Soon, apprentice David Sandlin was a magician on the hill. Except for a solo blast from Dylan Rock, there was nothing A&M could do to solve Sandlin and keep his season alive.
A 5-1 loss to hot Oklahoma in the semifinals of the College World Series on Wednesday put an end to the Aegis race in Omaha. It took not one, but two wins for the Sooners to reach the College World Series Final for the first time in the program’s history.
Then again, it’s already been a historic year. The Big Picture? A&M was playing with house money just by being one of the last 4 players. This feat was historical in itself. In the first year, Jim Schlossnagle was already the all-time program leader in College World Series victories.
This bar is very high and it is moving forward. . I mean, think about that in the first year after finishing last in SEC West, A&M started without a rating and was two wins away from playing for a national title. She finished first at SEC West and sent the likes of Texas and Notre Dame home at the Elimination Games in Omaha. Not too shabby for a team with 15 new faces.
Not every group of future Aggies will check all of these boxes – sending Longhorns home in a dominant fashion and watching Micah Dallas repeatedly toss horns might be a 1 in 1 situation – but it’s great to consider buying with a first year coach. Schlossnagel preached patience. So what did his team do? You’ve seen more pitches pop up per board than anyone else in the country. In all four games at Charles Schwab Field, the Aggies didn’t swing a field first the first time through the lineup.
Against Sandlin on Wednesday, that formula backfired. why? The right-hand break ball was, well, sloppy like a Bourbon Street Martini. Being late in counting against the good proves to be a very long business.
1⃣2⃣ hits a day by David Sandlin 🔥
– Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) June 22 2022
It’s also proven to be a very long task for A&M novice Ryan Prager to keep the Oklahoma bats silent. Just as he did in the CWS opener on Friday, Jimmy Crooks supplied Oklahoma with a 3-stroke escape in the right field yard. This wasn’t the start Prager had hoped for, but the opportunity for a real new student at that point would benefit the Oghez down the road.
If there was an obvious Achilles heel with the 2022 A&M team, it was the start. Fixing the transport gate was better for bats than the arms. Once Schlossnagle has had a chance to recruit and develop with esteemed merchandising coach Nate Yeskie, that should become a force.
This is the other part of the A&M track that should be encouraging. The success of the transfer portal in this new era was supposed to decorate the players lining up to come to College Station.
Jacob Balish, who became a dim sum—his five and three rounds of relief work to empty the tanks were the only thing keeping Oklahoma from escaping with it—became a star after leaving Stanford. Jack Moss (Arizona), Troy Clanche (Oregon), and Dallas (Texas Tech) all left the Power 5 programs to become studs for the Aggies. That doesn’t even include guys like Rock (UT-San Antonio) and Kole Kaler (Hawai’i), who were recruited from smaller schools to become instant plug-and-play men.
Schlossnagle probably wouldn’t need to be active in the portal going forward, but from a talent assessment point of view, that obviously wouldn’t hold him back. He will put a competition roster on the field on an annual basis. We’ll see what players eligible to sign up for A&M do – Trevor Werner’s decision will be important – but there’s still plenty to cheer you up if you’re an Aggie fan.
Go back to the time Ross Björk announced the appointment of Schlossnagle. It was the first time that an A&M sports director contracted for one of the four major revenue sports (baseball, soccer, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball). In his introduction last June, Bjork cited that Schlossnagle was tied for first place among active coaches in College World Series victories. It was, in every way, an undoubtedly long-standing TCU coach hunting hire.
But unquestioned hiring does not always guarantee success. In 2014, a program as proud as Arizona State made an unquestionable hire for Tracy Smith of Indiana, one year after leading the program to its first foray into the College World Series. But in Arizona, Smith never reached a regional super and was fired after 7 seasons.
However, Schlossnagle does seem like the perfect person to introduce A&M baseball into the new era. That new era of SEC baseball will soon feature familiar foes, Oklahoma and Texas. In the first year, Schlossnagle had no better team than the Oklahoma team. Two afternoons with the Sooners in Omaha A&M showed a lot. Soon, it might be a different story.
The 2022 team will be remembered as the group that laid a solid foundation for A&M. It’s a program that no longer has to hear about the Omaha losing streak dating back to 1993. Maybe in a few years, he won’t have to hear about the lack of a national title either.
After Wednesday’s season finale loss, Clanch was asked if he could express his feelings about the season and come to A&M in his final year of eligibility. He said “No, I can’t” (via Travis Brown).
Once the dust settles on the A&M track, there will be 3 words that Clanch and others can use to describe the first year of the Schlossnagel era.
The New Standard.