COLLEGE STATION (AP) – Second-seeded TCU defeated third-seeded Mississippi 7-4 on Monday night to advance to a super regional against UCLA.
The Horned Frogs won four straight elimination games in the College Station regional, including two straight against the Rebels, after dropping their opener against Mississippi on Friday.
“This is a big day in the history of our program,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said, “just by the way we went about it.”
TCU trailed 1-0 through three innings Monday but catcher Josh Elander and third baseman Jantzen Witte crushed home runs to left field in the fourth off Rebels starter Bobby Wahl, who allowed four runs over 4 1/3 innings in the loss.
“Those were just a couple of bad pitches on my part,” Wahl said. “I left two fastballs up high and they got good swings off of them.”
The Rebels countered with two runs in the fifth to grab a short-lived 3-2 lead, but TCU immediately scratched back with two of its own in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Keaton Jones and an RBI single by Kyle Von Tungeln. The Horned Frogs added a run in the sixth on an RBI double to left-center by Brance Rivera, and then cushioned their lead to 7-3 in the seventh with two more runs courtesy of RBI singles by Witte and Derek Odell.
“There was never really a time (earlier this season) when we were all clicking at the same time,” Elander said. “We’re playing great team baseball right now, and that’s not what we did at the beginning of the year.”
TCU starter Preston Morrison allowed three runs over 4 1/3 innings, while regional most outstanding player Justin Scharf (4-2) allowed a lone run over the final 4 2/3 innings to earn the victory.
“I just kept the momentum going, threw strikes and the defense behind me made plays,” said Scharf, who won two games in the regional in relief.
Witte led TCU with 2 RBIs Monday, while Witte, Von Tungeln, Elander and Rivera each collected two hits for the winners. The Horned Frogs (40-20) advance to their first super regional in two years, after finishing 1-2 last year as a regional host. Two years ago, TCU won a super regional at Texas to advance to the College World Series for the first time.
“2010 was a great year, but it was done in a different way,” Schlossnagle said. “We rode the backs of super pitching and good position players . this year it’s much more of a team concept.”
The Rebels wrapped up their season 37-26.
“As a coach you’re never prepared for this moment and what to say,” said Mississippi coach Mike Bianco, whose squad won its first two games of the regional before falling in the last two to TCU.
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