Then they ran into a human buzzsaw, in the form of Coastal Carolina pitcher Andrew Beckwith.
Beckwith threw his second straight complete game of the CWS, allowing six hits and one run on a whopping 137 pitches, 101 of which were strikes.
“I thought Beckwith was the story of the game,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “He was outstanding.”
TCU’s Mitchell Traver allowed 3 earned runs over his 6.1 innings, and an additional unearned run meant that the Frogs dropped their first game of the College World Series, 4-1.
Coastal struck first in the 3rd inning, when a hit-by-pitch, a single, a squeeze bunt that turned into a base hit, an error, and a sac fly put two runs on the board.
After the 3rd, 23 consecutive batters from both teams failed to reach base, as Traver and Beckwith settled into grooves and went to work.
The streak finally ended in the top of the 6th, when CCU’s Kevin Woodall, Jr. drew a one-out walk. Tyler Chadwick singled him over, chasing Traver and bringing in Preston Guillory.
A sac fly from Billy Cooke brought Woodall home to make it 3-1. Light-hitting catcher David Parrett smacked a ground-rule double in the next at-bat to score Cooke.
TCU got on base in the seventh, but couldn’t find a way to bring Cam Warner home from a single.
In the eighth, Dane Steinhagen finally put the Frogs on the board with a solo shot to left field and end the scoring at 4-1.
The Frogs and Chanticleers will face off for the third time this week on Saturday at 7 p.m. Neither coach would reveal postgame who they would start on the mound Saturday.
The winner of this next game will go on to the CWS final; the loser will go home.
Though, as Schlossnagle said, his squad is heading into Saturday with a glass half-full attitude.
“We don’t have to play baseball tomorrow — we get to play baseball tomorrow,” Schlossnagle said. “We’re fired up to do that.”