The “Greatest Show on Dirt” got underway in Omaha on Friday, with the four teams in Bracket One taking the field. In the afternoon game, Oklahoma continued their hot streak and beat Texas A&M. And in the night game, Notre Dame, with a hot streak of their own, beat Texas.
This sets up an epic Sunday afternoon matchup between old foes Texas and Texas A&M. The two will play an elimination game with the winner staying alive and the loser ending their season.
Here’s a recap of both of Friday’s games:
Oklahoma (1-0) 13 - #9 Texas A&M (0-1) 5
The Sooners struck first, getting one run in the top of the 1st and then adding seven runs in the top of the 2nd thanks to a 3-run bomb by catcher Jimmy Crooks. Texas A&M cut into the 8-0 lead with three runs of their own in the bottom of the 2nd, thanks to a 3-run home run by centerfielder Jordan Thompson.
Oklahoma would put the game away in the top of the 4th. With bases loaded and just one out, Jackson Nicklaus stepped to the plate and blasted one to right field for a grand slam making the score 12-4.
“I didn’t know that it was only the third [grand slam] ever hit in this park in the College World Series. So that kind of heightened it a little bit, for sure,” Nicklaus said. “Going through the at-bat, though, they had that little pitching meeting. And I knew I wasn’t going to be late to the fastball. I struggled early against lefthanded pitchers early in the season. I’ve been working hard on that, working on diagnosing pitches, separating balls and strikes. I saw the pitch out of the hand, a nice fastball and just tried to put a good swing on it.”
Winning pitcher – Jake Bennett (10-3); Losing pitcher – Nathan Dettmer (5-3)
Notre Dame (1-0) 7 - #9 Texas (0-1) 3
In the evening game, Notre Dame continued with what the Sooners started. The Irish got on the board first with a one-out solo home run by Jared Miller in the top of the 1st. Both teams added a run in the third, and Notre Dame got another in the fourth.
With the score 3-1, it seemed we were in for a late-inning battle. Then Notre Dame put three more on the board in the 5th. Texas would get the score to 6-3. Another homer by Carter Putz in the top of the 9th would give Notre Dame an added insurance run.
“Offensively, it was fun because I thought all the variety of our offense, which I’ve sat here and talk to you guys about, was on display today,” said Notre Dame head coach Link Jarrett after the game. “There’s a couple of balls that left the stadium. Bunting, some base-running, and just some good — the two-out hit by Spencer Myers, that was a big one, and I could go on and on about some of the in-game stuff.”
In an amazing statistic, Texas did not record an extra-base hit for the first time all season – all 67 games.
Winning pitcher – John Michael Bertrand (10-3); Losing pitcher – Pete Hansen (11-3); Save – Jack Findlay (4)
Next up: Saturday’s games feature the four teams in Bracket Two. #2 Stanford and Arkansas face off at 1 p.m. CT then #14 Auburn and Ole Miss meet at 6 p.m. CT. On Sunday, it’s back to Bracket One with Texas and Texas A&M meeting at 1 p.m. in an elimination game. Oklahoma and Notre Dame play in the winner’s bracket at 6 p.m.
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