Texas A&M downs Texas 4-2 in 11 innings to cap an NCAA tournament thriller

By Jerry Briggs
Special for The JB Replay

First, Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle credited the Texas Longhorns. He also lauded his own players and then went into a discussion about how difficult it is to understand why certain things happen in a baseball game.

Finally, in remarks made at a news conference following his team’s dramatic NCAA tournament victory Saturday night, he tried to offer some perspective.

“We won a ballgame,” Schlossnagle said. “We didn’t win a championship. I mean, this team, as good a season as we’ve had, we haven’t won any championship. We didn’t win our league. We didn’t win our division. We didn’t win the conference tournament.

“So, we won a ballgame. It’s a big one. Any winners bracket game in a regional is a big one. But, we haven’t won anything yet.”

What Schlossnagle said was true.

At the same time, with a riveting 4-2 victory in 11 innings over the Longhorns, the Aggies took a big step toward their immediate goal of winning the NCAA Bryan-College Station Regional and advancing to the next round.

With the win, they are now one victory away from clinching a date in next week’s Super Regional.

A&M scored twice in the top of the 11th inning and then held on as reliever Evan Aschenbeck closed out the game in the bottom half. Maroon-clad fans at a jam-packed Blue Bell Park erupted in cheers and likely celebrated well into the night.

“There’s nothing like it,” Aschenbeck told an ESPN reporter, commenting on the fan support at A&M home games. “No words can even describe it. It’s awesome … I don’t think we could do it without the 12th Man.”

Kaeden Kent, facing UT reliever Andre Duplantier II, led off the 11th for A&M with a single up the middle. After Gavin Grahovac flied out, Jace LaViolette walked, putting runners at first and second base.

From there, UT coach David Pierce decided to make a change. He pulled Duplantier and replaced him with lefthander Chase Lummus. Braden Montgomery, one of the best hitters in NCAA baseball, faced Lummus first and popped up to the infield. But Lummus, at that stage, started to struggle with his command and walked Jackson Appel to load the bases.

The walk was costly as the next man up, Ted Burton, topped a soft grounder down the third base line. Texas third baseman Peyton Powell waited and waited, hoping it might go foul. But it didn’t, and at the last minute, he misplayed the ball allowing the go-ahead run to score.

Burton was credited with an RBI single. With Hayden Schott at the plate and the bases still loaded, Lummus threw a wild pitch, allowing another run to cross and make it 4-2.

In the bottom half of the 11th, the Longhorns couldn’t get anything going. Powell grounded out. Max Belyeu flied out and Kimble Schuessler ground out against Aschenbeck, who was credited with the win in 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball.

Texas took an early lead when Jared Thomas led off the bottom of the first with a solo homer. Thomas blasted the first pitch from A&M pitcher Ryan Prager over the left field wall. In the fifth, Caden Sorrell answered for the Aggies. In tying the score at 1-1, he hit a one-out, solo homer off UT starter Lebarron Johnson Jr.

In the sixth inning, the Longhorns retaliated when Schuessler made it 2-1 on another solo homer off Prager, this one coming in a dramatic moment with two outs.

After the run scored, fans in the stands fell silent. They stayed that way for a few innings until the Longhorns came unglued defensively in the eighth. Two infield errors led to a run for the Aggies, who tied the score again.

Aschenbeck started to get really tough at that juncture. He retired three straight in both the eighth and the ninth. In the 10th, he faced trouble when Will Gasparino led off with a walk and was sacrifice bunted to second.

Thomas grounded to the right side to move Gasparino over to third base. But that’s as far as he’d go as Flores, who hit a grand slam in UT’s 12-5 victory over Louisiana on Friday, popped up to end the inning.

In the head-to-head series between the teams, the Aggies have won six of the last seven meetings, including a 10-2 win in the 2022 College World Series, a 9-2 win earlier this season in Austin and now in a postseason game that keeps the Aggies on track to win the regional.

Next season, the Longhorns will join the Aggies in the Southeastern Conference.


Texas 36-23
Texas A&M 46-13


The region’s second-seeded Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns won 12-5 earlier in the day to eliminate the No. 4 seed Grambling State (La.) Tigers from the tournament.

With the win, the Cajuns (41-19) advance in the losers bracket to play Sunday afternoon at 2.

They’ll play against Texas in a matchup of teams that are 1-1 in the regional. The survivor of that game will play a 2-0 Texas A&M squad at 7 p.m.

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