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Aggies Dominate Longhorns 10-2 To Remain In College World Series

The Aggies pick up the win over rival Texas to stay alive in Omaha for another game

New coach, new era, new formula. That's the way Jim Schlossnagle and Ross Bjork envisioned it from the start. 

Long-time manager Rob Childress found ways to get to Omaha, Neb. while leading Texas A&M to the College World Series. Winning at the now-Charles Schwab Field was always the problem in the process. In 18 years, Childress led A&M to the big dance twice and went 0-4 in the process. 

One season under Schlossnagle's direction, the Aggies' luck has changed. So has their losing streak as the 10-2 win over Texas keeps them alive for another game. 

Eliminating the in-state rival is just an added bonus. 

"I know it's a big deal," Schlossnagle said of the rivalry. "I'd rather win a national title. And so if that comes at the expense of winning a game against Texas or whomever, then that's great."

For the first time since 1993, A&M (43-19) can taste a victory. It wasn't an easy start for right-hander Micah Dallas (7-3), who allowed the Horns (47-22) to take a 2-0 lead by the second inning, but things calm on the mound as the heat began to rise. 

Much like the expected 90-degree heat surging, A&M's bats grew hotter by the inning. The Aggies responded in the bottom of the second by plating four runs of their own.

Right fielder Brett Minnich delivered an RBI double to kick things off while regional standout Jordan Thompson knocked in catcher Troy Claunch on the next at-bat. Third baseman Trevor Werner would plate both two batters later with an RBI single. 

Thompson, who started the year as a platooner, finished the day 2 of 2 with a pair of RBIs. Since the start of the NCAA tournament, he's gone 9 of 23 with three home runs and nine RBIs. 

The lead change gave Schlossnagle a long leash on when to pull in Dallas. He didn't fret leaving the once-struggling starter in too long on the brink of elimination. Dallas also didn't give a reason as to why he needed a breather, going five innings strong while allowing two runs on six hits and striking out three in the process.

“When his fastball is down and in the strike zone, or close to the strike zone, he’ll get the chases on the breaking ball," Schlossnagle said of Dallas' top pitch. 

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After back-to-back singles to begin the sixth, Schlossnagle went to veteran Jacob Palish. As one of two players who have played in Omaha before, the Stanford transfer lived up to the pressure. With the bases loaded and two out, Palish faced Longhorns' top hitter Ivan Melendez. 

The advantage — and eventual strikeout — went to Palish, who bellowed a scream while walking back to an explosive A&M dugout. Melendez, the Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year, went 0 of 4 in his final game with a pair of strikeouts.

The Aggies added insurance in the third throwing error from Texas third baseman Ryan Messinger. They tacked on another with an RBI single from Jack Moss in the fourth. By the top of the eighth inning, fans clad in orange were headed for the exits as A&M scored three runs in two frames to make it 9-2. 

A hit by pitch against left fielder Dylan Rock in the eighth added insult to injury as designated hitter Austin Bost would drive him in on the next at-bat to push them into the double digits. Freshman closer Brad Rudis wouldn't allow a hit while striking out two Longhorns in his 1 1/3 inning to close things out. 

“We’ve had the same approach all season,” Thompson said. “We just keep going, one pitch at a time. If we get a hit, great. If we don’t, we put a lot of pitches on the pitcher – (you) make him make pitches. And you just pass the bat along to the next guy behind you, and have trust in him.”

Consider Sunday's win a bit of déjà vu for the Aggies as a March outing at UFCU Disch–Falk Field in Austin may have predicted the outcome. A&M picked up the 12-9 win over the Longhorns in their own backyard. As Dallas struck out outfielder Dylan Campbell to seal the win, he threw horns down on Texas soil, thus signifying the importance of the moment. 

As he embraced his teammates on the infield in Omaha, he did it again, this time with a bit more on the line than simple bragging rights. 

“Honestly, I’m a little numb right now,” Longhorns coach David Pierce said. "The Aggies were better than us today.”

A&M isn't out of the woods just yet. The Aggies will once again fight to stay alive against Notre Dame on Tuesday at 1 p.m. 

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