Aggies end Texas baseball’s season with 10-2 drubbing in College World Series

Jordan Mitchell, Sports Reporter

For the first time in Texas baseball’s 119-year-old rivalry with Texas A&M, the two schools met in the College World Series on Sunday.

With the Longhorns and Aggies losing their opening games, both faced elimination. For Texas, regular-season bullpen and offensive struggles showcased themselves at the worst time. In the 10-2 loss to the Aggies, relief pitchers allowed six runs in 6.1 innings of work.

The Longhorns began the ballgame with momentum. In the top of the first, redshirt sophomore outfielder Douglas Hodo III walked, and redshirt junior outfielder Eric Kennedy moved him to third base off an infield single that bounced past Aggie shortstop Kole Kaler. 

Austin Todd, redshirt senior designated hitter, then hit a line drive to left field for an RBI single, bringing Hodo home for the first score of the game. 

Texas plated another run in the second inning when Hodo ripped a 0-1 pitch alongside the third baseline for an RBI double. 

But after opening up the game with a clean 10-pitch first inning, sophomore pitcher Lucas Gordon saw the wheels fall off in the second inning. Two pitches in, Texas A&M’s Austin Bost rocketed a double to the left-field wall, sending Kennedy chasing the ball. 

After allowing three more hits for four runs and running up his pitch count during a series of lengthy at bats, Gordon exited the mound after failing to strike out Texas A&M’s Trevor Werner. The lefty was lined up for his second loss of the season after giving up Texas’ early lead.  

“Early in the game, I don’t think we made pitches,” head coach David Pierce said. “We pitched (from) behind, and when we got ahead, we didn’t have a wipe-out pitch to move to the next hitter.”

Trailing 4-2, it looked like redshirt sophomore pitcher Jared Southard had stopped the bleeding. The righty used his 95-plus mph fastball to retire the final batter of the second inning. 

Tasked with coming back after losing an early lead, Texas’ offense remained dormant. Despite leading the NCAA in hits on the year, the Longhorns struggled to bring home runners, leaving 12 stranded on base throughout the ballgame. 

In the fourth inning, redshirt sophomore catcher Silas Ardoin bashed the first pitch of his at bat to right-center field, where a near collision of two Texas A&M outfielders allowed him to reach second base safely.

With no outs and two runners on base following sophomore outfielder Dylan Campbell’s walk, Aggie pitcher Micah Dallas retired the next three Longhorns in order, leaving Ardoin and Campbell stranded. 

“Overcoming big innings just has been kind of the story these last three months,” Pierce said. “And that popped us today.”

Despite the early exit from the College World Series without winning a game, Pierce said that his team making it to Omaha went against all odds. After losing sophomore starting pitcher Tanner Witt to Tommy John surgery early in the season, navigating the pitching rotation was a constant battle.

“I’m a little numb right now because I don’t think anybody was really ready to end this thing,” Pierce said. “Unless you win it at all though, you’re gonna feel this feeling, and I’ll take this any day as opposed to not competing for the national championship.”