The Oklahoma Sooners beat the Texas A&M Aggies, 13-8, in an opening-round game of the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., on Friday. Here are three thoughts on the game.
I mean, that start by OU …
Texas A&M is one of the best teams in college baseball and is coached by Jim Schlossnagle, who led TCU to the College World Series a couple of times. He’s a ‘been-there-and-done-that’ type of coach. One would assume he would have the Aggies ready for the Sooners, right?
Spotting your opponent eight runs in two at-bats is not the kind of start you’re hoping for. The Sooners brought home John Spikerman on a Blake Robertson single in the top of the first. Aggies starting pitcher Nathan Dettmer probably felt pretty good about that escape.
That feeling was short-lived. Dettmer couldn’t get out of the second inning after the Sooners nickeled-and-dimed him, leading up to Jimmy Crooks’ three-run home run to give the Sooners an 8-0 lead.
That should be enough cushion to get a win, right? Even in college baseball?
Not necessarily …
Texas A&M’s offense needed some time to get things going against Oklahoma’s pitching, even as the Sooners extended their lead. The Aggies’ Jordan Thompson hit a three-run homer in the second inning to cut OU’s lead to 8-3. Austin Bost hit a solo shot in the fourth, but by then the Sooners had put four more runs on the board, and it was a 12-4 lead. That was because Oklahoma’s Jackson Nicklaus hit a grand slam.
But, in the seventh, the Sooners pulled starter Jake Bennett — who gave up just five hits and struck out three — and the Aggies torched the Sooners’ first reliever, David Sandlin.
This time, no ‘fireworks.’ Just station-to-station baseball. Kole Kaler’s single to center scored a run. Trevor Werner’s single to right scored a run. Jack Moss’ single to center scored a run. Dylan Rock’s groundout scored a run. The Aggies posted four runs to cut the lead to 12-8 and get them within striking distance.
But that was it
After the seventh, the Sooners found a way to hold off the Aggies and claim the win. Relief pitcher Trevin Michael stuck around after putting out the fire in the bottom of the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to shut the Aggies down.
Meanwhile the Sooners added an insurance run in the top of the ninth when Sebastian Orduno scored on Spikerman’s RBI single.
For the Sooners, Tanner Tredaway went 3-for-6 with an RBI. Nicklaus drove in four runs, while Crooks and Robertson each drove in three runs. Bennett ended up taking the victory.
Both teams get a day off, but they’re in much different situations now. Oklahoma has a much more manageable path, at least for now, in the double-elimination bracket, as it prepares to face either Notre Dame or Texas in the next round at 6 p.m. Sunday. Texas A&M now faces a must-win game on Sunday at 1 p.m. against the Notre Dame-Texas loser.
Matthew Postins can be found on Twitter @PostinsPostcard