appearance in the NCAA Championships. Their last appearance came in 2001 at the NCAA South Bend Regional where the Gauchos lost to Florida International (17-4), beat Milwaukee (13-12) and lost to Notre Dame (11-10). UCSB is 6-17 all-time in NCAA tournament play.
UCSB boasts 21 former players who have gone on to play in the Major Leagues. The group is led by 19-year veteran and three-time NL All-Star Chris Speier, seven-time AL All-Star Michael Young and three-time AL All-Star and 2003 AL Cy Young Barry Zito.