The road to Omaha goes through Fort Worth once again.
In a rematch of Saturday night’s 22-inning marathon, the TCU baseball team beat Sam Houston State 6-1 to secure a super regional at home.
“I remember the day that I took this job, at night, I was here by myself,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle recalled. “I walked out in to dead center field and the thing I envisioned 11 years ago would be to play a super regional in this park.”
The first game lasted almost seven hours and the Frogs and Bearkats took until 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning to find a winner.
14 hours later, the two teams were right back at it. Thankfully, “Round 2” wouldn’t take nearly as long.
“We had to bring everything we had, despite all the chaos of yesterday,” sophomore left fielder and regional MVP Boomer White said.
“When you wake up [Sunday morning], it’s like, ‘Well, we just went through 22 innings and we gotta come play our best ball against a Sam team who is motivated as anyone after everything they’ve been through.
Looking for revenge, Sam Houston State staved off elimination earlier in the day to earn the rematch with a 9-2 win over Siena.
Freshman left-hander Tyler Alexander led the Frogs to their first ever Big 12 title last week. His name was called upon once again to get the start.
And once again, Alexander helped lead the Frogs to history.
In the top of the second, Corey Toups made it to third off a single, wild pitch and single. A suicide squeeze from Luke Plucheck gave SHSU a 1-0 lead, but TCU limited the damage to that lone run.
It would be the only time the Bearkats walked across home plate all night.
Led by Alexander, the TCU defense kept the Bearkats off the board for the rest of the game. Alexander allowed only six hits and a run in a complete game effort.
Crain was ruled safe on the play before Big 12 Championship MVP Jerrick Suiter hit a sacrifice chopper to score Cron and tie the game up.
A single to second base from Dylan Fitzgerald then got Crain to third with one out. A bunt from Keaton Jones went high on the ensuing at-bat, giving TCU its second out of the inning.
Fitzgerald then stole second, but Kyle Bacak struck out to end the inning.
The Bearkats would get back on base in the third. As was the case Sunday morning though, TCU had a response: a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Cody Jones kicked off the bottom of the third with a single up the middle. Odell then hit a sacrifice bunt and White grounded out on ensuing at-bats to move Jones to third.
Crain hit his second single of the day to give TCU its first lead of the night. The junior from Mustang, Okla., finished with two hits and an RBI.
Junior lefty Andrew Godail made the start for Sam Houston State, but wouldn’t last long. He was pulled for Nolan Riggs after allowing five hits and two runs in three innings.
It would only take until the bottom of the fourth for Riggs’ day to be over as well.
The Bearkats moved on to their third pitcher of the day, Alan Scott, after Kyle Bacak knocked in a single off Riggs to move a runner to third before SHSU made the change.
Odell would ground out on the ensuing at-bat to end the inning. The junior from Canyon, Texas, went 2-for-14 in TCU’s two postseason games against the Bearkats.
The game would remain 2-1 until the bottom of the fifth.
White led off with a high chopper before Cron executed a perfect bunt to put runners on first and second with no outs. Crain then hit a fielder’s choice, which moved White to third.
Suiter followed it up with a fielder’s choice of his own to bring home the hero of TCU’s first two games. The Frogs led 3-1 after five.
They’d finish with 14 total hits and six batters with multiple hits on the night.
White extended the purple and white’s lead in the bottom of the sixth with a double, which scored Odell and gave TCU a 4-1 advantage.
“Things are all starting to click,” White said. “It’s exactly what you want at the end of the year.”
A suicide squeeze by Cody Jones scored Keaton Jones from third base in the bottom of the eighth. Odell then knocked in his second straight double to score Jones and give TCU a 6-1 lead.
“I was real eager to come back [after last night’s game],” Odell said.
Alexander closed it out in the top of the ninth to give TCU the win.
With the win Sunday night, TCU wins the Fort Worth Regional and hosts the Fort Worth Super Regional this. If they can beat Pepperdine in a three-game series, the Frogs will be headed to Omaha for their first College World Series since 2010.