The mileage from Austin, Texas, to Charles Schwab Field, the site of the College World Series, is 840 miles. The mileage from College Station, Texas, to Charles Schwab Field is 827 miles. Combined, the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies will travel 1,667 miles in quest of College Baseball’s ultimate prize on one of the biggest stages in College Baseball. Omaha!
A program that has cemented itself within College Baseball royalty, the Texas Longhorns return to Omaha for the second consecutive season, making this appearance the 38th in program history. This trip to Omaha has been no easy task for a team that started the season as the number one team in the country.
The Longhorns got hot at the right time, which helped them get back to Omaha. During this tournament, the Longhorns could host a Regional, giving them the home-field advantage they needed to breeze through the Austin Regionals. During the Super Regionals, the Longhorns met a hostile crowd in East Carolina. Dropping game one of the Super Regionals, the Longhorns knew they had a fight on their hands but were able to win the next two games convincingly to punch their ticket to Omaha.
We cannot discuss this Longhorns roster and how they got back to Omaha without mentioning Pete Hansen and Ivan Melendez. With Hansen taking the ball every Friday night and Melendez putting on a show as the nation’s top home run leader (32 and counting), the rest of this Longhorn’s lineup has been able to step up when called upon. Dylan Campbell blasted two home runs in the Super Regional finals, and Tristan Stevens put on a pitching clinic going over 100 pitches to send the Longhorns to Omaha. The impressive performances by Douglas Hodo III, Murphy Stehly, and Skyler Messinger during this tournament are why the Longhorns come in as the early favorites to win it all.
The Longhorns will open up the College World Series on Friday evening as they square off against a red team in Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will be riding high in this series as they knocked out the number one team in the country in Tennessee last weekend in the Knoxville Super Regionals.
Texas A&M Aggies
The Aggies have become one of the most talked-about teams this season. They started the season unranked, beat in-state rival Texas on the road in Austin, and had big-time conference series wins over Arkansas, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Georgia, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State. The Aggies were able to climb the rankings to number five overall in the tournament. The Aggies have put the rest of the programs on notice that they are not a team to be taken lightly.
How the Aggies got here is a credit to first-year head coach Jim Schlossnagle. Coming over from TCU, Schlossnagle has changed the culture at A&M for the better. The 12th Man is a tradition we all hear about during Aggie football games. This season, Schlossnagle wanted to bring that excitement to Olsen Field, and it worked. The 12th Man was there all-season along, which helped get the Aggies back to Omaha for the first time since 2017, and the seventh overall appearance in program history.
The 12th Man gets some of the credit, but you have to give credit to this offense. Led by Dylan Rock, Ryan Targac, Jack Moss, Austin Bost, and Troy Claunch (12th Man), the Aggies proved that you are never out until the final out of the game. In the College Station Regional final, the Aggies were in a battle against TCU. Needing just one win to send them to the Super Regionals, the Aggies looked like they were headed to a Game Seven against the Horned Frogs, but in the top of the ninth inning, the Aggies would score seven runs to defeat the Horned Frogs and move on to the Super Regionals.
In the Super Regionals, the Aggies knew they were in a battle again, this time with Louisville. In-game one that went nearly five hours, the Aggies edged out the Cardinals 5-4. Game Two was not any different. With the Cardinals leading 3-2 in the top of the sixth inning, Targac would blast a home run to left field to tie the game up. The very next inning, Rock would drive in Trevor Werner, and the Aggies would take the lead for good. Jacob Palisch would come to close it out, sending the Aggies to Omaha.
The Aggies will open up the College World Series on Friday afternoon, facing off against the Big 12 Champion, Oklahoma Sooners. The Sooners have been one the most impressive teams this season. The Aggies will have their hands full, but they have the offense and pitching to get them through this game. Micah Dallas or Nathan Dettmer will take the ball in Game One.
This will be the first that the Aggies and Longhorns will be matched up in the same bracket in the College World Series. These two programs have met in the tournament, most recently in the 2018 Regionals and the 2014 Super Regionals, but never in the CWS. If both teams win on Friday, they will meet up in the second round on Sunday.
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