Texas A&M could quite well be talking about their third consecutive College World Series appearance this season, had they not run into TCU in the Super Regionals the past two seasons.
Instead, it took a Super Regional against Davidson for one of the last four teams in the tournament to make their way, finally, to Omaha, and now it looks like the Aggies are ready to make a good push at the final pairing.
Of course, with the way the bracket breaks out, A&M is very clearly the fourth-best team on this side of the bracket, and possibly the eighth-best team in Omaha.
How They Got Here: The Aggies were one of the final four teams to even make the tournament, after a 36-20 regular season record, including a disappointing 16-14 record in the SEC. A loss in the opening round of the SEC tournament to Missouri further darkened A&M’s chances, but the committee admitted them anyway, sending them to Houston as the 3-seed.
There, the Aggies swept their way to the Supers, defeating 2-seed Baylor, then 4-seed Iowa, and finally the host team and No. 15 ranked Houston. It was a rather uneventful regional, all in all, despite the fact that the Aggies tried to blow a four run lead in the 9th inning against Houston.
Then, in a brilliant stroke of luck, Texas A&M was awarded a Super Regional, thanks to chaos taking place in the North Carolina region. The Tar Heels, the No. 2 national seed, dropped game 1 to 4-seed Davidson, while 2-seed Michigan lost to Florida Gulf Coast. North Carolina survived a game against Michigan, and then FGCU to get back to the final, where they again faced off against Davidson. Davidson beat them 2-1, and earned a right to the Supers.
When something like this happens, and a Super Regional host is eliminated early, the NCAA has the ability to determine where the new host site will be, and they selected College Station.
So Davidson traveled to Texas A&M, and the Aggies took care of business in two games, although Davidson did give them a run for their money in game one.
Pitching: A&M has been led on the mound this season by starters Brigham Hill and Stephen Kolek, and relievers Cason Sherrod and Kaylor Chafin. Hill has already won two games this postseason, and he leads the Aggies this season with 107 strikeouts in 96.1 innings. Pitching is the Aggies’ strength, but they aren’t the deepest rotation or bullpen you’ll find.
Offense: True freshman Braden Shewmake is far and away the Aggies best hitter this season, and he leads the team in pretty much every major batting category, including home runs (11), RBI (68), average (.335), and doubles (17). He’s also struck out just 28 times this season, and has stolen a team-leading 11 bases. All in all, Shewmake is the most well rounded hitter the Aggies have. Beyond him, guys like Nick Chrouby, Cole Bedford, and George Janca help bolster the lineup, but the Aggies rank just 130th in the NCAA in team batting average, at .275.
Three to Watch: Brigham Hill, Braden Shewmake, and Nick Chrouby are the Aggies to keep an eye on. They’re the difference makers for Texas A&M, and if they’re clicking, the Aggies are dangerous. Shut down Shewmake and Choruby, though, and A&M’s lineup becomes rather docile.
Prediction: The Aggies probably shouldn’t have made it to Omaha, but thanks to that Super Regional pairing, here they are. I have a hard time seeing them find much success, though. I think they are knocked out in two games, first to Louisville, and then to Florida.