Story Poster
Texas A&M
Tennessee
Texas A&M Baseball

On the precipice: Kent's superhuman surge leads A&M to Game 1 win

June 23, 2024
11,599

Press conference video courtesy of the NCAA

Game #66: #3 Texas A&M 9, #1 Tennessee 5
Records: Texas A&M (53-13, 19-11), Tennessee (58-13, 22-8)
WP: Josh Stewart (2-2)
LP: Chris Stamos (3-1)
Box Score


OMAHA, Neb. — His name isn’t Clark, but Kaeden Kent has been superhuman.

In Texas A&M's 9-5 victory over Tennessee on Saturday, the Aggie second baseman continued his torrid postseason in front of 26,498 at Charles Schwab Field Omaha.

A&M is now one win away from a national championship.

Kent finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs in Game 1, including a two-run bomb in the seventh.

"I think it's attributed to the support that I get and the people that believe in me," Kent said of his success. "Like my parents or my brother. I can look to the stands, and they can pound their chest like, 'You got this.'"

One of those parents is the 2000 National League MVP.

Kaeden is on his way to being A&M's postseason MVP.

"Rounding the bases, I was able to take it in. The bullpen was going crazy. The fans were so loud. These fans are amazing. I love playing in front of these fans.
- A&M second baseman Kaeden Kent

Since coming in for Braden Montgomery on June 8, the sophomore is 12-for-25 (.480) with 14 RBIs as the living embodiment of A&M's "next-man-up" mantra.

Kent's first two-run swing, a single, came during a five-run third. His second swelled A&M's lead to 9-2.

"It was a 2-2 slider," he said. "He hung the slider. I was able to get it.

"Rounding the bases, I was able to take it in. The bullpen was going crazy. The fans were so loud. These fans are amazing. I love playing in front of these fans."

Kent’s incredible postseason emergence is a large part of why A&M has gone from emergency to on the cusp of completing a prophecy.

Another has been the guts of ace Ryan Prager, who offered four innings on short rest.

The left-hander battled his way through the outing, allowing just two runs and departing with A&M up 7-2 in the fifth.

"I felt good," Prager said. "They're a good team. To be able to go out and compete and give it your all, you can live with the success and failure. I felt like we went out and didn't leave anything on the table."

Behind him, Josh Stewart escaped a jam and tossed two scoreless frames to get A&M into the seventh.

A pair of Volunteer home runs from Dylan Dreiling and Hunter Ensley off Stewart and Brad Rudis, respectively, trimmed A&M's advantage to 9-5, but then Jim Schlossnagle's biggest weapon entered to exhaust the flames.

"I don't take him for granted," the Aggie skipper said of Evan Aschenbeck. "I've had some great relievers in the past, and he's right up there with all of them.

"I always measure a pitcher by what's my heart rate like when he pitches. My heart rate is not good during most games, but when he pitches, it's way better."

The National Stopper of the Year turned out to be the Volunteers’ kryptonite as Aschenbeck worked the final 2.2 innings to put A&M on the precipice.

Needing 46 pitches, the Brenham Bell Cow fanned seven of the 10 men he faced.

"It's just something I've been doing all year, just kind of try to give my team the best chance to win," Aschenbeck said. "That's what pitchers are there for.

"Mindset was just to win. Do anything that I can to help this team win."

Jamie Maury
Aschenbeck slammed the door shut, racking up seven Ks on 10 batters faced.

As Schlossnagle so often says, the ballgame hinged on pitching, defense and timely hitting.

On Saturday, the shorthanded Aggies won in all three phases.

"I thought we did really well," Schlossnagle said. "We strung together some singles through the infield against a good pitcher in (AJ) Causey. I think we had some luck, too, which is part of the game."

A&M's four pitchers racked up 17 strikeouts, while Tony Vitello ran through six arms.

Opener Chris Stamos lasted just four batters. Star relievers Causey and Kirby Connell were largely ineffective.

"You held maybe the best lineup in the country to five runs with the wind blowing out in such an awesome setting," Schlossnagle said. "I thought we caught the baseball well.”

A&M played clean defensively, while Tennessee committed three errors that led to a pair of unearned runs.

With men in scoring position, the Aggies were 5-for-15, while the Vols were 2-for-13 and stranded 10.

Perhaps the biggest shock was that A&M held All-American Christian Moore hitless. He went 0-for-5.

"Max (Weiner) has done such an unbelievable job with our pitching staff in getting them to believe in throwing the ball in the strike zone," Schlossnagle said. "Especially against Tennessee, there's going to be some damage, but you've got to limit damage by not giving up free bases."

A&M led from the fourth pitch of the night on as Gavin Grahovac's opposite-field shot landed in the right-field bleachers to kickstart a two-run first.

After Tennessee got its first run in the second, A&M exploded for five and never looked back.

"It's awesome," Prager said of the early run support. "It doesn't change what we do, but it gives you a sense of you can for sure stay locked in the zone. You don't have to become perfect."

The underdogs improved to 9-0 in the NCAA Tournament.

A tenth would clinch their first title.

"We'll get on the bus. I'll congratulate them on the win," Schlossnagle said. "They know it's one game. We all know what's at stake. There's no Lombardi speech.

"If you start thinking about things other than that, Tennessee is going to blow you out of this ballpark. We're facing a great team, and we're facing a great pitcher (Drew Beam) tomorrow."

The title bout continues Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.

Discussion from...

On the precipice: Kent's superhuman surge leads A&M to Game 1 win

8,043 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 21 days ago by BadMoonRisin
Agdad081216
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Let's go AGGIES!!!!!
Just an old dad who raise 3 Ags. Inherited 2 more. GIG’EM
you moran
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Agdad081216 said:

Let's go AGGIES!!!!!
SchizoAg
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
you moran said:

Agdad081216 said:

Let's go AGGIES!!!!!

HarryRocket
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Bringing it until the last out baby. Can't stop. Won't stop. BTHOut
LAAG
How long do you want to ignore this user?
lagoag
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Come on Ags, you got this. Bring home the CWS trophy. Whooop
AggieRain
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Extram
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Texas A&M won 9-5 against the odds. We had better pitching, we had better hitting, we had better fielding and we had better base running. Yet for some reason the media is surprised we won. We crushed it!
Noctilucent
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Extram said:

Texas A&M won 9-5 against the odds. We had better pitching, we had better hitting, we had better fielding and we had better base running. Yet for some reason the media is surprised we won. We crushed it!
Until we win one (championship) the media will continue to do the same. Don't let them ruin what happened in this game. Way to go, Ags! Whoop!
KT 90
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Lets do this!
BadMoonRisin
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
SuperhumanFish
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.