The Horned Frogs will get to spend more time in Omaha as they defeated the top-ranked LSU Tigers by a final score of 8-4 on Thursday night at TD Ameritrade Park.
The star of the night for the Horned Frogs was senior relief pitcher Trey Teakell, who came in to replace starter Mitchell Traver in the fourth inning with the game tied at 3-3.
Teakell went on to pitch 4 1/3 perfect innings for the Frogs as he retired 13 consecutive LSU batters.
After the game, TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said that Teakell can pitch against any team because of his three pitch command.
“He matches well with anybody because he just commands the baseball with three pitches,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s equally effective against right- and left-handed hitters, and he’s a really good athlete on the mound. Even when he doesn’t have his best stuff he still has that angle to the baseball and he’s got some deception in his delivery. And he’s just a — he’s the most valuable pitcher that’s been in our program maybe ever, since I — in 12 years, the most valuable.”
Teakell, who has only allowed one run on six hits in the NCAA Tournament, said Thursday’s night’s game was one of his favorite postseason matchups he’s ever pitched in.
“It’s probably been one of my favorite ones,” Teakell said. “Just because, I mean, I was able to really help my team in a big game. It’s probably the biggest game we played all year. Every game right now is probably the most important game of the season. That was probably my favorite just because of that aspect. And I got — I was fortunate to have a good outing today. So I felt good.
Before Teakell came in to replace Traver after LSU scored two runs on five pitches in the third inning. Against Traver, shortstop Alex Bregman led off with a single and was driven in by a Jake Fraley triple. Then Traver threw a wild pitch that allowed Fraley to tie the game.
Prior to LSU’s two-run third inning, TCU plated three runs in the second inning that began with LSU starter Zac Person giving up back-to-back singles to Evan Skoug and Dane Steinhagen. Person would then walk Derek Odell before he issued a free pass to Keaton Jones to walk in a run with the bases loaded. After Person struck out Nolan Brown, LSU head coach Paul Mainieri made the call to the bullpen to put in reliever Hunter Newman. On the next pitch, Crain ripped a single to right to score Odell and Dane Steinhagen to put the Frogs up 3-1.
When the game was tied at 3-3 in the fifth inning, LSU reliever Austin Bain issued a lead off walk to Cody Jones and a one-out walk to Connor Wanhanen before Skoug scored both base runners with a double to leftfield. The freshman catcher would then be driven in by the next batter, Dane Steinhagen, who singled to right field.
Skoug nearly had another two-run at bat when he hit a ball to the wall in right-centerfield as LSU right fielder Mark Laird made a nice leaping catch that may have robbed Skoug of a two-run homer.
However, the Frogs would add two more runs anyway in the seventh inning. The frame began with a lead off walk to Cody Jones and a bunt-single by Jeremie Fagnan. Skoug would then get his third RBI of the night with a dribbler to the pitcher, before Steinhagen would get his third RBI with a single to center to put TCU up 8-3.
Steinhagen, who went 3-4 at the plate, said his offensive performance stemmed from advice given to him by his coach.
“I just felt confident,” Steinhagen said. “Before every at-bat, Coach Schloss told me to eliminate the curveball every time and that’s what I did. And it allowed me to be on time with that fastball, and I was ready for it every time.”
TCU will most likely need more hot hitting from the middle of their lineup, as they will play a rematch of Tuesday’s 1-0 shutout loss against Vanderbilt. The Horned Frogs must beat the Commodores twice in order to advance to the championship series. First pitch for Friday’s game is scheduled for 7 p.m.