OU in Review

It did not take long to go from a view of sheer optimism to pessimism when looking at the A&M baseball team. While nothing could go wrong a little more than a week ago, the Aggies were solidly handled by Oklahoma in the last series of the year. Websider's Lanny Hayes takes a look at what the Aggies must do now.

Where do we go from here?

Everything seemed to be going right for the A&M baseball team. Even with last week's series loss to league champion Texas, the team appeared to gel and was loaded up for a postseason run.

Perhaps they still are loaded up for that, but they apparently forgot to finish the regular season. The Oklahoma Sooners swept the Aggies in Norman this past weekend, wrapping a pair of tough 6-5 wins around Saturday's 9-0 blowout of a seemingly uninspired A&M club.

Hardly anything went right for the Aggie club this weekend, as they hit just .188 against a Sooner pitching staff that was not considered among the better ones in the league. Instead, this weekend, they looked like a team of All-Americans against an A&M line-up that was hitting .336 in their previous 18 contests. The Aggie drove almost all of their runs in courtesy of the long-ball (six homeruns generated eight of the team's 10 runs), and again hit abysmally with runners in scoring position.

Oklahoma's bats beat A&M in Friday's homerun derby, then didn't need much to make Saturday's two-hitter holdup. A&M allowed four unearned Sooner runs to score on Sunday, effectively taking away any chance of salvaging the final game and, as things turn out, probably seeing any more baseball at Olsen in '09.

Aggie fans may cling to some very minor hope of hosting in the first round, and they'd have a little bit of recent history on their side. The 2007 club hosted the first round with a similar RPI as the 2009 team, despite a 13-13 league mark.

However, don't count on that happening again this year. That '07 club went 28-2 outside of league play and featured the nation's #1 non-conference RPI. This year's club isn't too shabby there at all (#9 non-conference RPI), but there's just too many reasons to not let the Aggies host – most notably, the fact that there are many other deserving teams in the geographical region. This concern was noted in Aggie Websider's season preview, and it may have come to roost.

If there's any hope – at all – A&M has to win their first two games at Oklahoma City. Those contests come against two clubs that the Aggies are 1-5 against for the season (Missouri and Oklahoma), and A&M must find a way to stay in the committee's discussions as they begin meeting this Wednesday. A loss in either of those two games provides no hope at all, while even two wins probably just increases A&M from "very long shot" to "long shot."

The Ags really have no one to blame but themselves for their imminent first round road trip. A&M has been to just two different road locations for postseason play in the past twelve years – Houston and Baton Rouge. It would be difficult to imagine the NCAA sending the Aggies to Rice, yet again, but that's a more likely scenario if the Owls do not hang onto a national seed. Baton Rouge is also a possibility, where A&M would face one of the best teams in the country with LSU. Perhaps the best case scenario (outside of Houston, anyway) would be a trip to Fort Worth, where TCU is looking like a solid host team right now. The total wildcard would be the Aggies getting shipped far away, but don't count on that one; there are just too many host slots in the region and the NCAA loves to save on travel costs.

Outside of a week that's as crazy as this past week, at least from the opposite perspective, Aggie fans should be slowly packing their bags for the first postseason round. At the very least, A&M fans should be able to create a de-facto home field advantage in either Fort Worth or Houston.




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