Frogs beat Gators, force another final

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 26, 2017

The Horned Frogs could only afford one loss in bracket play at the College World Series in order to advance to their first finals in program history, but unfortunately for TCU, they were matched up against 2017 Major League Baseball first round draft pick in Florida's Alex Faedo in the semifinals for the championship game.

And as we've seen time and time again now, when Papierski does get in those plus counts and sees the fastball he's waiting on, they don't stand a chance. Former Alonso standout right-hander Alex Faedo was the UF victor both times, on June 18 and Saturday night, leading TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle to say: "I'm sure there's a day I'll go to pay a pretty penny to watch him in the big leagues". They are really a scrappy team.

"To lose four games the entire season, and we beat them two days in a row, it's hard to predict those things to happen, but that's why you have to play the games", Mainieri said. In the Gators' 31 previous CWS games, only one of their pitchers struck out nine. Steven Kwan opened the frame with a single past Cole Freeman, marking the first hit Hess has allowed in the CWS. The Houston Astros' ninth-round draft pick has hit three of the Tigers' CWS-leading seven homers. "But I know there will be a time when they will get to sit back and reflect and realize what they accomplished". "We've got a gritty bunch".

"Obviously it was a phenomenal ball game to watch, and I'm sure it was a great game to play in", said LSU coach Paul Mainieri after the win. Beau Jordan then slapped a double to left field, putting runners on second and third for Papierski.

Florida pitchers have recorded 52 strikeouts, best among all teams in Omaha. Alex Faedo pitched 7 1/3 shutout innings with 11 strikeouts for the Gators.

Stepping up against Beavers starter Bryce Fehmel with two on and two out in the second, the catcher swung at a 3-1 pitch and hit a towering drive that carried into the stands in right-center to put the Tigers up 3-0. For the season, he's 9-2 with a 2.26 ERA and a program-record and NCAA-leading 157 strikeouts. Gator runs in the second, fifth and seventh innings gave Florida and Faedo enough of a cushion to end TCU's 2017 campaign.

That's how the College World Series ended up with an all-SEC final for the first time since SC defeated Florida in 2011.

But after dropping Friday's game against the Tigers and now facing elimination, there's a lot more on the line for the nation's No.1 team.

This rematch is a day after the No. 4 Tigers snapped the No. 1 Beavers' 23-game win streak, in a 3-1 victory.

Papierski got the scoring started on Saturday when he crushed a three-run home run in the bottom of the second that put the Tigers ahead 3-0, a lead they would never relinquish. LSU and Florida will start to play the 26th of June at 7 pm on ESPN for the College World Series Champion. The Gators lost one game each in regional play (Bethune-Cookman), in a home Super Regional (Wake Forest) and here three nights ago when TCU barreled to a 9-2 victory.

"Just what an awesome experience it is to be here", Schlossnagle said. "We think this weekend was kind of a glimpse of what he has in his toolbox".

The Tigers tacked on single runs in the third, fourth and sixth innings to build a 6-0 lead.

"It's going to come down to who executes". Brian Howard and Mitchell Traver appeared in all four of the Horned Frogs CWS berths, Elliott Barzilli played in three, and five seniors played in half of TCU's four consecutive trips to the CWS: Nolan Brown, Mason Hesse, Ryan Merrill, Cam Warner, and Evan Williams.

"It was amusing for the first day, maybe first day or two", he said, "and then you wake up day three, day four, and you're like, 'I still got blond hair.' I look at the board after a play, and I'll see myself and kind of jump".

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