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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 outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Headed to Omaha: Epic comeback sends Texas A&M over Davidson, 12-6

Juniors+Corbin+Martin+and+Baine+Schoenvogel+race+out+of+the+dugout+to+celebrate+with+pitcher+Kaylor+Chafin+after+the+final+out+of+the+game.
Photo by By Alex Miller

Juniors Corbin Martin and Baine Schoenvogel race out of the dugout to celebrate with pitcher Kaylor Chafin after the final out of the game.

No matter how talented a team is, it usually takes a touch of good fortune to advance all the way to the College World Series.
Texas A&M’s one break on Saturday came in the form of a two-out missed infield pop fly by Davidson, resulting in two Aggie runs and prolonging an eighth inning in which they scored seven runs. Kaylor Chafin retired all six batters he faced to close out the 12-6 victory and send the Aggies to their first College World Series since 2011.
“Surreal moment right now, I don’t really know what to say,” right fielder Blake Kopetsky said after the game. “All that I can do right now is just enjoy every second of it with my brothers.”
The game’s deciding play came in the eighth when, with the bases loaded, two outs and the Aggies (41-21) trailing 6-5, pinch hitter Jorge Gutierrez lifted an infield popup a few feet behind the pitcher’s mound that looked like it would end the inning.
However, some miscommunication between Davidson second baseman Alec Acosta and third baseman Eric Jones caused them to collide into each other, jarring the ball out of Acosta’s glove and allowing two A&M runs to score.
“That was a tough play,” Davidson head coach Dick Cooke said. “It was loud, a bunch of guys talking over themselves. It was a very unfortunate play.”
“As soon as the ball went up, I kind of let out a sigh. I was like ‘Oh man,’’” added center fielder Nick Choruby, who was on deck at the time. “Then, I heard the crowd get so loud. I was watching the play and was like, ‘Oh, God.’ Then they all came together. I thought he caught it, and then he didn’t. I was going nuts.”
Moments later, Choruby hit his second single of the inning to score two and stretch the lead to three runs, giving the A&M bullpen some much-appreciated breathing room.
After Chafin tossed a perfect eighth, Walker Pennington put a beautiful layer of icing on the cake with a moonshot three-run blast that put the Aggies up 12-6.
“I got all of it, and I didn’t look at it the whole way around the bases,” Pennington said. “It felt great, the crowd was really loud and you kind of don’t remember what happens you’re so caught up in the moment.”
The Aggies, designated the away team, drew first blood in the top of the third as George Janca and Logan Foster blasted changeups that Davidson starter Evan Roberts left up in the zone over the left field wall for solo home runs.
The lead didn’t last long, though, as the Wildcats (35-26) scored six unanswered runs. Jones tied it in the third with a two-run double that Kopetsky misjudged off the bat in right field, and then they touched up A&M starter Corbin Martin for three more runs in the fifth. With Martin’s pitch count nearly reaching 100 on a hot evening, four of Davidson’s first five hitters in the inning recorded hits, including doubles by Will Robertson and Jones.
John Doxakis relieved Martin with two outs in the fifth and promptly struck out Jake Sidwell with a runner on third to end the inning.
A solo home run by Brett Centracchio added another run to the Davidson lead, but the Aggie offense finally came alive in the eighth. Choruby started the rally with a single and, after Braden Shewmake reached on an error, Hunter Coleman smashed a payoff pitch from Roberts off the top of the wall in left-center field for an RBI double.
Coleman’s hit chased Roberts from the game, but the Aggies had even more success off reliever Austin Leonard. He walked the first batter he faced to load the bases with one out and then Kopetsky drove home two with a single up the middle to cut the deficit to one run.
Later in the inning, Janca worked a two-out walk to load the bases and set the stage for Gutierrez’ run-scoring popup.
In the bottom of the ninth, when Janca’s throw across the diamond settled into Coleman’s glove at first base for the final out, bedlam ensued at Olsen Field. The Aggies dogpiled with pure elation in the middle of the infield, vanquishing the demons of Super Regional losses in each of the past two seasons.
“To sit there and enjoy that moment, with the smiles on their faces,” Childress said, “that’s why we do what we do.”
Said Pennington: “I can’t stop smiling. I know we all know how hard this season has been. We’ve had a lot of adversity, we had a lot of adversity this game, so I think this game kind of summed up our whole season. It’s never been easy, but we found a way to win.”
The College World Series will get underway Saturday afternoon. The NCAA will release the schedule when the other Super Regionals conclude.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Choruby said. “This is what I’ve been dreaming about my whole life — to go to Omaha — and now we have a chance to go and compete for the national championship. I’m so excited.”

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  • Mitchell Kilkenny dunks A&M head coach Rob Childress and Joel Davis with a bucket of Powerade in celebration.

  • Braden Shewmake points to the crowd after the game.

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