TCU’s Tre Richardson gives TCU infielder Brayden Taylor (55) a high five while celebrating their win over Virginia in a baseball game at the NCAA College World Series in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, June 18, 2023. (AP Photo/John Peterson)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
OMAHA, Neb. – The TCU Horned Frogs remain alive in the 2023 NCAA Division I College World Series after knocking off No. 7 Virginia 4-3.
TCU’s pitching staff held Virginia’s offense, which led the nation in batting average at .334, to five hits and two walks during Sunday’s win.
In the top of the first inning, the Horned Frogs’ Cole Fontenelle lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring second baseman Elijah Nunez.
During the bottom of the first inning, Virginia tied the game up at one apiece when third baseman Jake Gelof’s ground ball to Horned Frogs shortstop Anthony Silva scored shortstop Griff O’Ferrall to make it 1-1.
In the top of the third inning, TCU took the lead once again when Fontenelle’s ground ball to Virginia first baseman Ethan Anderson allowed Karson Brown to score to make it 2-1.
TCU senior starting pitcher Sam Stoutenborough went 4.2 innings, allowing two hits, one earned run, walking two batters, and striking out three.
In Omaha, “You are going to need some guys to be able to come in and throw some quality innings that haven’t pitched in a little bit,” said TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos. The Horned Frogs got just that, getting 4.1 innings of work from relievers Garrett Wright and Ben Abeldt, who combined to allow two runs on three hits.
From the other dugout, Cavaliers starter Connelly Early kept the game close, going five innings and allowing six hits, two earned runs, walking three, and striking out two.
During the top of the sixth inning, TCU extended the lead to two when center fielder Elijah Nunez ripped an RBI single to center field, scoring Andrew Silva to make it 3-1.
In the bottom of the seventh, Virginia inched closer when first baseman Ethan Anderson lifted a solo home run over the left center field wall to make it 3-2.
The Horned Frogs extended the lead to 4-2 in the top of the eighth when senior right fielder Austin Davis drove a double past the outstretched glove of Cavaliers center fielder Ethan O’Donnell near the wall as Silva came in to score to make it 4-2.
During the bottom of eighth, Virginia clawed back a run when O’Donnell drove in Harrison Diadwick with a fielder’s choice to make it 4-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Cavaliers’ Casey Saucke laced a single to center field and TCU Elijah Nunez bobbled the baseball, allowing Saucke to get to second base and put the tying run in scoring position with two outs. The next batter, designated hitter Anthony Stephan, struck out swinging, ending the game and keeping TCU alive in the College World Series.
Horned Frogs relief pitcher Garrett recorded the win for TCU as he threw 2.2 innings allowing two hits, two earned runs, no walks, and striking out four batters.
“TCU did a great job. The starter did a really good job. Our approach was not great against him. But he did a nice job of mixing his off-speed pitches and held us down,” said Virginia head coach Brian O’Connor. “And certainly TCU has some powerful arms in their bullpen and did a great job.”
TCU will play Oral Roberts on Tuesday 2 p.m. EDT on ESPN.