Florida ace halts TCU one game short of College World Series finals

TCU’s Cam Warner, right, reacts with the TCU dugout after losing to Florida in their College World Series elimination game Saturday in Omaha, Neb.
TCU’s Cam Warner, right, reacts with the TCU dugout after losing to Florida in their College World Series elimination game Saturday in Omaha, Neb. AP

Twice in one week at the College World Series, TCU faced Florida’s Alex Faedo.

That was two times too many.

The ace right-hander and first-round MLB draft pick tamed the Horned Frogs again and ended their season Saturday night on the doorstep of the CWS championship series.

Alex Faedo was drafted 18th overall by the Detroit Tigers in the 2017 Major League Baseball draft.

Faedo allowed just two hits and struck out 11 through the first seven innings of Florida’s 3-0 victory against TCU on Saturday night at TD Ameritrade Park, matching the numbers he put up Sunday in the CWS opener against the Frogs. This time, the Frogs drew twice as many walks — four — and hit balls harder, but none of it converted into runs.

“Alex Faedo again was just really, really tough on us,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

TCU was 2-for-10 with runners on base, including 0-for-4 with a runner in scoring position, and stranded seven. Nolan Brown struck out after two-out walks by Connor Wanhanen and Josh Watson in the second inning, and Watson struck out with runners at first and second in the seventh.

“He’s just an all-around outstanding pitcher,” said Wanhanen. “We got him on two consecutive days where he’s been really good.”

TCU (50-18) lost in the second CWS semifinal for the second consecutive year, falling short of their first championship series. Last season, Coastal Carolina beat the Frogs twice out of the elimination bracket on its way to the national championship.

After the opening loss to Florida, TCU won three elimination games to force Saturday’s second semifinal.

The Frogs defeated Texas A&M 4-1, Louisville 4-3 and Florida 9-2.

“We had a lot to lean on with Arizona and Coastal doing it last year, and felt like we had four legit starting pitchers that could give us a chance, and they did,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s just Alex Faedo got in the way.”

It’s just Alex Faedo got in the way.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle

TCU starter Jared Janczak, again pitted against Faedo, was sharper than in the first meeting against Florida when he walked five and lasted only four-plus innings.

Saturday, Janczak walked none and struck out seven, but single runs in the second, fifth and seventh innings left TCU playing from behind again against Florida, and Faedo was too tough to solve.

“He does a good job of mixing sliders in fastball counts and moving it to both sides of the plate, not getting predictable at all,” Wanhanen said. “We weren’t able to see any patterns. But it just comes down to he made pitches when he needed to and we weren’t able to string enough quality at-bats together.”

The Frogs put together another chance in the eighth when Austen Wade singled to left with one out to chase Faedo and Zach Humphreys singled against reliever Michael Byrne, who inherited a 2-0 count.

Evan Skoug and Cam Warner batted as the tying runs, but Skoug struck out and Warner flied out to right on a ball that sounded good off the bat but died high in the air.

“I was taking early in the count to see what he had,” Warner said. “I got a pitch out over the plate and I put a good swing on it, but it seemed that all the balls that we were hitting tonight were going to fielders.”

Florida advanced to play LSU, which defeated Oregon State 6-1 to win the other bracket earlier Saturday, in the best-of-three finals beginning Monday.

TCU, making its fourth consecutive trip to Omaha and fifth overall, fell to 11-10 all-time at the College World Series, including 8-8 at TD Ameritrade Park.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez





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Faedo, Byrne (8) and Rivera; Janczak, Feltman (8) and Skoug. W—Faedo (9-2). L—Janczak (9-2). 2B—FLA: Langworthy (9), Hicks (11); Schwarz (12). 3B—FLA: Hicks (1). HBP—FLA: Rivera (by Janczak). CS—FLA: Liput (7). Time—2:53. Att—18,093sd. Records: Florida 50-19; TCU: 50-18.

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