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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M infielder Kaeden Kent (3) celebrates a home run during Texas A&M’s game against Tennessee at the NCAA Men’s College World Series finals at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, June 22, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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The Aggies are Omaha bound

Kaeden Kent, the next man up, brings the Aggies to Omaha
Photo by CJ Smith
The Aggies react after punching their ticket to the College World Series after NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)

Coming off a 10-6 comeback victory on Saturday against Oregon, A&M baseball continued to play underdog Sunday, June 9th, as a late grand slam by Austin native sophomore 2B Kaeden Kent propelled the Aggies into Omaha, despite trailing for seven innings.

After Braden Montgomery went down Saturday night after sliding into home and injuring his right ankle, A&M turned to last year’s reliable freshman starter, now a sophomore, Kent. 

The Aggies struck first off a pair of singles to center field from graduate DH Hayden Schott and leadoff hitter senior C Jackson Appel after he stole a base. 

The Ducks returned the favor with their own leadoff single to center field before sophomore RF Mason Neville was caught in a game of cat and mouse with the Maroon and White defenders after attempting to steal second, ultimately getting tagged out.

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao’s start on the mound was cut short after giving up a single and a two run RBI home run by sophomore C Chase Meggers which brought the score up to 2-1. 

What happened next at Blue Bell Park, nobody could have predicted. 

After subbing in junior RHP Brad Rudis, two more solo home run shots came off the bats of sophomore 2B Drew Smith and redshirt sophomore LF Anson Aroz before the Aggie defense could bring Oregon to a stop. 

After failing to show any progress on offense in the top of the second after freshman LF Caden Sorrell’s foul to left field was caught out by Aroz on the left field fence, Oregon continued to take the momentum going into the bottom of the frame with two singles to the outfield by senior CF Bryce Boettcher and Neville. 

Despite another pitching change, this time bringing in junior RHP Tanner Jones, Oregon managed to punch in one more run with Boettcher stealing home. 

The top of the third brought the Aggies one run closer to the Ducks after senior CF Travis Chestnut was walked and then made his way around the bases, stealing second and advancing to third off a wild pitch. 

Finally, sophomore RF Jace LaViolette managed to knock Chestnut home with an RBI single to center field, cutting into Oregon’s now 5-2 lead. 

Continuing their dominance in the batters box, the Ducks managed to hit another three singles, scoring off one and earning another run off an error by freshman 3B Gavin Grahovac, now leading A&M 7-2. 

Starting off with a single to right field by Schott, the Aggies rallied in the top of the fourth bringing in two runs off of a single RBI to center field by junior SS Ali Camarillo, and a groundout RBI by Kent.

More troubles in the bullpen plagued the Aggies in the bottom of the fourth after senior RHP  Brock Peery switched with Jones. 

After walking three batters in a row, Peery appeared more comfortable on the mound striking out Smith. Aroz then grounded out into a double play made by Camarillo and senior 1B Ted Burton allowing the Aggies to get out of the inning unscathed despite the dangerous bases loaded situation. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Neville hit his third single of the night, this time to center field before he advanced to second off a wild pitch. Sophomore DH Dominic Hellman put Neville through to home with an RBI single to left-center field, Oregon leading 8-4. 

A&M looked for a late game comeback in the top of the seventh as Camarillo, Appel and LaViolette all were walked while Kent singled to right field.

In a wild turn of events, Olsen Field erupted in excitement as Oregon senior RHP Brock Moore walked in three more baserunners as the bases were loaded, tying the game at 8.

The string of walks forced the Ducks to switch out Moore for junior RHP Jaxon Jordan, who continued his predecessor’s trend by walking in another Aggie batter. 

Then, Kent brought the electricity to Olsen once again with his second career grand slam, bringing the Aggies into the promised land with the four-run bomb over the fence, leading Oregon 13-8, the first time since the start of the game. 

The Maroon and White was not done with the Ducks pitchers; in the top of the 8th Grahovac hit a single to right field before Schott homered to left field, knocking in two more runs. 

Oregon attempted a last chance comeback in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run to left field, pushing the score to 15-9. 

For the eighth time in program history, A&M is headed to Omaha for the Men’s College World Series, looking to secure the team’s first championship.

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