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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 Ryan Prager (18) dlivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) dlivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/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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Olsen Magic offers bid to Omaha

Mitchell+Kilkenny+dumps+an+ice+bucket+of+Powerade+on+A%26amp%3BM+head+coach+Rob+Childress+and+Joel+Davis+in+celebration+of+the+Super+Regional+win.
Photo by By Alex Miller

Mitchell Kilkenny dumps an ice bucket of Powerade on A&M head coach Rob Childress and Joel Davis in celebration of the Super Regional win.

It was magic – Olsen Magic.
There may not be another way to describe Texas A&M’s 12-6 win over Davidson last Saturday, which punched the Aggies’ ticket to the College World Series.
Down 6-2 in the top of the eighth, the Aggies (41-21) were struggling to find a glimmer of hope. Evan Roberts was in a groove for the Wildcats (35-26), keeping the A&M hitters in check with his fooling fastball that sat in the upper 70s.
Then came a rally.
Maybe it was the pickles in the dugout, or maybe it was destiny, but it took just a little bit of magic.
The Aggies’ angst to avenge the past two years had become too much. This time, it was the maroon and white that would charge the field in celebration of reaching Omaha. It was the way it happened that made it so memorable.
After pulling within 6-5, A&M head coach Rob Childress pinch-hit Jorge Gutierrez for Austin Homan. The bases were loaded. A&M had already scored three runs and the crowd was electric.
Gutierrez, however, did not seem to deliver the anticipated knockout blow, popping up a high infield fly – it appeared the Wildcats would escape the inning maintaining their lead.
“I thought Jorge was going to hit a grand slam. As soon as the ball went up, I kind of let out a sigh. I was like, ‘Oh man,’” center fielder Nick Choruby, who stood on deck, said. “Then, I heard the crowd get so loud and I was watching the play and was like, ‘Oh God.’”
The stands grew louder and the Davidson infielders grew closer before second baseman Alec Acosta collided with third baseman Eric Jones. Acosta appeared to make the catch, falling to the ground, but then did the unthinkable – he dropped the ball.
In a state of confusion, the Aggies were able to bring around Blake Kopetsky and George Janca while the Wildcats’ players stood around a shaken up Acosta, trying to figure out what had happened.
After a review of the play, it was ruled that although Acosta originally caught the ball, the drop meant he did not maintain possession and did not record the out. The two runs were safe and A&M had the lead.
“It was the correct call. You have to have a voluntary release,” Davidson head coach Dick Cooke, who served as chairman of the NCAA Rules Committee in 2012, said. “He, by definition, had control of that ball, and when he opened the glove, it came out… He has to be making the attempt to release that baseball. If a guy catches a baseball, puts his glove to the side and the ball drops out, that’s technically not a catch. So, they applied the rule exactly as it should be. It was a tough play, and it was loud.”
The Aggies did not stop their rally there. Choruby followed the wild sequence with a two-RBI single to right field to add insurance. In the ninth, Walker Pennington added an exclamation point, blasting a three-run bomb over the left field fence.
“I got all of it. I didn’t look at it the whole way around,” Pennington said. “I made eye contact with Coach Carlson right when I hit it and we just smiled at each other.”
Echoes of the a cappella War Hymn rang through the bleachers when the game headed to the bottom of the ninth. When Janca threw the ball across the diamond from third to record the final out, Childress could do nothing but stand at his usual perch in the dugout and soak in the excitement as his team raced out to celebrate with each other.
“That’s why I do it. To sit there and enjoy that moment with the smiles on their faces,” Childress said. “To listen to the locker room right now – that’s why we spend so much time away from our families. I have such a great time with these guys. To see their joy is worth it.”
For the past two years, the Aggies were on the other side of things, standing in the dugout in despair as TCU players tackled each other on the mound after punching their consecutive ticket to the greatest show on dirt.
Pushing through the pain of the past, Childress said the current team wouldn’t be here without the leadership of players before who had suffered through those sorrows before – Barash, Melton, Birk, Boomer, Moss, Banks, Simonds and more.
“They got us to the door and allowed us to taste what it feels like and the pressure of being in a Super Regional,” Childress said. “These seniors led the 27 through the door this year. I couldn’t be more proud of everybody in and out of our program.”
Choruby had been there through it all against the Horned Frogs. He said earlier this week that hopefully this year would be third time’s the charm. Thanks to some Olsen Magic, his dream finally came true.
“This is what I’ve been dreaming of my whole life, to go to Omaha,” Choruby said. “Now we have the chance to go and compete for a national championship. I’m so excited.”

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