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Texas A&M Baseball

Texas A&M rides rollercoaster in up-and-down 10-6 win over Oregon

June 8, 2024

Game #61: #3 Texas A&M 10, Oregon 6
Records: Texas A&M (48-13, 19-11), Oregon (40-19, 19-11)
WP: Chris Cortez (9-3)
LP: RJ Gordon (7-6)
Save: Evan Aschenbeck (8)
Box Score

Like a rollercoaster, Saturday's super regional opener had multiple stomach-dropping twists.

Yet, the Texas A&M offense ensured those ups and downs flattened out as the Aggies ultimately coasted to a 10-6 victory in front of 7,835 at Blue Bell Park.

"I'm not sure I've ever been more proud of a team," A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said postgame. "This is the third time it has happened to me in my career where, right at the tail end of a season or in the postseason, we've lost one of our best players.

"The emotions of that, I think a lot of teams fold. ... Super proud of our club. All we've done is win a game. It's nothing more than that, so we've got to be ready to go tomorrow."

Ultimately, A&M ripped off seven unanswered runs to turn a 6-3 deficit in the second into a somewhat uncomfortable four-run win.

Anson Aroz's first-inning two-run shot and a play at the plate that saw Braden Montgomery injure his right leg seemingly left the 12th Man plummeting.

"It wasn't even a collision on the slide. I think he made a step to slide head-first," Schlossnagle said. "I don't think the send or no-send had anything to do with it.

"I'm not sure I've ever been more proud of a team. This is the third time it has happened to me in my career where, right at the tail end of a season or in the postseason, we've lost one of our best players.”
- A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle

"The only person that feels worse than Braden is Nolan (Cain) right now. I'm sure he wishes something different happened. That has nothing to do with it. All the second-guessers, just don't even show up tomorrow. Don't even come to the freaking game."

After Oregon's four-run second, the momentum turned.

"I didn't think the environment got to anybody," Oregon head coach Mark Wasikowski said. "I thought (Chris) Cortez got to a lot of guys. He was really good.

"The environment didn't hurt us one bit. We showed up ready to play."

In his shortest start of the year, Ryan Prager allowed six runs while recording just five outs.

From there, Cortez displayed his brilliance once more.

Perhaps the only thing hotter than the June heat was the flamethrower's sizzling high-90s heater coupled with a disgusting slider.

Across 5.2 scoreless innings, the fireballer allowed just two hits while racking up a career-high 10 strikeouts.

"I don't try to come in and pitch to the scoreboard. My job is to get outs," Cortez said. "Prager has been awesome all year, and it was just an opportunity for me to go pick him up.

Saturday’s game marked the first meeting between both squads. Texas A&M is now 13-12 all-time in super regional matchups.

"I knew if I put up zeroes, the offense was going to score some runs. That's my job. Just go out there and put up zeroes."

Behind him, the ever-reliable Evan Aschenbeck did what he does best.

In picking up his eighth save of the campaign, the Stopper of the Year finalist retired all five Ducks he faced to nail down the all-important victory.

In holding Oregon down after the second, the fun part of the ride began.

"There is no panic button from the offense," catcher Jackson Appel said. "We've done it before. We had Georgia, down 9-0 or something in the first inning earlier in the year. I think we run-ruled them.

A&M taxed starter RJ Gordon and chased him after scoring seven off him in 3.1 innings.

The Aggies bullied reliever Ryan Featherston, plating three without the benefit of a base hit in 0.2 innings of work.

While Logan Mercado held A&M scoreless for 3.2 in relief, the Ducks' top reliever threw 62 pitches while chasing four runs, putting his status for Sunday's Game 2 in question.

"Not hitting the panic button," Appel said. "Saying 'Good.' That's why we wear these shirts. Finding a way. We never hit the panic button offensively."

After scoring three in the first, A&M plated one in the third on a Jace LaViolette double and three in both the fourth and fifth to take a stranglehold on Game 1.

Finishing 1-for-3 with a pair of walks, Jace LaViolette has now reached base safely in 19 straight games.

They notched 12 hits and walked nine times.

Leading the offensive charge was Hayden Schott, who finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

As Montgomery's substitution, Kaeden Kent drove in a pair, and Appel also went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, including the game-winner on a fifth-inning groundout.

"It's a tight group of kids. You know someone is going to step up," Appel said. "It was Kent today after B-Mont went down."

All 10 Aggies either registered a hit, reached base or scored a run.

In fact, the only three not to cross home plate were Schott, Ali Camarillo and the injured Montgomery.

Postgame, Schlossnagle said the superstar right fielder is "most likely" lost for the year due to a right leg injury.

"It happened so fast," Aroz said. "I couldn't see it, obviously a tough angle from the outfield. As (Wasikowski) said, it's tough to see a player like that go down. As somebody who has battled a lot of injuries, I feel for him, and I only wish him the best."

Despite another dose of adversity, the Maroon & White sit one win away from the promised land.

A road trip to Omaha would likely be a much more enjoyable ride than the one experienced on Saturday.

The series continues on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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Texas A&M rides rollercoaster in up-and-down 10-6 win over Oregon

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