NCAA Super Regional: Texas A&M rallies past Oregon after losing Montgomery to injury

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

In the bottom of the first inning, the third-seeded Texas A&M Aggies started to brush up against some unwanted adversity when star outfielder Braden Montgomery limped off the field with a lower leg injury.

By the top of the second, starting pitcher Ryan Prager was pulled from the game in the midst of a four-run outburst by the Oregon Ducks. The bottom half of the second? A&M’s fortune was no better as a base runner was unceremoniously picked off at second base.

Fortunately for the Aggies, they had seven more innings to make amends, and they did just that, erasing what had been an early three-run deficit to post a 10-6 victory on Saturday in the opener of the Bryan-College Station Super Regional.

With the victory, A&M moved to within one win of a trip to the College World Series.

The Aggies showed significant grit and determination in Game One of the Super Regional against the Ducks. Right-handed reliever Chris Cortez pitched 5 and 2/3 scoreless innings for the victory. He allowed only two hits and walked two while striking out 10.

Closing out the game, lefty Evan Aschenbeck retired four straight batters. Combined, Cortez and Aschenbeck totally out-pitched the Ducks, who yielded 12 hits, walked nine and threw two wild pitches.


Oregon 40-20
Texas A&M 48-13


Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said in the postgame that he thinks Braden Montgomery is out for the year.


“Not sure I’ve ever been more proud of a team,” Schlossnagle said in his opening postgame remarks. “You know, emotionally, Prager goes out. Doesn’t have a great first inning. Then we battle back into it. And then, you know, the injury. I was telling these guys it’s the third time it’s happened to me in my career. Right at the tail end of the season, or in the postseason, you know, lost one of our best players. Happened at Tulane. Happened at TCU with Luken Baker. And then to get down 6-3. Just the emotions, that, I think, a lot of teams fold … Super proud of our club.”

Coming up

Oregon at Texas A&M, Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Game 3 of the Super Regional, if necessary, would be played on Monday.

Losing Montgomery

In the top of the first, the Ducks surged into a 2-0 lead against Aggies ace Ryan Prager on a two-run homer off the bat of Anson Aroz. The Aggies retaliated immediately against Ducks starting pitcher RJ Gordon.

Leading off, Gavin Grahovac walked. After Jace LaViolette flied out, Montgomery walked to put two runners on. Jackson Appel followed with an RBI single, scoring Grahovac and moving Montgomery to second base.

On the next play, Ted Burton singled to left field. Montgomery came around third and appeared to hesitate before breaking for home. As he started to slide, he turned his right foot just before he was tagged out by Oregon catcher Bennett Thompson.

Montgomery stayed down until help from the A&M staff arrived to place a boot on his foot and help him off the field. In the short term, the loss of a projected first-round choice in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft didn’t hurt A&M.

The Aggies won easily. But for a team with championship aspirations, the loss of their top offensive player could prove costly.

Montgomery entered the Super Regional leading the Aggies with a .322 batting average, a .733 slugging percentage and a 1.185 OPS. He ranks second on the team in home runs with 27 and leads in RBI with 85.

Suffering misfortune

Despite Montgomery’s early exit, the Aggies scored three runs in the bottom of the first and held a 3-2 lead. It didn’t last long. The Ducks continued to hit Prager in the second inning, starting a rally in the top of the second that led to four runs and a 6-3 lead.

Bouncing back

The Aggies didn’t let the early struggles get them down. They retaliated with one run in the third inning, three in the fourth and three more in the fifth. For the game, Jackson Appel and Hayden Schott both produced three hits. Appel scored twice and drove in two. California native Schott, one of a few A&M players from the West Coast, had three RBI.

Aggies break a 25-year-old team season home run record

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

The Texas A&M Aggies have hit five home runs on Sunday night to break the school’s 25-year-old team season record. The Aggies have hit 130 on the season, beating the previous mark of 128 set in 1999.

With the Aggies playing the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns for the title in the NCAA College Station Regional at Blue Bell Park, Caden Sorrell, Braden Montgomery, Hayden Schott, Ali Camarillo and Gavin Grahovac have all belted homers.

Sorrell and Montgomery went deep in the fourth inning, Schott hit one in the fifth, Camarillo in the seventh and Grahovac in the ninth. Montgomery has 27 for the year and Grahovac 22, which is an A&M freshman record.

Coming into the regional round of the NCAA tournament, the Aggies had hit 124 home runs as a team.

They didn’t hit any in an 8-0 victory over the Grambling Tigers on opening day Friday. They hit one on Saturday, by Sorrell, in a 4-2 victory over Texas.

With five against Louisiana, A&M now has 130 homers in 60 games. The 1999 squad that hit 128 featured Daylan Holt, who belted 34 that year for the school’s individual season record.

A&M is leading Louisiana 9-1 in the ninth inning. If the Aggies win, they advance to the Super Regional round next week.