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Texas A&M Baseball

'Grateful' Ryan Prager spins gem in return to Charles Schwab Field

June 17, 2024
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Press conference video courtesy of the NCAA.

Game #64: #3 Texas A&M 5, #2 Kentucky 1
Records: Texas A&M (51-13, 19-11), Kentucky (46-15, 22-8)
WP: Ryan Prager (9-1)
LP: Mason Moore (9-4)
Box Score


OMAHA, Neb. — In 2022, freshman Ryan Prager started Texas A&M's final game of a historic campaign at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

Tommy John surgery cost him his entire sophomore campaign.

But 726 days since that loss to Oklahoma, Prager returned to the center of the college baseball universe.

And for 6.2 no-hit, scoreless innings, he commanded it.

"Just super grateful to be back," Prager said postgame. "Last time we were here, it left a little bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

"To be able to come back out with this group of guys and do what we did, I think it's a testament to what this team is."

The biggest of performances in A&M's biggest game propelled A&M to a 5-1 victory over Kentucky on Wednesday night.

“To be able to come back out with this group of guys and do what we did, I think it's a testament to what this team is.”
- A&M left-hander Ryan Prager

For the first time ever, the Aggies are 2-0 in the Men's College World Series and sit one win away from a best-of-three championship series.

On Monday, "The Big Jew" played a big part in getting them there.

"If we have a chance to win this thing, he's going to have to pitch again and on much shorter rest," A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "He did a great job. We played good defense behind him. Anytime the wind is blowing the way it was, it gives every pitcher more confidence to throw the ball in the strike zone."

As he so often does, A&M's ace ducked and darted Kentucky bats with a low-90s heater and multiple different breaking balls to compliment a change of pace.

Prager breezed through his first six frames while striking out six and allowing just two hits.

The first of two jams he encountered was in the second after an error and a HBP. He then retired a string of 13 straight Wildcats.

He would not finish the second after back-to-back two-out hits wrecked his no-hit bid in the seventh.

"I didn't say a word to Prager," Hayden Schott laughed. "You think I'm going to be that guy who goes over and says something? No way. No way."

Yet, righty Josh Stewart struck out pinch-hitter Patrick Herrera to keep Prager's line sterling.

Stewart ultimately provided the final 2.1 innings, with the lone blemish being a Ryan Nicholson solo shot in the ninth.

"The first two games we've been here, it's been about how we drew it up," Schlossnagle said. "I was glad to see him get a little bit of a cushion.

"If a guy gets the chance to throw a no-hitter in the College World Series, I'm not going to take the ball from him... Maybe he'll do it again."

But Prager needed run support.

Needing just one, he got a handful.

Jamie Maury
Hayden Schott went 3-for-5 in A&M’s second MCWS game. 

A&M's only offense came in a five-run sixth as Prager outlasted Kentucky starter Mason Moore.

The Wildcat righty walked Jace LaViolette to begin the rally, who pulled up lame at third on a subsequent Jackson Appel double.

Schott's two-run single opened the scoring as Ali Camarillo doubled in another. Kaeden Kent's two-run single finished the scoring.

Yet, the concern focused on LaViolette's left leg led to his lifting in the bottom half of the inning to put an All-American-sized damper on an otherwise wonderful evening.

"We'll see. He tweaked his hamstring a little bit," Schlossnagle said. "Thankfully, we don't play tomorrow, so we have a little bit less than 48 hours to see if we can get him functional to do something on the field.

"Hopefully, we'll make a good story."

While concern about LaViolette's injury will be paid in the coming hours, Monday was Prager's moment.

One that his parents — Howard and Cori — won't soon forget.

"Ryan could do good on the field. He could do good off the field. No matter what he does, I am so proud of him," Cori said. "Today was just super special because he has worked his whole life for moments like this."

Beyond his Omaha redemption, Ryan also erased the sting of a five-out start in last week's super regional.

His father — a former minor leaguer himself — summed it up in one word, unknowingly echoing his son.

"Ryan uses the word 'grateful' a lot," Howard said. "I have come to realize ‘grateful’ is exactly what we are for him to be in the position that he has put himself into, having a year off and understanding what it's going to take to go to the next level."

A professional future certainly awaits.

But on Monday, Ryan Prager reached Aggie immortality.

And Aggies everywhere are certainly grateful he did.

Discussion from...

'Grateful' Ryan Prager spins gem in return to Charles Schwab Field

11,935 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 29 days ago by Papa Joe
The Marksman
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AG
That's our ace
AggieRain
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An L of an Ag
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citizenkane06
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Papa Joe
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AG
Prager was awesome!
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