COLLEGE STATION, Texas- Almost one year to the day of hiring head coach Jim Schlossnagle, the No. 5 Texas A&M Aggies defeated the No.12 Louisville Cardinals 4-3 in front of over 6,700 fans at Blue Bell Park on Saturday to become the first team to punch their ticket to the College World Series. The Aggies rode timely hitting and clutch pitching to two one run victories. The Aggies who were predicted to finish last in the SEC preaseason, became the first team to punch their ticket to the 2022 College World Series
Saturday afternoon’s game started similar to the Friday night game. Louisville jumped out to an early two run lead in the bottom of the first inning, when Dalton Rushing sent a ball deep over the right field bleachers to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. After that, Aggie starter Micah Dallas would settle down and the score would remain 2-0 until the top of the third inning. In the top of the third inning, the Aggies, playing as the visitors, were able to tie the game at two after a bases loade walk by Dylan Rock, and an Austin Bost sacrifice fly.
The game would remain tied until the bottom of the fifth inning when Lousiville would go back ahead on a Jack Payton RBI single. This would spell the end of the day for Aggie starter Micah Dallas as he would leave after 4.2 innings. Dallas’ final line on the day would be 8 hits, 3 earned runs and 4 strikeouts. This definitely was not one of his best starts of the year but he did enough to keep the Louisville bats at bay. Schlossnagle would turn to Will Johnston out of the pen to get the final out of the fifth inning.
The Aggie bats picked up their starter in the top half of the sixth inning when Ryan Targac continued his personal war against baseballs with an absolute moon ball into Aggie Alley over the left center field wall to tie the game at three. All year long it seems like Ryan Targac has come up in huge moments for the Aggies. Saturday afternoon was no different. As he rounded second base he pointed out to Aggie Alley. This re-energized Blue Bell Park and the party was just begginning.
After a scorless bottom half of the sixth inning, Dylan Rock came up in the top of the 7th inning and would drive in the game winning run on a sacrifice fly scoring Trevor Werner. With the Aggies up 4-3 entering the bottom of the seventh inning the Aggie faithful could start to taste it. The Cardinals however would not make it easy on the Aggies as they got the lead off man on the seventh inning. After getting one out, Coach Schloss would lift Johston for true freshman Brad Rudis. Rudis would come in and slam the door on any chance Lousiville had after getting a flyout and a strikeout to end the seventh.
The score would remain 4-3 going into the bottom half of the ninth inning. Louisville would again get the lead runner on, and after Rudis had thrown about 10 pitches to Lousiville batter Ben Metzinger, Coach Schloss decided to make a pitching change mid at bat and bring in Jacob Palisch. Palisch would get a one pitch strike out. After getting a flyout, Palisch got Jack Payton swinging on a ball in the dirt, Troy Claunch would throw to first to complete the strikeout and the Aggies flooded out of the dugout to celebrate their first trip to Omaha since 2017.
The Aggies will now look forward to their first game of the World Series against Oklahoma. The Sooners upset No. 4 ranked Virginia Tech in Blacksburg to punch their ticket. The Aggies will look to win their first game in Omaha since 1999 when they take on the Sooners in game one. The No. 5 Aggies will enter Omaha as the highest ranked team on their side of the bracket as No. 1 Tennessee also fell to Notre Dame in the Knoxville Super Regional. The only ticket left to punched on the Aggies side of the bracket is between No. 8 East Carolina and No. 9 Texas.