Time for Aggies to win or go home

Not sure what to think about the Aggie baseball team heading into this weekend's regional at Olsen Field? Aggie Websider's Lanny Hayes has some advice for you.

Charles Darwin would call it "survival of the fittest." Others would say "live to fight another day."

There are myriad applicable clichés, but it all boils down to that one word; survival. If you're still playing, you still have a chance. If you win, you get another chance. Defeat is never fatal, unless you do it twice in one weekend.

The goal of this team, this coach, and this program is to be the last ones standing in Omaha. A regional championship, but nothing more, is a good season but far from a great one and surely doesn't achieve all internal goals.

Welcome to postseason baseball, Aggies and Aggie fans. The first 59 games, though important in seeding, are now utterly irrelevant.

The Texas A&M baseball club has had a very good season; a regular season Big 12 championship, a record 16-game league winning streak, and 43 overall wins entering the tournament. None of that matters anymore.

Concerned citizens undoubtedly cite the recent swoon, a "crisis of confidence," if you will. Those games don't matter anymore, either.

The mentality they carry from those, however, can matter. A streaky team, which this one has proven to be, will only be as good as their mindset. Are they over the errors and the semi-hitting slump?

This weekend's performance will certainly dictate which mindset exists, but the concerns of confidence are an even bigger reason that A&M's draw in this regional is so favorable.

With such a streaky club, you want as much on your mental side as you can get. A&M gets a draw that includes a lower-bucket two seed, a solid three seed, and your typical four seed. A&M is 3-1 against this pool of teams on the season, a better break than many teams get.

Getting a favorable draw, at least on paper, is even more important for this club given their traits. Though it's much deeper than 2007, this team is still thin in pitching and needs to stay in winner's bracket. Let's be fair, last year's club dug out of the loser's bracket with a thinner staff, but they got back-to-back lights-out starts from Scott Migl and Kyle Thebeau. It can happen, but A&M needs to win-win-win and have this one over with. On paper, it sets well.

A quick peek at the big picture makes this all even more sensible. Streaky teams tend to stay on their streaks. An A&M regional victory further supports the notion, at least mentally, that they're a very good team. A&M then moves into a Super Regional, possibly against a tougher Rice team, and plays with immense confidence rather than the opposite.

The weekend effectively becomes binary; yes or no. Win, or don't. Have confidence for next weekend, or don't make it there it all. It's hard to envision a result where A&M moves on but isn't emboldened by the events that got them there.

And that, my friends, is all that you can ask for you.

See you at Olsen.


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