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Stephen Schroats | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | June 18, 2017

Surprising Texas A&M takes the CWS stage at Omaha

  Texas A&M ended Davidson's magical postseason run to reach its sixth College World Series.

After heartbreaking losses to TCU in Super Regional play the previous two seasons, 2017 was supposed to be a rebuilding season for Texas A&M baseball.


Apparently construction is ahead of schedule.

The surprising Aggies (41-21) begin their College World Series experience at 1 p.m. Sunday against Louisville (52-10), a team making its third Omaha showing in five seasons.

RELATED: College World Series — Everything you need to know about Texas A&M

The Aggies are perhaps the least likely of the eight teams on college baseball's final stage. A&M was one of the last four at-large teams selected to the 64-team tournament, was barely better than .500 (16-14) in Southeastern Conference play and was bumped off 12-7 by Missouri in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

DI Baseball Super Regional: Texas A&M advances to the World Series
But then history happened.

Under coach Rob Childress, A&M became the first team seeded third or fourth in a regional to sweep through a regional and a Super Regional unbeaten. That's 5-and-0 against playoff teams.

Not that there weren't some dicey moments to go through first.

Texas A&M rallied for comeback wins over Baylor and Iowa in its first two regional games.

In the Super Regional opener against Davidson, the Aggies squandered a 6-0 lead in the sixth and were stretched to 15 innings before taking a 7-6 victory in College Station. The following day, A&M trailed 6-2 after seven innings but posted seven runs in the eighth and three in the ninth to punch its ticket to Nebraska.

  Braden Shewmake and Logan Foster (5) had big freshman years for the Aggies.
Louisville presents an even greater challenge.

Everything you need to know about: Louisville | OSU | CSU Fullerton | FSU | LSU | TCU | UF

The coach of the Cardinals, Dan McDonnell, will put junior left-hander Brendan McKay on the mound Sunday. McKay was 10-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 16 starts. He finished second in the nation with 140 strikeouts over 104 innings. He also hit .343 with 17 home runs and 56 RBIs in 210 at-bats.

McKay was chosen by the Tampa Bay Rays with the fourth overall pick in last week's draft, the first college player selected.

On Saturday he was named the Dick Howser Trophy winner as the year's top college baseball player. Teammate Lincoln Henzman, a junior right-hander, was awarded the Stopper of the Year award. McKay was earlier named Baseball America's national player of the year.

MORE: McKay wins Dick Howser TrophyHenzman named Stopper of the Year 

Louisville's leading hitter is third baseman Drew Ellis. The junior batted .367 with 55 runs, 81 hits, 18 doubles, 20 home runs and 61 RBIs -- all team highs. But Ellis' biggest contribution was three home runs and six RBIs in the Cardinals' two-game Super Regional sweep of rival Kentucky.

Texas A&M will counter by sending to the mound Corbin Martin, a junior lefty who was 7-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 23 appearances this season, including 12 starts.

  After TAMU's Blake Koptesky (13) sat out the 2016 campaign due to injury, he's hitting .298 in 2017.
On the offensive end, the Aggies are led by freshman second baseman Braden Shewmake. The 6-foot-4, 19-year-old from Wylie dominated the team's statistical charts. Shewmake led A&M this season in average (.335), hits (89), doubles (17), home runs (11) and RBIs (68) and tied for the lead in stolen bases (11). His plate awareness is even more impressive as he struck out only 28 times in 266 at-bats.

  Braden Shewmake leads the Aggies with a .335 batting average and 68 RBIs this season.
Joining Texas A&M and Louisville on their side of the CWS bracket are TCU and Florida.

Between them, the four schools have reached Omaha 26 times. However, none of those teams have a title to their name. That's a fact that all four hope to change soon.

This article is written by Stephen Schroats from Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

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Division I
Baseball Championship
June 14 - 24, 2024
Charles Schwab Field Omaha | Omaha, NE

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