COLLEGE STATION -- TCU's season was up against the ropes, so a boxing metaphor seemed appropriate for coach Jim Schlossnagle's message to the team before Saturday's elimination game with Dayton.
If the Horned Frogs' season was going to end, they were going to go down swinging. And swing they did.
TCU took out a season's worth of offensive frustration and stayed alive in the NCAA Tournament with a 28-12 outburst against Dayton at Blue Bell Park.
TCU (37-20) plays Texas A&M at 12:35 p.m. today. If the Horned Frogs win that game, they advance to play Ole Miss at 6:35 tonight.
If TCU wins twice, then tonight's opponents will have a rematch at 6:35 p.m. Monday to see who advances to the Super Regional.
The 28 runs were the most by TCU in Schlossnagle's nine-year tenure and TCU's most since scoring 30 against Louisville in 2003. It's the fifth-most runs in NCAA postseason history, and 22 of them came in the final four innings after TCU fell behind 9-6.
Eight TCU players had multi-hit games, including freshman Jerrick Suiter, who had a career-high five hits and added three RBIs.
The Frogs hit four home runs, five doubles and a triple and compiled a season-high 23 hits. Senior outfielder Brance Rivera was on base four times and had a grand slam in the Frogs' season-high nine-run ninth.
Rivera had a career-high six RBIs, the most for a TCU player this season. His squeeze bunt in the second inning scored two runs and gave TCU a 4-0 lead. Rivera was hit by a pitch three times and scored four runs.
"We have to be aggressive," Rivera said. "We're not going to go down not getting our swings off. We're not going out being passive. I think today showed just how well we can take a blow and come right back from it. From here on out it's an elimination game, and we have to play like it. I don't want my season to end [Sunday]."
Pitcher Justin Scharf, making his 35th appearance this season, earned the win with 1 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. He held the Flyers (31-30) to four runs in the fifth after they built a 9-6 lead against Trey Teakell. Andrew Mitchell started the game for the Frogs but came out after allowing four runs on two hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.
Down three, TCU exploded for seven runs in the sixth, taking advantage of two errors and wildness from Flyers closer Burny Mitchem.
TCU batted around for the third time in the seventh and added six more runs, including Kevin Cron's two-run homer, to lead 19-9. The Frogs finished with a nine-run ninth, including a three-run pinch-hit home run by Josh Gonzales and Rivera's grand slam.
"I just wanted to go up there and hack, and that's what I did," said Josh Elander, who was 2 for 4 with his ninth home run of the season. "We knew we were going to score a bunch of runs. This is a good place to hit."
Nick Frey held the Flyers to one hit in 2 1/3 innings of relief. Dayton's Robby Sunderman hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Axel Johnson, who was in to save the Frogs' bullpen for Sunday.
"You wouldn't get in a street fight and not swing," Schlossnagle said. "You have to go down swinging, without being out of control. We wanted to be aggressive, and that's how we approached today."