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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 pitcher Chris Cortez (10) reacts during Texas A&M’s game against Oregon at the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Saturday, June 8, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
One step away
June 8, 2024

Olsen Field Magic

Photo by Photo by Robert O’Brien

A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle speaks with family in the crowd after winning the College Station regional at Olsen Field on Monday, June 6, 2022.

Why pay for your whole seat when you only need the edge?

Although the Olsen magic was delayed, it came at the perfect time. Despite the Horned Frogs’ pressing efforts, A&M buckled up for the rollercoaster and took care of business, relentlessly defeating TCU 15-9 on Sunday night-into-Monday morning’s regional thriller.

All it took were the beams of the lights on Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park to wake up A&M’s bats, and Olsen Field’s magic touch sparked the wild ride, placing the Aggies one step closer to Omaha, Neb. for the College World Series.

On June 9, 2021, A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle left his then-Fort Worth baseball team to take over the realms of A&M — a team that did not even make the SEC Tournament during the 2021 season. 361 days later, Schlossnagle looked across Olsen Field, into the dugout of TCU, to see players that he recruited, mentored and led to appear in the NCAA Regionals around this time last year.

Now, he is taking the Aggies to a super regional.
Although Schlossnagle sported the purple and white for 18 years, he did not hesitate to smile as senior left fielder Dylan Rock hammered his 18th moonshot of the season over the wall to empty the bases and send Blue Bell Park into a frenzy in the seventh inning. However, the Horned Frogs were not done fighting, as the late inning shootout put A&M fans on the edge of their seats.

“As much as you can, you have to stay as level as possible,” Rock said. “As soon as your emotions start to roll, it’s hard to get back under control. I didn’t think it was over. I knew there was a lot of baseball still to be played.”

After TCU’s senior shortstop Tommy Sacco’s two-run homer in the eighth, the Aggies trailed 8-7, wishing for some magic dust to caffeinate A&M’s bats. Yet, A&M did not wish for long. The Aggies came out swinging, compiling five runs in the ninth inning for the perfect cherry on top.

The 12th Man disregarded their Sunday bedtime to stay at the ballpark until the morning on Monday, with a total of 6,525 fans for a game that lasted five hours.

Freshman lefty Ryan Prager started his night by getting ahead on counts early and finished his time on the mound after 2.1 innings, recording three Ks and allowing four hits. Freshman righty Cortez stepped in after, throwing heat, with his first and second pitches touching 97 and 98 miles per hour. Junior lefty Joseph Menefee, sophomore lefty Will Johnston and freshman righty Brad Rudis combined for 3 innings allowing five hits.

Texas A&M’s previous fielding issues extended throughout the postseason, as the Aggies’ total errors in the College Station Regional amped up to nine, recording three during Sunday’s nightcap.

TCU junior lefty Austin Krob gave A&M batters a hard time throughout 5.1 innings. Krob limited A&M’s high scoring offense, only giving up three hits, no runs and threw eight strikeouts. Once Krob was pulled, the Aggies came alive. 

All of A&M’s runs were scored in the final four innings, saving the maroon and white. Despite a slow start in early innings, the Aggies maintained their cool as they have done all season.

“We’ve been in that situation the whole year,” sophomore first baseman Jack Moss said. “Nothing changes.”

Moss was voted Most Valuable Player of the College Station Regional due to his .642 batting average on the weekend. Rock, sophomore second baseman Ryan Targac, junior right fielder Brett Minnich, junior designated hitter Austin Bost and junior righty Micah Dallas also joined their teammate on the College Station Regional All-Tournament Team.

Not only did the nail biter combine for 24 hits, the matchup hit a little too close to home for coach Schlossnagle.

“This is a tough one for me,” Schlossnagle said. “I tell my players at Texas A&M I love them as much as my children. 90% of the guys on [the] TCU team I love just as much. This time last year we were in the same battle. I’m excited we won, but I’m way more excited to move on.”
After Schlossnagle’s departure, TCU promoted Kirk Saarloos as the new head coach, who was formerly TCU’s recruiting coordinator. Saarloos led the Horned Frogs to claim the 2022 Big 12 regular season championship and was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year. 
“It was a really good baseball game,” Saarloss said. “Obviously, it didn’t go our way, but you have to give a ton of credit to Jim [Schlossnagle] and his ball club. That’s what they’ve done all year.”

The Aggies advanced and will host the super regional in College Station against the winner of Michigan and Louisville next weekend, starting on Friday, June 10 in a best-of-three series format. The Aggies’ last super regional appearance was in 2017.

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