TCU ends Oral Roberts’ surprising run; will face Florida next at CWS
Published 10:36 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2023
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — TCU used a four-run fifth inning to take control of the game and went on to beat Oral Roberts 6-1 in a College World Series elimination game Tuesday, ending the Golden Eagles’ surprising postseason run.
The Horned Frogs (44-23) will play Florida next and would need to defeat the No. 2 national seed Wednesday and again Thursday to reach the best-of-three finals.
TCU avenged Friday’s 6-5 loss to the Golden Eagles and has won two straight to put itself in position to play for its bracket title.
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“We’re playing in Omaha and in an elimination game,” starting pitcher Cam Brown said. “I think that’s the motivation we needed. We’ve been doing it all year with our backs against the wall. There’s nothing that needs to be said between all of us. Through everything that we’ve been through this entire year, we’ve really grown and meshed as one unit.”
Frogs coach Kirk Saarloos said his team’s midseason struggles prepared it for pressure games. The Frogs had a run of losses in six of seven games in April, putting their NCAA Tournament hopes in peril.
They ended up with the Big 12’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament, but they didn’t feel good about their at-large chances until they won their final regular-season series at Kansas State.
“We’ve been playing kind of this style or this type of game situation for six weeks,” he said. “It’s just what they’ve been doing. Now there’s a second deck on the stadium, and there’s 23,000 people. I don’t think it’s changed anything.”
It was a rough ending for ORU (52-14), the first No. 4 regional seed in 11 years to reach the CWS. The Eagles of the Summit League scored their fewest runs since March 12 and lost consecutive games for the first time since that same date.
“I thought we played pretty sloppy all the way around,” ORU coach Ryan Folmar said. “When you score one run against good clubs, it’s not a recipe to win for sure.”
The rematch with the Horned Frogs was the most lopsided game of the CWS, and the Eagles’ 1-2 finish here was the same as that of the 1978 team that made ORU’s only other appearance.
The Eagles were 2 of 16 with runners on base against TCU, and the game ended with the bases loaded when Matt Hogan struck out for the fifth time.
“We left another 12 guys on base today, 13 Sunday,” Folmar said. “We could never get that big swing.”
TCU’s first two runs came without a swing of the bat. Brooks Fowler (9-2) walked in a run in the second inning, and Joshua Caravalho’s balk brought in another in the fourth.
The Frogs added four more in the fifth, with Anthony Silva’s two-run single making it 6-0.
“I stuck my bat out there and found some grass,” Silva said.
ORU couldn’t capitalize on early scoring opportunities against Brown and Luke Savage (6-4). The leadoff batter reached base four of the first five innings, but only one scored.
The Eagles went 24-3 to end the season, and their 52 wins are a school record. The only other No. 4 regional seeds to advance as far were national champion Fresno State in 2008 and Stony Brook in 2012.
“I think if it’s ever going to end, this is where you want it to end,” Folmar said. “I don’t think today is by any way going to define our season. But, man, what a great run. I’m so thankful to be part of such a historic group that made a run like this.”