BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – 2015 Southwestern Athletic Conference baseball champion Texas Southern University heads to College Station to take on Super Regional host Texas A&M University in the first round of the NCAA baseball tournament. This is the Tigers first trip to the dance since 2008, and third time in program history. They advanced to the 2004 tournament after winning their first SWAC title.
This is the second time Texas Southern (31-17) has faced Texas A&M in the postseason. The two met in 2004 and Texas A&M leads the postseason series 1-0. TSU comes into the matchup having won six of their last seven games. Tournament MVP Zach Welz has been key to the Tigers success this postseason. He led all batters in the tournament with nine hits and 14 total bases. And his .429 batting average was the best of all hitters with over 15 at bats.
TSU’s all-tournament pitchers Ryan Rios, Frank Cruz IV, and Felix Gomez will need to be on their game against the Aggies. Each have earned a significant number of starts this season, but have also seen time on the mound in relief.
Texas A&M (45-11) come into the tournament as the top seed after falling to #9 Vanderbilt on the SEC tournament semifinals. They boast a .312 team batting average with a .307 team ERA. Their top hitter coming into the tournament is Mitchell Nau. He has started every game for the Aggies and leads with a team-high .376 batting average including 73 hits, 14 doubles, and four home runs. Grayson Long has started all 15 of his appearances on the mound and leads with a team-best 2.62 ERA.
Tigers in the NCAA Tournament
Texas Southern made its first NCAA appearance in 2004. Playing out of the Baton Rouge Super Regional, the Tigers faced Rice University and won 4-3. They went on to lose to eventual Super Regional finalist Texas A&M for their first loss. Rice then earned their revenge, winning the rematch and knocking Texas Southern out of the tournament.
The Tigers made it back in 2008 and faced Super Regional host LSU in the first round of the Baton Rouge regional. They fell to the hosts and then dropped game two to New Orleans.
TSU has scored 12 runs in the NCAA tournament. They hold a 1-4 all-time tournament record and are playing in their first regional in Texas this year.