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Where Texas A&M’s Pitching Stands Entering National Championship Game

Texas A&M Baseball // Photo via Texas A&M Athletics

Tennessee baseball and Texas A&M will play a deciding game three Monday night in Omaha for the National Championship. The Aggies won game one at Charles Schwab Field, 9-5, before the Vols used a pair of crucial home runs and great pitching to win game two, 4-1.

For the most part, A&M and Tennessee have pitched well. The Aggies scored nine runs Saturday night but no one was particularly bad on the mound for Tennessee outside opener Chris Stamos.

While Tennessee’s pitching plan for game three of the CWS Finals is pretty set (Sechrist, Snead), A&M’s is a little more up in the air.

Let’s take a look at where the Aggies’ pitching stands entering the final game of the season.

Have thrown. Won’t throw.

RHP Chris Cortez

Cortez threw 99 pitches Sunday in a superb, scoreless 4.1-inning relief outing. Cortez has been the Aggies’ most impressive pitcher so far in the final series and did his part, though A&M ultimately lost Sunday’s game.

Cortez is the only A&M pitcher that has a 0% chance of throwing.

Have thrown. Could throw, but not very likely.

LHP Kaiden Wilson

Wilson pitched Sunday’s game against Tennessee, coming in after Cortez. Wilson threw 41 pitches and wasn’t horrific but did get tagged twice by Dylan Dreiling and Cal Stark, which led to Tennessee’s win. Wilson hasn’t been used much this season to begin with. It would be shocking if he made an appearance in the championship game.

RHP Ryan Prager

Prager is A&M’s ace and started game one of the final series on Saturday, throwing 81 pitches. Prager likely won’t pitch again, but if A&M’s back is against the wall and its season is on the line, Prager may be called upon out of the bullpen.

RHP Zane Badmaev

Badmaev started for A&M on Sunday against Tennessee, giving up two hits and no runs in 1.0 innings. Badmaev was used as an opener and doesn’t have a lot of work this season.

He only threw 20 pitches, so he could throw in the final game. But given the fact he wasn’t particularly effective against Tennessee and his little usage in the postseason, the Aggies will probably use multiple other guys before going back to Badmaev.

RHP Josh Stewart 

Stewart was pretty good for A&M Saturday night in game one relieving Prager before elite reliever Evan Aschenbeck shut Tennessee down later in the game.

Stewart pitched 2.1 innings on 56 pitches, a season-high. Stewart has been a main bullpen guy for A&M this season but isn’t used extensively. He can give A&M an inning or two Monday night but it would be surprising if he throws north of 40-45 pitches. In Omaha alone, he has thrown 123 pitches across three outings in a one-week span.

Have thrown. Could definitely throw again but might not.

RHP Brock Peery & RHP Weston Moss

Peery and Moss finished the game for A&M Sunday against Tennessee after Wilson exited.

The two combined to pitch 1.1 innings on 21 pitches and both would be good to go Monday. Moss and Peery are guys who could come in for matchup purposes and probably won’t pitch more than an inning. They aren’t pitchers A&M is going to ask to do a lot, but both could be in a position to potentially get a few big outs on Monday.

RHP Brad Rudis

Rudis saw one batter Saturday against Tennessee as Hunter Ensley sent an 0-1 pitch out of the yard, leading Schlossnagle to pull Rudis for Aschenbeck.

Rudis has had a solid year, owning a 2.55 ERA on 35.1 innings on 24 appearances. Rudis is a guy who could get A&M anywhere from 4-7 outs and could serve as a bridge guy between Justin Lamkin and Aschenbeck. Rudis has given up multiple runs just once this season (Super Regional vs. Oregon).

More From RTI: Tennessee Baseball’s Zander Sechrist Has The Right Demeanor For The Biggest Moment

Have thrown. Will very likely throw again.

LHP Evan Aschenbeck

Aschenbeck is A&M’s top reliever alongside Cortez. The dynamic lefty threw 46 pitches Saturday to close the game for A&M and will almost certainly pitch in Monday’s game out of the bullpen. It was key for Tennessee to see Aschenbeck Saturday and to force him to pitch in a game the Vols were trailing wire-to-wire. Aschenbeck hasn’t thrown 100+ pitches in a three-day span yet this season.

Therefore, expect Aschenbeck to pitch, but a 50+ pitch outing would be something new for him. The most he’s thrown in a three-day span is 74 (Vanderbilt series).

Notable arms who haven’t thrown

LHP Justin Lamkin

Texas A&M HC Jim Schlossnagle said Lamkin is ready to go for Monday’s game, and while it hasn’t been announced, Lamkin will likely start for the Aggies.

Lamkin has been awesome for Texas A&M in Omaha, throwing 112 pitches combined across eight scoreless innings in the two games against Florida. The sophomore has recorded 15 total strikeouts in those outings, as well.

On five day’s rest after a 70-pitch outing, it’ll be interesting to see how much A&M pushes Lamkin. He’s thrown over 90 pitches just once this season and hasn’t thrown over 80 since April.

But with it being the final game of the season, expect A&M to ride their guy as long as he can go.

RHP Tanner Jones

Jones isn’t a top arm but of all the arms to not be mentioned yet, he is the only one with more than 10 appearances this season, outside Shane Sdao who is out for the season.

Jones has been up and down (3-1, 6.33 ERA) but has lots of SEC work this year. He was a weekend starter for a large portion of the season and is yet to pitch in Omaha at all. He could definitely give A&M something on Monday if called upon. He last pitched in the Super Regional vs. Oregon.

Jones pitched against Tennessee in Hoover and gave up three hits and two earned runs in 2.1 innings.


RHP Peyton Smith, RHP Luke Jackson, RHP Eldridge Armstrong III

All three are extreme long shots to pitch Monday. They’ve all been primarily midweek guys and have a combined 19 appearances this season. The only reason they are listed here is because they are on the active roster, so technically there is a chance.

Technically, there is also a chance Charlie Taylor could play the outfield again.

But in reality, these things aren’t going to happen.

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