Omaha's long night — how Texas A&M held off Florida to cap the Men's College World Series' opening round (2024)

OMAHA. Neb. — The last strike was thrown at 1:13 a.m. CT. With that, the Texas A&M crowd could finally roar at the Aggies’ victory — never mind the time and the quiet downtown streets outside. With that, Florida’s last chance, Ashton Wilson, pounded the dirt with his bat in frustration after swinging and missing.

Texas A&M was in the winner’s bracket, Florida was in the loser’s bracket, and dawn would arrive in exactly 277 minutes.

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The big moments of the Men’s College World Series can come at any hour, once Mother Nature sticks her nose into it. The Aggies and Gators watched it rain and lightning for four hours and seven minutes Saturday night before they could finally play. Sounds like a lot, but maybe not. “Baseball players are used to that,” Texas A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle would say later. “Happens all the time.”

Anyway, once they got at it, there was a lot to see for those awake to watch. Three Texas A&M pitchers would strike out 16 Florida batters, needing only 11 outs in other ways. Aggies rightfielder Jace LaViolette would make a game-saving catch at the wall. Gators superstar Jac Caglianone would play like Jac Caglianone.

And the Aggies would escape 3-2, the fourth one-run decision in a row to open the MCWS. That’s never happened before. It had been a classic first two days and people were already trying to decide what it meant. “This is the golden age of college baseball.” Schlossnagle said. “I've been around it 35 years. It's never been this good.”

Since the Charles Schwab Field scoreboard clock was a constant reminder of the time, this game became something of a late show.

Live from Omaha, it’s Saturday night! Starring the Texas A&M Aggies and their starting pitcher, who has thrown one-third of an inning in a month. Special guest, the Florida Gators with the two-way icon superstar who can say he owns 23 more home runs as a hitter this season than he’s allowed as a pitcher. Sorry for the four-hour rain delay, but it’s not every day you get to watch the first pitch of a Men’s College World Series game at 10:16 p.m. No game had started that late here in 25 years.

The two teams had been in the ballpark for nearly seven hours before they could take the field. “That was brutal,” LaViolette said later. “Literally we just sat around and did nothing.” Imagine what it was like for Justin Lamkin. He had thrown nine pitchers in a month for the Aggies, and now was having to wait even longer to start his team’s first game in the MCWS. The night before had been tense enough. “I tried to get my mind off of it, just be a kid again and enjoy the moment,” he said. And now he had all afternoon. “It felt pretty normal, just hanging out, relaxing getting my mind right.” The Aggies snacked, watched TV and waited for it to stop lightning.

BRACKET:View the 2024 MCWS bracket

"In Rosenblatt you wouldn't have had a place to go," Schlossnagle said of the old MCWS ballpark. "You would have been hanging out in the dugout or going back to the hotel or going to the bus. I remember those days. Luckily now, you have an awesome clubhouse and space and batting cages. Baseball players are used to that, and this ballpark is so great. Both teams had plenty of space to stay loose."

Eventually, it began. The Gators didn’t have a base runner until 11:05 p.m. with a Michael Robertson single in the third inning. By then, the Aggies were up 2-0. and Lamkin was on the way to retiring nine of 10 hitters, striking out six. Who saw this coming since he had more or less been on hiatus? “It’s kind of all the same, stick to what I do, stick to my routine, nothing really changes,” he said of how a guy goes from being relegated to the corner of the bullpen to giving his team a push in the College World Series.

By 11:25 p.m., Texas A&M led 3-0 but the Aggies had left the bases loaded two innings in a row. That was asking for trouble. Texas A&M's pitching plan unfolded, divided into equal shares of three innings. First Lamkin, then Chris Cortez with his 100 mile-per-hour fastball, then Evan Aschenbeck, recently named the reliever of the year in college baseball. As they came out of the bullpen one after another, Saturday turned into Sunday.

At midnight Texas A&M still was up 3-0 in the sixth inning and Florida’s Cade Kurland was trotting to first base after taking a Cortez pitch off the batting helmet. And good morning to you. Ten Gators had struck out in the first five innings. No Florida runner had made it past second base. Jac Caglianone, arguably the most feared and renowned player in the college game, had a patch of blood on his pants by his knee.

By 12:08 a.m., two more Gators had struck out, leaving two runners stranded, one of them Caglianone, who had sent a 117-mile-per-hour laser into right field for a double. He would also single and walk. “If anybody has a better idea, let me know. I don't know how to get him out,” Schlossnagle said later.

WALK-OFF:North Carolina's walk-off win was the perfect opening act to start another Men's College World Series

By 12:35 a.m., the last game of the night in the Major Leagues had ended in Arizona. Here thelead was down to 3-2 and the crowd was down to maybe 50 percent. But that’s a lot of people when the game was supposed to start 6 1/2 hours earlier.

1:05 a.m. The Florida ninth began, with Aschenbeck trying to close the door. He got one out, gave up a single and then faced Kurland, who suddenly sent a deep drive to right that had LaViolette backing to the wall.

“There it goes,” was Aschenbeck’s first thought.

“Of the bat, homer,” was Schlossnagle’s.

“I thought he had it because he never reacts like that when he hits one; he kind of just puts his head down and rounds the bases. He thought he got it; I thought he got it,” Florida coach Kevin O’Sullivan said.

Out in right, LaViolette wasn’t so sure. “I didn’t know if I had any chance,” he said. But he went up his 6-5 frame and got the ball at the wall. If he’s only 6-2, Florida would have had the lead. “I told Jace,” Schlossnagle said, “I'm super happy that he's tall.”

1:12 a.m. The fans were standing, which was showing admirable energy for the hour. Robertson had singled, Caglianone had walked. Two out, it was up to Wilson, who had swung a magic bat last weekend but not so far this one. One minute later he struck out for the fourth time.

ROCKY TOP:Vols' cycle, walk-off sets the stage for epic MCWS run

Tough loss for the Gators, who were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They have been rolling since they slipped into the NCAA tournament with a 28-27 record, but this was a downer. “It's been a tough month for us. It's been a tough year for us,” O’Sullivan said.

At 1:21 a.m., Lamkin was still signing autographs, having spent one of the most exciting nights — and mornings — of his life. “It was unreal, just taking everything in for the first time,” he said.

BOMBS:Here are the longest home runs in College World Series history (that we know of)

It was so late Schloassnagle started his press conference by wishing everyone a happy Father’s Day. At 2:09 a.m., there were still fans posing for pictures in front of the Road to Omaha statue. In just over four hours in North Carolina the first golf parings would be teeing off in the final round of the U.S. Open. In under nine hours, Florida State and Virginia would be back in the ballpark preparing to play an elimination game. It had been a long night at Charles Schwab Field.


2024 SEASON ➡️ Schedule/scoreboard| Rankings
MCWS HISTORY: Programs with most MCWS titles| Most MCWS appearances| 7 longest homers

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MLB: MVPs who played in college | Cy Youngs by college| Players thatwon a MCWS andWorld Series

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Omaha's long night — how Texas A&M held off Florida to cap the Men's College World Series' opening round (2024)


How did the College World Series end up in Omaha? ›

Several businessmen in Omaha, led by Johnny Rosenblatt, were very instrumental in bringing the College World Series to their town. They saw it as the perfect way to showcase their town to the world, put the event in a centralized location, and bring in revenue for their city.

Who will play in the College World Series 2024? ›

After a decisive Game 3 came down to the final at-bat, Tennessee baseball held off Texas A&M to win its first Men's College World Series in program history. Watch the final out and ensuing celebration from the 2024 MCWS clincher here.

How many times has Texas A&M been to the College World Series? ›

Just like their rival, the Tennessee Volunteers, their first ever appearance was back in 1951, in what was the fifth ever edition of the national tournament. They made appearances in 1951, 1964, 1993, 1999, 2011, 2017, 2022 and this time in 2024.

Have the Aggies ever won a World Series? ›

OMAHA, Neb. -- Texas A&M and Tennessee have waited 73 years to finally win a Men's College World Series championship.

How long does Omaha have the contract for the College World Series? ›

On June 10, 2008, the NCAA and CWS Omaha announced a new 25-year contract extension, keeping the MCWS in Omaha through 2035.

How many people attend the College World Series in Omaha? ›

CWS of Omaha is the event's organizing committee comprised of 23 businesses in the community. She said 26,500 people watched the first game of the finals from inside Charles Schwab Field in downtown Omaha.

Who is predicted to win the World Series 2024? ›

Not surprisingly, the Dodgers remain the odd-on favorite to win the World Series, as they have all season. Let's take a look at every team's updated 2024 World Series odds at DraftKings Sportsbook as of June 24. A big reason L.A. has been able to keep everything rolling smoothly? Shohei Ohtani, of course.

Who won the men's College World Series in 2024? ›

The Tennessee Volunteers beat Texas A&M in Game 3 of the 2024 Men's College World Series finals, 6-5. With their 60th win of the season, the Vols won the first national title in program history.

Who is leading the College World Series? ›

Men's College World Series champs since 1947
2024Tennessee (60-13)Texas A&M
2023LSU (54-17)Florida
2022Ole Miss (42-23)Oklahoma
2021Mississippi State (50-18)Vanderbilt
30 more rows
2 days ago

Why are aggies called aggies? ›

An Aggie is a student at Texas A&M. In the early 1900s, our students were called "Farmers." The term Aggie — reflecting our agricultural roots — was first used in the 1920s, and in 1949, the yearbook changed its name from The Longhorn to Aggieland. At that point, Aggie became the official student body nickname.

Have the Aggies ever won a national championship? ›

The Aggies also have yet to win a national championship in one of the big three sports since football in 1939. Ending those evasive droughts remains the final objective for Schlossnagle and his A&M program.

What does the A&M stand for in Texas A&M? ›

A Google search will tell you the A&M in the school's name stands for Agricultural and Mechanical, harking back to the early days when we were known as A&M College of Texas.

Who won most World Series? ›

How many Big 12 championships did Texas A&M win? ›

Texas A&M Aggies football
Bowl record20–23 (.465)
Claimed national titles3 (1919, 1927, 1939)
Conference titles18 (17 SWC, 1 Big 12)
Division titles3 (1997, 1998, 2010)
25 more rows

How many times has A&M beat Texas? ›

Texas–Texas A&M football rivalry
Next meetingNovember 30, 2024
Meetings total118
All-time seriesTexas leads, 76–37–5
Largest victoryTexas, 48–0 (1898)
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How many teams make it to Omaha for College World Series? ›

The NCAA Division I baseball tournament is a 64-team tournament that starts in May. After two rounds of play (which each consist of multiple games), there are just eight teams left. These eight teams then head to Omaha, Neb. for the College World Series.

Why is it important for Omaha to continue hosting the College World Series? ›

After exiting the stadium, fresh enthusiasm and affection for baseball were ignited within them. The College World Series in Omaha has become a major draw for fans, bringing in thousands annually. Local businesses and residents have grown dependent on the revenue generated by this event.

When did Nebraska go to the CWS? ›

NU's first national success arrived with the hire of Dave Van Horn in 1998, who took the program to its first College World Series appearances in 2001 and 2002.

What is the College World Series stadium used for? ›

Home to the NCAA Division I Men's College World Series and Creighton Bluejays baseball program, Charles Schwab Field Omaha seats 24,000 and features a 360-degree walk-around concourse for a perfect view of the field.


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