Gil LeBreton

Frogs, Aggies set for Super sequel in Game 3


The sequel, they say, is never as good as the original.

Let’s hope not. Some of us want to be home by breakfast Monday morning.

A year ago, confronted with an identical postseason scenario, the Texas Aggies and TCU Horned Frogs staged a memorable NCAA Super Regional Game 3 that wasn’t decided until 16 innings had been played — or half-past Denny’s, take your pick.

It was riveting. It was draining. TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle, who’s been coaching for 27 seasons, called it the best college baseball game he had ever seen.

Few would argue, and the few Aggies that might will have their chance at rebuttal Sunday night.

Super Regional, super rematch. After the Aggies’ 7-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night, A&M and TCU will meet again with a trip to the College World Series on the line.

Indeed, there was sincerity in Schlossnagle’s voice Friday when he said, after the Frogs’ 8-2 Game 1 victory, “That’s all it is — one win, one ballgame.”

Counting to two at a Super Regional is the hardest thing in college baseball.

Here in Aggieland, where statues of bronzed Aggie heroes blanket the landscape, you sorta knew Saturday that coach Rob Childress’ team wasn’t going to go quietly into the night.

Senior catcher Michael Barash had announced as much after Game 1.

“I’m not ready to be done,” Barash said. “This is my last go-round as a senior here, and I’m not ready to take this uniform off.”

Friday had been a quiet night for not only the Aggies, but also the chanting, swaying, bubble-making Olsen Field A&M crowd. But Game 2 would be different, Barash insisted.

“We’ve just got to just flush this one,” he said, “and come out tomorrow and play hard and play fast — be the aggressors.”

It took the Aggies just two pitches. Fast enough.

Senior center fielder J.B. Moss sent Mitchell Traver’s second offering high onto the big video board in left field.

You could almost hear the Aggies exhale.

The air at Olsen Field at Blue Bell Park suddenly filled with bubbles, as it has for two seasons after every A&M home run. Once upon a time, students sneaked flasks into college games. Now it’s soap bubbles.

Before the first half-inning was through, A&M had three more hits and two more runs, and the Frogs had committed their first error of the postseason — a costly one.

Traver lasted into the sixth for TCU, before the Aggie bats warmed again and put the game away 7-1. Jonathan Moroney homered in the sixth inning, and Barash and Hunter Melton added homers in the eighth off reliever Sean Wymer.

Bubbles filled the sky. Aggies sang and celebrated.

But in the end, as the late Yogi Berra, a war hero in his own right, said, it was like déjà vu all over again.

A&M’s Kyle Simonds allowed only four hits over 7  2/3 innings. The Frogs, so poised and opportunistic Friday, seldom saw third base.

The best-of-three series was dead even. The sequel was set.

Don’t forget the doughnuts.

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