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College World Series: Oral Roberts Edges TCU 6-5

 Matt Tallarini  |    Jun 17th, 2023 11:22am EDT

The Oral Roberts University baseball team celebrates its 6-5 win against TCU in the first game of the 2023 College World Series. (Photo Courtesy of ORU Athletics)

OMAHA, Neb. – The 2023 Summit League conference champion Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles played their first game at the 2023 NCAA Division I College World Series since 1978 and overtook the mighty 2023 Big 12 conference champion Texas Christian University Horned Frogs winning 6-5 in the first day of Bracket 1.

Golden Eagles senior second baseman Blaze Brothers hits a dramatic three-run home run with one out in the top of the ninth inning to lead Oral Roberts to victory.

“It was a great college baseball game. It just sucks that we lost. And I thought the effort, the grit, the determination, everything, they played the exact same way,” TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos stated during Friday’s postgame press conference. “It just didn’t go our way today. And this season hasn’t been easy the whole season. And so why not make it harder on ourselves now?” 

The Horned Frogs are making their first appearance in the College World Series since the 2017 season.

Oral Roberts University junior center fielder Jonah Cox had his hitting streak snapped at 47 games during Friday’s game.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Horned Frogs’ Cole Fontenelle launched a solo homer over the right center field wall for the first run of the game.

Horned Frogs starting pitcher Kole Klecker left in the top of the sixth inning after giving up a leadoff double to Oral Roberts left fielder Justin Quinn. Klecker threw five innings, allowing five hits, one earned run, walking one, and striking out one.

The Golden Eagles got on the board in the top of the sixth inning when redshirt senior third baseman Mac McCroskey launched a two-run home run over the right field wall to give Oral Roberts took a 2-1 lead.

TCU tied the game up in the bottom of the sixth when Fontenelle laced an RBI single to right field, scoring catcher Karson Bowen to make it 2-2.

Oral Roberts starting pitcher Jakob Hall wnet five innings allowing four hits, two earned runs, walking two batters, and striking out three.

During the bottom of the eighth inning, the Horned Frogs took the lead when Fontenelle drew a bases loaded walk and Elijah Nunez came in to score as TCU went up 3-2.

The next batter, second baseman Tre Richardson, got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Bowen came in to score to extend the lead to 4-2.

In the top of the ninth inning, Oral Roberts climbed back into the game as Drew Stahl singled to left center field, scoring McCroskey to cut the deficit to 5-3. A few batters later, Brothers came up with one out in the top of the ninth and launched a tape-measure three-run home run over the left field wall. Sam Thompson and Holden Breeze came into score and Oral Roberts took a 6-5 lead.

“So when Mac scored, our shortstop, he came around and he said, ‘he’s throwing nothing but sliders.’ That was kind of my approach, [to look for] something up, hanging. And he left me two hanging and I took advantage of it,” Brothers stated during the postgame press conference.

“We talked coming into it and we talked at length about our team and the way they hang in there and the toughness and the resiliency,” Golden Eagles Head Coach Ryan Folmar said. “And it sure was on display this afternoon… But I told our guys after the game, man, this is going to take everybody. It takes everybody here. Everybody’s got to have a part in this thing. And man, it was Blaze’s turn tonight.”

TCU will play at 2 p.m. EDT against the University of Virginia in the elimination round on Sunday. Oral Roberts University will play Florida  at 7 p.m EDT in the Winner’s Bracket on Sunday. All NCAA Division I World Series games are on the ESPN family of networks.