HomeSportsMen's College World Series Final: Texas A&M crushes Tennessee in Game 1

Men’s College World Series Final: Texas A&M crushes Tennessee in Game 1

Texas A&M is one win away from winning its first NCAA baseball championship after defeating Tennessee 9-5 in Game 1 of the 2024 College World Series Finals on Saturday night. The two teams will play again on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 PM ET, with the Volunteers eliminating.

The Aggies quickly knocked the Vols back on their heels with a leadoff home run from third baseman Gavin Grahovac. Another run was added on an RBI single by Caden Sorrell to build a 2–0 lead in the first inning.

However, a five-run third inning effectively put Texas A&M out of the game. A throwing error by Vols third baseman Billy Amick allowed one run to score, then two more runs came in on a single by second baseman Kaeden Kent.

The Aggies probably could have scored more if they hadn’t tried a squeeze bunt with runners on first and third base, but Jackson Appel was thrown away at home for the first out of the inning. However, that soon no longer mattered, as another four points were scored.

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Tennessee led the nation in home runs and finally flexed its muscles in the seventh with back-to-back home runs from Dylan Dreiling and Hunter Ensley to cut A&M’s lead to 9-5, but the deficit was ultimately too big to overcome .

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Texas A&M likely would have added a run in the fourth if not for an excellent catch from Tennessee’s Kavares Tears, who dove for the ball on the warning track in left-center field. That ended the inning and stranded Schott on second base

Starting pitcher Ryan Prager was the beneficiary of that early offense. He allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings, but also struck out six Vols batters. The second-year left-hander has been Texas A&M’s top starter this season, posting an 8-1 record and a 3.10 ERA in 17 starts, with 114 strikeouts in 87 innings entering Saturday’s game.

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On the other hand, Tennessee’s AJ Causey was battered after taking over for opener Chris Stamos. In 3 2/3 innings, the junior right-hander gave up five runs (four earned) and six hits, doing the major damage in that crucial third inning. On the season, Causey led the Vols with 109 strikeouts in 81 1/3 innings.

Kent (son of former National League MVP Jeff Kent) went 3-for-4 with four RBI. The sophomore’s two-run homer in the seventh inning ended any chance the Vols might have harbored of a comeback, lifting A&M’s to 9-2. Kent hit .284 with an .805 OPS and two home runs on the season.

Aggies closer Evan Aschenbeck filled that role assertively, striking out seven of the ten batters he faced in 2 2/3 innings. But after throwing 46 pitches, he likely won’t be available for Sunday’s game.

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