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College World Series: Texas A&M Seeks Sooners Redemption

The Aggies need to defeat Oklahoma twice to reach CWS finals

Nathan Dettmer closed the door to his hotel room on Friday night and wanted to be left alone. He felt as if Texas A&M's 13-8 loss to Oklahoma in the College World Series fell upon his shoulders. 

“I felt like I let everyone down,” Dettmer said Tuesday. “I’m not going to lie to you. I went into my hotel room, and I cried. I didn’t know what to do. I felt lost.” 

Much like the storyline that has followed the Aggies all season, Dettmer received a second chance after allowing seven runs to a potent Sooners offense. Going seven strong against Notre Dame, the sophomore from San Antonio delivered a performance to remember on the way to a 5-1 win

Dettmer had his shot at redemption in Omaha. The Aggies (44-19) will now have theirs in a rematch against Oklahoma on Wednesday afternoon. 

The difference? Texas A&M needs two wins over OU to advance to the CWS finals. Oklahoma (44-22) is one victory away from competing for its first national title since 1994. 

“Where did Oklahoma finish in the Big 12? Everybody here is good, hot and talented," A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "It just comes down to playing clean baseball.”

The Sooners aren't just another run-of-the-mill program that found its footing during the tournament. They finished tied for second place in the Big 12 during the regular season. The Sooners' surge started in Arlington during the conference tournament as Oklahoma won the title with wins over West Virginia, Texas Tech, Kansas State and Texas. 

Things since the season's end have yet to cool to the Sooners. They won the Gainesville Regional over Florida and won at Virginia Tech in a best-of-three series to reach the CWS. 

So far, Oklahoma is in the driver's seat. It's one of two programs that remains undefeated entering the final four, joining Ole Miss. The two are the favorites to play for the title this weekend despite stellar rebounding outings from A&M and Arkansas on Tuesday. 

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“Winning the national championship has always been kind of the goal,” Sooners third baseman Wallace Clark said Sunday following a 6-2 win over Notre Dame. “We’ve had that in the mind from the very beginning – it’s not just a new idea.”

One thing A&M continues to pride itself off is its resilience. Down 8-0 after the second inning against OU, the Aggies fought back to plate eight runs of their own. Against Texas, A&M used 10 hits and six walks to score 10 runs on the way to victory

The story against the Irish was similar. Situational hitting played a vital role in the Aggies forcing Notre Dame to burn through its bullpen earlier than expected. Several errors from the Irish also factored into A&M's scoring — primarily during the third inning. 

A&M puts it faith in Ryan Prager (1-3) to start off on the right note Wednesday. A strong first inning could pay dividends for the Aggies' pitcher similar to Dettmer. After allowing a pair of singles to start the game, Dettmer didn't allow another hit until the seventh against the Irish. 

Of course, Prager could be in similar situation to that of Micah Dallas. Against the Longhorns, the Texas Tech transfer allowed a pair of runs in the first inning before finding his rhythm. Unlike Dallas, Prager's leash likely won't be as long due to his mixed results during the regular season. 

"All I know is our guys, we’ve been backed in a corner all year long, especially with our pitching situation," Schlossnagle said, "and we just keep fighting.”

First pitch at Charles Schwab Field is set for 1 p.m. 

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