Previewing the College World Series: Texas A&M Aggies

This is the final installment in a series of looks at the eight teams in the College World Series.

Though they're one of only two teams not to be named a national seed in the College World Series, their appearance in Omaha should not be a surprise. The Texas A&M Aggies (47-20) split the Big 12 regular season title with rival Texas and won the Big 12 Tournament over an upstart Missouri team. Many argue because of these credentials, they should have been a top eight national seed. Their play so far has proved they belong here. The Aggies are playing in their fifth CWS and first since 1999.

Texas A&M's journey to TD Ameritrade Park started when the Aggies hosted the College Station Regional. Also included in the regional were (in seeding order Arizona (36-19), Seton Hall (33-23), and Wright State (36-17). The Aggies streamlined through their first two games, beating Wright State and Seton Hall handily before they faced Arizona. The Wildcats took the first game before Texas A&M shut out Arizona in the final game to advance to the Tallahassee Super Regional against Florida State (46-19). The Aggies took the first game with a 6-2 win. The Seminoles came roaring back, routing Texas A&M 23-9. Texas A&M ended up getting the best of FSU with an 11-2 decisive win to send them to the CWS.

Texas A&M's pitching staff is led by All-American Ross Stripling. Stripling went 14-2 with a 2.29 ERA while holding opponents to a .200 batting average. Third team All-American Michael Wacha also pitched well for the Aggies, posting a 9-3 record with a 2.12 ERA. Second team All-Big 12 John Stilson led Texas A&M with a 1.68 ERA and a 5-2 record. The Aggies team ERA is 2.88.

Offensively, the Aggies are led by Big 12 Player of the Year Tyler Naquin. Naquin leads TAMU with a .390 average, 103 hits, and 7 triples. He also added two home runs and 44 RBIs. First Team All-Big 12 outfielder Krey Bratsen hit for a .331 average with 36 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. Matt Juengel led the Aggies with seven home runs and Jacob House leads the team with 51 RBIs. Texas A&M's team batting average is .293.

The Aggies have a chance to be the College World Series' "Cinderella" based on the fact they're not a national seed. They're competition is the Cal Bears, who quite honestly have a better story. Texas A&M is that blend of defense and pitching that characterize most of the teams in the CWS. However, they have the x-factor of Tyler Naquin who can really hit the ball. Their .293 team average is respectable and they can put runs on the board as you can see by their 11-2 clincher over the Seminoles. Th Aggies face the defending champion South Carolina Gamecocks today. If I had my guess, I would say this comes down to a pitcher's duel.

The Aggies and Gamecocks are the nightcap in the CWS, starting at 7 p.m. South Carolina ace Michael Roth will start and Stripling will take the mound for Texas A&M.

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