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Regional preview: #1 Texas - #3 Texas A&M 2.0

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The Longhorns and Aggies are set to face off once again in this hyped-up game amongst in-state rivals

Texas Sports // @TexasBaseball

When the NCAA Tournament committee put this regional together, it’s more than likely they intended on the Longhorns and Aggies playing at some point during the regional. Well, here we are, and that’s what we’re going to get.

The Texas Longhorns (38-20) and Texas A&M Aggies (40-20) are squaring off in the winners bracket after both teams breezed through their opening round games, scoring multi-digit runs and displaying superior pitching.

This will be the second time this season that the ‘Horns and Aggies get the opportunity to play one another. In this first matchup, A&M got the better of Texas, squeezing by with a 6-5 victory at Blue Bell Park in a midweek tilt back in April. You can find the recap here.

Texas A&M leads the SEC with a 3.20 ERA and boasts an impressive trio of starting pitchers. The ‘Horns are most likely set to face A&M’s ace Mitchell Kilkenny (8-4, 3.00) Saturday night. The junior right-hander started the season 8-0 but has lost his last four decisions. The Aggy bullpen is led by closer Nolan Hoffman (4-1, 1.24) who leads the SEC in saves with 14 and could see some action tonight.

The Aggies are not a particularly power hitting team but are extremely tough outs and can make contact with the ball. They trial only Ole Miss in hits, but are middle of the pact in home runs and slugging percentage. A&M is led at plate by second baseman Michael Helman who is batting .367 with 34 RBI’s, 14 doubles and six home runs. Other players to watch are first-team all-SEC shortstop Braden Shewmake, Zach DeLoach and Logan Foster.

Texas is set to throw junior right-hander Nolan Kingham (7-3, 4.26). Kingham is coming off a decent performance in the Big 12 tournament against Oklahoma, but prior to that has won six out of the last seven for the ‘Horns. Texas will have a full bullpen to work with thanks to a strong outing by Chase Shugart last night.

The teams have played each of the past three seasons with the home team winning all three games by one run. The Longhorns will be looking to score revenge on one of their most hated rivals.

First pitch for Saturday is set for 6:00 P.M. CT and the game will air on ESPN2.

The winner of the game advances to Sunday evening’s championship game. The loser has to play Sunday afternoon in an elimination game against the winner of the Indiana/TSU game.