TCU walked-off with a thrilling 5-4, 16-inning victory over Texas A&M to advance to its second straight College World Series Monday night in front of 7,294 fans.
Garrett Crain worked a 10-pitch lead-off walk to open the 16th. With two out and two on following a walk to Connor Wanhanen, Evan Skoug stepped to the plate. The freshman hit a rocket down the third base line that was knocked down. Racing all the way from second, Crain put the pressure on the defense. The throw home bounded past the plate, allowing Crain to slide across safely with the winning run.
The play capped off what had been a thrilling game with endless opportunities for both teams. TCU had the better of the opportunities in extra innings, but it could never find the big hit as the Horned Frogs stranded eight combined runners in four of the last five innings.
Mitchell Traver (9-2) was light’s out in extra innings. The redshirt-sophomore came on in the 11th and tossed four scoreless frames. He walked two and struck out six to pick up the victory.
Traver retired the first 10 batters he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Mitchell Nau in the 16th. A wild pitch on a strikeout of Logan Taylor had Nau standing on second. After an intentional walk to Nick Banks put two on, another wild pitch moved the go-ahead run to third. The Horned Frogs’ 25th strikeout of the night was huge as it brought the top of the 16th to a close, setting up the walk-off win.
Texas A&M opened the scoring with a two-out, solo home run from Michael Barash in the second inning. Young wiggled out of jams in two of the first three innings, stranding six Aggies, before settling into a rhythm through the middle frames.
For the Aggies, Tyler Stubblefield sailed through the first four innings, facing the minimum before issuing a lead-off walk to Evan Skoug. After a wild pitch, Derek Odell laced a single through the left side to drive in Skoug, tying the game at one. Keaton Jones followed with a double to center to put the Frogs in front 2-1.
The lead grew to three, 4-1, in the sixth. Another lead-off walk, this one to Cody Jones, scored on Connor Wanhanen‘s first career home run. The freshman launched the Andrew Vinson offering over the right field fence for a two-run bomb.
Texas A&M crept closer on a lead-off home run in the eighth from Banks that made it a two-run game, 4-2.
The Aggies completed the comeback in the ninth, scoring twice without the benefit of a hit. A hit batter followed by two walks loaded the bases with nobody out. Preston Guillory came on and minimized the damage, but the outs were to the right side, allowing the tying runs to score. With runners on the corners and two out, Guillory got a line out to keep it a 4-4 contest, helping send the game to extras.
Alex Young started for the Frogs. He allowed just one run on six hits, walked two and struck out a career-high 10 batters in 6 2/3 innings. Trey Teakell struck out four of the six batters he faced. Guillory and Brian Howard each tossed two scoreless innings of relief.
TCU improves to 49-13 overall. The Horned Frogs advance to the College World Series, where they will face-off against the No. 2 National Seed, LSU Tigers. First pitch is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. on ESPN.
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