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Texas A&M Beats Tennessee in Game One of CWS Championship

 Matt Tallarini - World Baseball Network  |    Jun 23rd, 2024 9:19am EDT

Omaha, Neb. – The Texas A&M University Aggies beat the No. 1 ranked team, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, 9-5 in the first game of the Championship Series of the College World Series in Omaha on Saturday.

“The team that played better won the game. They appeared more prepared. You can either get frustrated that tonight went the way that it did, or you can get more determined,” Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello said during the post-game press conference.  

Texas A&M is aiming for their first National Championship title in their first appearances in the NCS.  

“Great ball game. Certainly, I thought we played really well for the most part. We got a lot of timely hits. Had some good at-bats against some really good pitchers,” Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said during the postgame press conference.  

This is the fifth time that two SEC programs have faced each other in the NCS.  

The Texas A&M offense did not hesitate to get on the scoreboard. Third baseman Gavin Grahovac led off the game by driving an 0-2 fastball over the right-center field wall for a solo home run, his 23rd for the season for the first run of the game off southpaw starting pitcher Chris Stamos.  

Vitello called upon his bullpen early. In the first inning, Stamos gave up a double down the left field line to catcher Jackson Appel and designated hitter Hayden Schott reached on a fielding error from shortstop Dean Curley so Vitello called on relief pitcher A.J. Causey.  

Stamos threw just .1 innings, allowing two hits and one earned run while facing four batters on Saturday night.

A few moments later, Causey gave up an RBI single up the middle into center field, scoring Appel to extend the lead to 2-0.  

In the bottom of the first inning, Aggies starting pitcher Ryan Prager set the side-down in order 1-2-3. 

In the bottom of the second, Tennessee shortstop Dylan Curley rocked an RBI single into center field, scoring Dreiling to cut the lead to 2-1.  

The Aggies put up a cooked number in the top of the third inning, pounding five runs on the Tennessee pitching staff. Starting with Hayden Schott slamming an RBI single up the middle into center field, scoring right fielder Jace LaViolette to make it 3-1.  

A few batters later, Sorrell delivered his second hit of the game with an RBI single to right field, scoring Schott to extend the lead to 4-1.  

Camarillo, as the next batter, reached on a throwing error from Volunteers third baseman Billy Amick, missing Burke at first base, scoring first baseman Ted Burton to make it 5-1.  

Aggies second baseman Kaeden Kent, ripped a two-run single to right-center field shortly after, scoring Sorrell and Kent to punctuate a six-run lead at 7-1.  

The Volunteers got their second run of the game in the bottom of the third inning, with Ensley drilling an RBI single to left field, scoring Burke to make it 7-2.  

Prager was taken out of the game by head coach Jim Schlossnagle in the bottom of the fifth inning after giving a lead-off double to left-center field from Burke.  

Schlossnagle called on relief pitcher Josh Stewart to replace Prager on Wednesday night.  

Prager threw four innings, allowing eight hits, two earned runs, and six strikeouts..   

The Texas A&M offense added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning when Kent drove a two-run home run into the right-field bullpen, his fourth of the season, scoring Camarillo and extending the lead to 9-2.  

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Tennessee cut the lead to four runs, starting with Dreiling hitting a two-run home run over the right field wall, scoring Amick to make it 9-4.  

Ensley, shortly after, rocked a solo home run into the left-field bullpen to cut the deficit to 9-5.  

Texas A&M relief pitcher Evan Aschenbeck came into the bottom of the ninth inning looking to close out the final eight outs of the game and got Volunteers center fielder Kavares Tears to strikeout out swinging and take Game One of the NCS 9-5.  

Aschenbeck threw 2.2 innings, allowing two hits, no earned runs, and struck out seven while facing 10 batters.   

“Just mixing pitches and throwing everything in the strike zone, it’s what I can do. It’s what my strength is, just making sure that I can throw everything for strikes and keep them off balance. That’s what’s been working for me all year,” Aschenbeck said during the post-game press conference.  

Stewart recorded the win in game one and improved his record to 2-2 for the season. Stewart threw 2.1 innings, allowing one hit, two earned runs, three walks, and four strikeouts, while facing 11 batters.  

The Aggies pitching staff struck out 17 Volunteers batters on Saturday.  

“We invest a lot of time, effort and money in mental skills. Mental skills can be practiced just like physical skills can be practiced. The very first thing we do when we take our hitters to the batting cage the first day of the fall is talk about their routine and the ability to handle moments and the ability to play the game pitch to pitch,” Schlossnagle said during the post-game press conference.   

The Volunteers left 10 men on base during their Game One loss.  

Stamos made his 11th start of the season on Saturday night and earned his first loss with his record at 3-1.  

Texas A&M leads the all-time series against Tennessee with their record of 12-10 since they faced each other for the first time in the 2005 season.  

This is the eighth time in the College World Series that both teams from the same conference faced off in the National Championship Series.  

Tennessee last played in the NCS in the 1951 CWS, losing to the University of Oklahoma.  

Texas A&M is now 9-0 in the NCAA tournament. The last team to bring an undefeated postseason record to the CWS Championship Series was UCLA in 2013.

Game 2 of the NCS will be at 2 p.m. EDT on ABC on Sunday, June 23.  

If the NCS goes to a Game 3, the start time will be 7 p.m. EDT on Monday, June 24.  

All of the NCS games are on ESPN family networks.  

Photo Credit: Jace Laviolette #17 of the Texas A&M Aggies celebrates after defeating the Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

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Matt Tallarini - World Baseball Network
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network.