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Texas A&M baseball makes history with College World Series Final appearance

Omaha, Neb. — Texas A&M’s baseball team is making waves as they head into their first-ever College World Series (CWS) final. The Aggies will face Tennessee on Saturday, aiming for their maiden title in a thrilling matchup between two teams that have never won the series.

Two years ago, the Aggies achieved a milestone by finishing among the top four teams in the CWS for the first time. Now, under the guidance of head coach Jim Schlossnagle, they have progressed even further, reaching the final unbeaten through the tournament’s double-elimination phase.

In an intriguing twist, Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello, a former assistant to Schlossnagle at TCU, will lead the Volunteers against his former mentor. Vitello’s tenure at Tennessee has transformed the team into formidable contenders, making their third CWS appearance since 2021.

Texas A&M’s path to the final has been marked by dominant pitching. Key performances from left-handers Ryan Prager and Justin Lamkin have seen the Aggies through critical games, with Prager’s standout six-inning no-hit performance against Kentucky in the semifinal being particularly noteworthy. Prager, recovering from a Tommy John surgery that sidelined him in 2023, boasts a 2.88 ERA this season with 118 strikeouts over 93 2/3 innings.

As the series approaches, neither team has announced its starters, but it is expected that Prager will start for Texas A&M, while Tennessee’s Chris Stamos, a transfer from the University of California, may take the mound for the Volunteers. Tennessee’s strategy includes saving their top pitchers for the crucial latter stages of the best-of-three series, potentially giving them an edge if the series extends to a third game.

Offensively, the Aggies have had to adapt after losing standout outfielder Braden Montgomery to an injury during the Super Regional. Despite these setbacks, players like Jace LaViolette, who continues to play through a hamstring issue, have stepped up. LaViolette, a first-team Freshman All-American last season, has impressed with 28 home runs this season.

Tennessee, known for their robust and sometimes controversial style under Vitello, enters the series with a reputation as the “bad boys” of college baseball. Vitello, a two-time college baseball coach of the year, is celebrated for his fiery demeanor and successful tenure.

Game 1 of the CWS final is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, broadcast on ESPN, with Game 2 airing on ABS at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Volunteers are the betting favorites, with a -160 money line at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Aggies stand at +124.

As these two storied programs prepare to clash, fans can expect a high-stakes series filled with compelling storylines and top-tier baseball talent.