Mississippi State baseball (21-14, 5-7) faces its toughest test of the season this weekend traveling to Blue Bell Park to take on the #1 Texas A&M Aggies (31-2, 9-2).
The Bulldogs' struggle for consistency continued Tuesday night with a 7-1 road loss to Memphis. This came after a series win against South Carolina that gave fans a glimmer of hope that the season could still be salvaged.
Well, the chances of gaining any momentum back this weekend doesn't look good. A&M has been the most dominant team in the country up to this point.
The Aggies breezed through the non-conference portion of the schedule without losing a single game. They have followed that up by winning all four of their SEC series thus far.
You don't have to look at the numbers very long to see why the Aggies are so dominant. They are elite in every phase of the game.
Here are the players that will likely give MSU the most trouble:
Nick Banks (sophomore): He ranks first in the SEC and sixth in the NCAA with a .425 batting average. He has six doubles, a pair of triples, and three homeruns. Banks is also third in the SEC with a .481 OBP. You might remember him from last year when Banks was named a Freshman All-American after ranking among the top hitters in the SEC. He leads a Texas A&M offense that is hitting .319 as a team, which is fourth best in the country.
Mitchell Nau (senior): Nau has starting experience dating all the way back to his freshman year, but this has been his best season by far. Nau is second on the team behind Banks in batting average hitting at a .381 clip. This comes after the previous three seasons that saw Nau hit no higher than .274. He also has three home runs and leads his squad with 30 RBI's.
Ronnie Gideon (sophomore): Even with Banks and Nau being the hitting machines that they have been, perhaps the most dangerous hitter for the Aggies that MSU will face is power-hitter Ronnie Gideon. In just 22 starts, Gideon has six home runs and 27 RBI's to go along with a .350 batting average. He puts the ball in play more often than not, with a team-leading .650 slugging percentage. Gideon is hitting .426 in SEC play.
The whole pitching staff: The Aggies have one of the most dominant pitching staffs in college baseball and one that is without a doubt the most elite MSU has seen in 2015. The Aggies' 2.11 team ERA ties with UC Santa Barbara for NO. 2 in the country. Even with multiple injuries putting a dent in the Aggies' starting pitching rotation since the beginning of the season, they have still found a way to piece together the best pitching staff in the SEC.
Starters Grayson Long, Matt Kent, and Turner Larkins have combined to go 16-1 on the season, but the bullpen is the biggest strength of the team with an ERA well under 2.00.