College World Series Finals Preview: Tennessee Takes On Texas A&M

Will Tennessee roll Texas A&M and become the first No. 1 national seed to win a College World Series championship since 1999?
Jun 19, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA;  Texas A&M Aggies pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) throws against the Florida Gators during the eighth inning at Charles Schwab Field Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2024; Omaha, NE, USA; Texas A&M Aggies pitcher Evan Aschenbeck (53) throws against the Florida Gators during the eighth inning at Charles Schwab Field Omaha. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

And then there were two. The Tennessee Volunteers take on the Texas A&M Aggies in this year's College World Series final. The Vols become just the fourth No. 1 national seed to make the CWS finals (Texas 2004 & 2009, Miami 1999) and look to become just the second-ever top seed to win the title. Texas A&M appears in its first CWS final and seeks the program's first championship.

Although we'll see a fifth straight SEC team hoist a trophy this weekend, and sixth in seven years, we'll get a first-time champion. We've gotten 13 straight unique champions, dating back to 2011; since 2000, we've seen 18 different teams win the CWS title.

So, who takes the trophy home this year?

College World Series Final Fast Facts

Tennessee is chasing history. The Vols trail the 1997 LSU "Geauxball" Tigers for the most home runs hit in a single season by 10. That LSU team hit 188 round-trippers and Tennessee has 178 with potentially three games left to play. While it's an unlikely feat, that record was previously thought to be "unbreakable."

As mentioned, the Vols are also looking to become the first No. 1 national seed to win the title since 1999 Miami did it in the first year under the Regionals-Super Regionals-CWS format. Since the CWS moved to a best-of-three series in 2003, no No. 1 overall seed won the title.

Tennessee has the lone College World Series final appearance between these two teams. The Volunteers fell to Oklahoma in 1951 and haven't returned to the championship stage since.

Texas A&M head coach Jim Schlossnagle originally hired Tennessee head coach Tony Vitello to his TCU staff in 2010 to be an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. Now 14 years later, the former coworkers battle for a national championship.

CWS Preview: Tennessee Vs. Texas A&M

There's no doubt about it, these are the two best teams in the country this year. They combined for 110 wins, just 25 losses, and 310 home runs. Both sides offer lethal power at the plate throughout their entire lineup and among the nation's highest-quality pitching.

With just a few games left between each team and college baseball history, expect them to exhaust all options. Tennessee's Drew Beam (9-2, 4.30 ERA) is the series' best starting pitcher while Texas A&M closer Evan Aschenbeck (1.54 ERA, 10 saves) is the best overall arm. Two pitchers, Vol AJ Causey (12-3, 4.21) and Aggie Ryan Prager (9-1, 2.88), combine for 283 strikeouts and just 41 walks.

Offensively, Christian Moore (.385 batting average) is the most dangerous player in either dugout. The future high MLB draft pick has 33 home runs and counting on the season, leading both teams. Four other Tennessee hitters have 20+ home runs. Braden Montgomery (.322) leads A&M with 27 homers.

Star power on both sides is undeniable. So, who has the edge?

Tennessee is the favorite in the series by a considerable mark. Sportsbook odds line the Vols with about a 67.7% chance to win the series. For those interested in betting trends, favorites are 11-1 straight up in CWS games this year.

But, in the college baseball postseason, pitching trumps all.

Texas A&M, top to bottom, offers more in the way of quality reserves. With potentially three hard-fought games in three days, depth in the rotation is imperative. Vols closer Aaron Combs (3.32) has an iconic look and is an extremely effective arm, but I give the nod to Aschenbeck.

Eight of 12 Aggies with 10+ appearances this year have better than a 4.00 ERA and 11 have better than a 5.00 ERA. A&M sizes up in the season-long metrics against Tennessee, ranking fouth nationally in team ERA (versus Tennessee, sixth). They don't lag in offensive metrics, sitting just six spots behind Tennesee in wOBA and four spots behind in wRC+.

The bottom line is, Texas A&M offensively holds their weight, even against the historic long hitters of Tennessee. The Aggies get a slight nod in the piching department and roster the nation's best closer.

I'm picking the Texas A&M Aggies to win their first College World Series championship in three games.

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Brett Gibbons


Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s covered college sports for Fansided, Stadium Journey, and several independent outlets over the past five years. A graduate of BGSU, Brett currently works on-site at Google as a project lead for content curation products.