Texas A&M is rolling in Omaha, 1 win away from history (2024)

OMAHA, Neb. — They’re so close, these we-want-history-now Texas A&M Aggies.

The lockdown closer who was nearly cut two years ago, but Saturday night faced 10 Tennessee batters and struck out seven of them.

The major leaguer’s son who had to step in for an injured All-American for the NCAA Tournament and has not stopped hitting since.

The freshman leadoff hitter whose home run put a jolt through his team just three pitches into the Men’s College World Series finals Saturday night.

The cast on the mound who have refused to let opponents up for air in Omaha.

The coach who graduated magna cum laude three decades ago and has brought seven teams here, but still longs for the feeling only a champion would know.

So close now, all of them.

“It's one win. Can’t make it more than that,” Jim Schlossnagle said after Texas A&M’s 9-5 victory over Tennessee in the opener of the best-of-three Championship Series. “Still got a ballgame to win, got a series to win”

And still got a powerful Tennessee team to beat one more time.

“They know it's one game,” Schlossnagle went on about his players. “We all know what's at stake. There's no Lombardi speech. We just try to keep them as loose as we can. We'll hit in the cages and get our ground balls tomorrow and play. I know it sounds coachy, but if you start thinking about things other than that, Tennessee is going to blow you out of this ballpark.”

Maybe Tennessee can yet find the answer that no one else has this month: How to beat Texas A&M.

Fact: The Aggies are now 9-0 in the NCAA Tournament by a combined score of 69-29, and 4-0 here by a score of 23-8.

Maybe the Vols can at least actually get the lead.

Fact: No one has done that against Texas A&M since the Aggies landed in Omaha. Out of 36 MCWS innings so far, Texas A&M has led at the end of 30 of them.

Maybe the Tennessee hitters can come up with the timely hits that the Texas A&M pitchers have refused to allow.

Fact: The Aggies’ four opponents in this MCWS are 4-for-42 with runners in scoring position. The Vols had chances Saturday. They also struck out 17 times, a Championship Series record for a nine-inning game.

Maybe all the above will change and Tennessee can stop the Aggies Express. If so, it has to be now.

Sunday will be Tennessee’s second elimination game. The first was after the Vols lost to Evansville in their own super regional. Tennessee won the next day 12-1. “As crazy as it is, that Evansville game was a little bit good for us,” coach Tony Vitello said. “I think you need to be reminded every now and again of certain things you need to do. That Evansville game did that to us, and this was similar.” Besides, the Vols lost consecutive games only once all season and that was back in March at Alabama.

Sunday will have to show if any of that matters.

“It's not that serious, like we have to fix a problem or anything,” Vols pitcher AJ Causey said. “We just have to play the baseball we can play.”

One problem for Tennessee. Texas A&M is playing the baseball it can play.

The Aggies hitters are trained to know the strike zone. Six of their runs Saturday were driven in with two-strike counts.

The pitchers are coached to pound the strike zone. Of the 42 Tennessee batters who came to the plate Saturday, 32 saw a strike on the first pitch. The closer, Evan Aschenbeck, threw 46 total pitches and only 12 were balls.

It was a combination the Vols could not handle. Not Saturday anyway.

“Our approach the whole time is swing at strikes and take balls, as hard as that is. That's what we do. That's our mantra, that's what we fall back to,” second baseman Kaeden Kent said of the Aggies’ hitting approach.

“That's the first thing we work on the very first day of fall practice," Schlossnagle said.

Both Texas A&M homers came with two strikes. Freshman Gavin Grahovac hit the first leadoff homer in a Championship Series game in 21 years. It’s called setting a tone. “I hit that ball and thought, oh my gosh, that really just happened,” Grahovac said. Kent added a two-run shot in the seventh that pretty much put the game away.

Kent --- All-Star Jeff Kent’s son – was a reserve who made little noise for the Aggies before All-American outfielder Braden Montgomery broke his ankle in the super regional. That was a loss of 27 home runs and 85 RBI so someone had to help fill the void. In the six games since, Kent has hit .480 with 14 RBI. That’s the same number of RBI he had in the first three months of the season.

“Baseball is a frustrating game. So the consistency and the time that you put in is not always shown out on the field when you play,” he said. “The countless hours in the cages sometimes turns into an 0-for-4 when you go out on Tuesday. But it's just the repetition, man, you're stacking days on days. The compound effect. And you just gotta keep pushing through it.”

As for what the Aggies pitchers have been up to, Evan Aschenbeck will do as an example. In the fall of 2022, he was nearly cut from the team. Then things got better in a hurry. This season he was named national stopper of the year, with his 10 saves and his 1.54 earned run average going into Saturday and his 77-12 strikeout-walk ratio.

There he was Saturday night, slamming every door on the feared Tennessee lineup, plowing through the last 2.2 innings.

“That’s what pitchers are there for,” Aschenbeck said. “When I get the opportunity to go out and pitch, I just want to throw strikes, limit free bases. If they get a hit, they get a hit. It's baseball. It's going to happen. You've just got to keep going pitch to pitch and strike to strike.”

Words that gladden his coach’s heart.

“I don't take him for granted. I've had some great relievers in the past, and he's right up there with all of them,” Schlossnagle said. “You just know he's going to control his heartbeat, number one. The moment's never too big. He's going to be in the strike zone with at least two pitches, usually three.

“I always measure a pitcher by what's my heart rate like when he pitches. My heart rate is not good during most games, but when he pitches it's way better.”

Aschenbeck is not the only Aggie who has been adept here at damage control. How to explain that .095 batting average by Texas A&M’s opponents with runners in scoring position?

“Our players aren’t afraid of the moment and they understand when there are ducks on the pond they don’t need to make a super pitches.” pitching coach Max Weiner said. “They just make their pitch.”

Speaking of the moment, Sunday could be the most important in the history of Texas A&M baseball.

One more game. Or as they say in the Tennessee camp, two more.

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Texas A&M is rolling in Omaha, 1 win away from history (2024)

FAQs

Has Texas A&M ever been to Omaha? ›

Fact: The Aggies are now 9-0 in the NCAA Tournament by a combined score of 69-29, and 4-0 here by a score of 23-8. Maybe the Vols can at least actually get the lead. Fact: No one has done that against Texas A&M since the Aggies landed in Omaha.

When was the last time Texas A&M won the College World Series? ›

Texas A&M has made 33 NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to the College World Series seven times, in 1951, 1964, 1993, 1999, 2011, 2017, and 2022. The Aggies have never won a national championship in baseball.

Who won the College World Series in Omaha? ›

No. 1 Tennessee and No. 3 Texas A&M went toe-to-toe in the championship series, with the Vols ultimately being crowned champs after a 6-5 Game 3 win to cap off a 60-win season Monday in Omaha, Nebraska.

Who won the 2024 College baseball World Series? ›

The 2024 NCAA DI baseball tournament ended in Omaha, Nebraska with Tennessee capturing its first Men's College World Series title in program history. The Vols defeated Texas A&M, 6-5, in Game 3 of the best-of-three final series.

What was the old name for Texas A&M? ›

College Renamed Texas A&M University

In 1963, the Texas Legislature changed the school's name from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas to Texas A&M University. The "A" and "M" became a symbolic link to the school's past but no longer officially stood for "Agricultural and Mechanical."

Who is Texas A&M biggest rival? ›

The Texas–Texas A&M football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Texas Longhorns and the Texas A&M Aggies.

Why is Texas A&M called Aggies? ›

An Aggie is a student at Texas A&M. In the early 1900s, our students were called "Farmers." The term Aggie — reflecting our agricultural roots — was first used in the 1920s, and in 1949, the yearbook changed its name from The Longhorn to Aggieland. At that point, Aggie became the official student body nickname.

What does A&M stand for? ›

Agricultural and Mechanical, originally. But today the letters no longer explicitly stand for anything. When Texas A&Mwas opened on Oct. 4, 1876 as the state's first public institution of higher education, it was called the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, or "A&M" for short.

Have the Aggies ever won a national championship? ›

The Texas A&M Aggies claim three national titles and have won 21 conference titles.

Why is College World Series always in Omaha? ›

Several businessmen in Omaha, led by Johnny Rosenblatt, were very instrumental in bringing the College World Series to their town. They saw it as the perfect way to showcase their town to the world, put the event in a centralized location, and bring in revenue for their city.

How much are tickets to the College World Series? ›

College World Series ticket prices

Each of the three days has varying prices, but two seats for Game 1 will run you from $286 per ticket to nearly $3,000 for just behind home plate. Game 2 drops to $189 each on the bottom end, while topping out at $4,580.

Who has won more College World Series? ›

The Trojans have won 12 national championships, including five straight from 1970-74. LSU ranks second with seven titles, while Texas follows with six. The Tennessee Volunteers took home the 2024 MCWS title after defeating the Texas A&M Aggies. Here's a look at all-time Men's College World Series Division I champions.

How many CWS has Texas A&M won? ›

Texas A&M claimed three wins in a College World Series for the first time in program history. In College World Series play, Texas A&M is now 7-14 all-time. Under head coach Jim Schlossnagle , Texas A&M is now 17-4 in postseason play and 5-2 in College World Series games.

Has TN ever won the College World Series? ›

Tennessee finished its season 60-13 to become the first No. 1 national seed to win the national title since 1999 and the first 60-win SEC team in history. The final game and the whole College World Series were filled with outstanding moments that we have photographic proof of.

Who won Tennessee vs Texas A&M baseball? ›

Tennessee held off Texas A&M baseball, 6-5, to win its first Men's College World Series championship in program history, highlighted by Zander Sechrist's seven strikeouts and Dylan Dreiling's third home run of the finals. Watch the extended highlights from the Vols' 2024 MCWS clincher here.

Did anyone famous go to Texas A&M? ›

>>>Check out these famous Texas A&M alums...

Actor Rip Torn was a cadet at Texas A&M. Robert Earl Keen is a big name in Texas country. Roger Creager is one of the biggest stars in Texas country. Chuck Knoblauch was a clutch MLB player, especially with the New York Yankees.

Is there more than one Texas A&M? ›

Texas A&M Health offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Campuses are in Bryan-College Station, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, Kingsville, McAllen, Round Rock and Temple.

Is Texas A&M a top 50 school? ›

Texas A&M University's ranking in the 2024 edition of Best Colleges is National Universities, #47.

Why is Texas A&M so military? ›

Texas A&M was established in 1876 as a military institution, and the Corps of Cadets has played an important part in our history and development. While membership is now voluntary, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets form the largest uniformed body of students outside of U.S. military academies.

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