Horned Frogs Headed Back to Omaha

by BoCarter | Posted on Monday, June 12th, 2017
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Special –- June 11, 2017
By Bo Carter
The Texas Sports Daily, Sports Page Dallas, NCBWA, NFF
TCU Races to 4th Consecutive NCAA World Series Bid, One of Five Top Seeds to Advance
FORT WORTH, Texas – While North Carolina, Stanford and Texas Tech among the top eight 2017 NCAA Division I baseball postseason seeds were let scratching their heads over abrupt season endings, TCU skated to its fourth consecutive NCAA World Series by downing Missouri State 3-2 and 8-1 in the NCAA Fort Worth Super Regional.
While reeling off five consecutive NCAA regional and super regional triumphs to make the eight-team CWS field in Omaha, coach Jim Schlossnagle’s crew utilized a solid home field advantage to take care of a MSU crew coming off an upset victory in the NCAA Fayetteville Regional over host Arkansas.
And Schlossnagle acknowledged the road to Omaha (of the Toad to Omaha as some Horned Frogs fans have opined) is not easy as 299 NCAA Division I squads are tangling for the final eight places.
“We had great respect for the middle of the Missouri State lineup and the pitching staff,” said the TCU mentor. “I’m really excited to get this new ‘Omaha Bound’ NCAA World Series cap (smiling). Honestly, congratulations to Missouri State for a tremendous season, and this Super Regional was a tribute to two really good teams.
“This shows you the value of playing at home,” Schlossnagle added after being cheered on by crowds of 5,000-plus last Saturday and Sunday at Lupton Stadium. “This trip to Omaha is also a tribute to our determined players, the great commitment of our athletics administration, and a great group of fans. We’re going to try and see if we can around for a few more games in Omaha this year, too.”
The TCU taskmaster and players also were appraised that they have joined programs such as LSU, Southern California, Texas, and Arizona State as just the seventh program in 71 years of the NCAA World Series to earned four successive treks to the CWS.
It was accomplished mainly through a come-from-behind two-run home run by catcher Evan Skoug in Saturday’s 3-2 edging of the Bears and yet another Skoug blast and walk with the bases loaded in the sixth inning to stake the Frogs to a 5-1 advantage.
That was more than enough for TCU starter Brian (Big Game Howie) Howard who worked 7 1/3 innings, fanned 11 MSU hitters, walked two, allowed just a solo homer to MSU’s Hunter Steinmetz, and gave way to relief ace Sean Wyner who whiffed another four Bears batters to give TCU pitchers 15 for the day,
In fact, the Frogs surrendered just one solo shot to the Bears Jake Burger and Jeremy Eierman (with Eierman blasting a four-bagger in the Saturday tilt) after that duo entered the Super Regional with 44 dingers between. As a team TCU began the weekend with 54 home runs and lashed three more (two by Skoug and Elliott Barzilli’s sixth dinger of the year in his final at-bat at Lupton Stadium.
In the process, Skoug also became the first Frogs batman to reach 20 homers in one campaign since Chris Connally with a school-record 23 round-trippers in 1997.
It was just a case of too much and too late for 35-year head coaching veteran Keith Guttin and Missouri State.
“Congratulations to a great TCU team,” said the MSU baseball boss. “TCU had a collection of arms and a very disciplined group of hitters. They will be very competitive in Omaha. This Missouri State will go down in history as one of my best in 35 years with players of character. It was a group pf great people as well as great players, and I am proud of all of them.”
While TCU joined No. 1 overall seed Oregon State (54-4 overall, best record at this point in a DI season since Texas won the NCAA championship with a 59-6 mark in 1975), Florida State, Louisville, Cal State Fullerton, and longtime rival Texas A&M in the NCAA World Series Field, the Frogs are hoping for more “bonus stanzas” when Florida and Wake Forest resume their Gainesville Super Regional later Monday.
The Frogs face the Gainesville Regional winner on a date and time to be determined Saturday or Sunday in Omaha. Florida edged WF 2-1 in 11 innings Saturday before the teams played four innings with Wake leading 5-4 Sunday and the game being suspended by incessant rains and thunderstorms.
LSU and Mississippi State also were tussling late Sunday night and Monday morning in the NCAA Baton Rouge Super Regional with the Tigers leading the series after a 4-3 comeback triumph late Saturday night. The two Southeastern Conference powers were involved in several rain delays and moving into post-midnight activity Monday morning.
The opening tilt at Omaha Saturday is at 2 p.m. (CDT) with teams to be determined after the presentation of the 31st annual Dick Howser Trophy presented by The Game Headware at 10 a.m. (CDT) in the TD Ameritrade Stadium media room.
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