A&M’s Kilkenny, LSU’s Hilliard ImpressNotebook
• A&M’s Kilkenny coming into form
• LSU’s Hilliard shows poise, potential
• A&M’s Janca breaks out
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Sometimes one just has to take matters into their own hands. That’s precisely what Texas A&M junior righthander Mitchell Kilkenny did Saturday afternoon in a series-deciding win over LSU on a surprisingly blustery day.
The last three weekends in Southeastern Conference play had been a blur for the Aggies. In the Auburn series to begin league play, on the road, A&M appeared to be roaring toward a win that would’ve evened the series at 1-1. Instead, the A&M bullpen melted down, Auburn clinched the series, and the Aggies had to win Sunday to avoid the sweep. A week later, the Aggies lost the series opener to Ole Miss despite heaving a late lead, and you guessed it, lost the series. It wasn’t until last weekend’s series at Georgia that A&M truly dropped a series it didn’t have a great chance to win, and it struggled mightily, both on the mound at times and at the plate in the series loss to the Bulldogs.
So, that set the stage for a huge weekend against LSU. In the rugged SEC, you simply can’t afford to lose four-straight series, especially if you have any sort of hosting aspirations at the end of the season. You hate to call any series this early in the season a must-win, but it was for the Aggies, and with the series tied 1-1 entering Saturday, Kilkenny wasn’t going to let the moment slide. He was going to stop the bleeding. He was tired of losing series.
“We were going for the series win, and I think all of our guys were tired of losing,” Kilkenny said. “So, everyone was coming out pretty aggressive and just doing anything we could to win today.”
It was obvious from the get go that Kilkenny was in the zone. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder, has put together a strong junior campaign, but ran into a road block against Ole Miss two weekends ago when he allowed five runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings. He bounced back against Georgia last weekend with 6.2 shutout innings. But LSU was yet another stern test, and he passed this one with exemplary marks.