With two outs in the 16th inning, Texas A&M mishandled a grounder to third base and TCU’s Garrett Crain took advantage, scoring from second base and lifting the Horned Frogs to a 5-4 win over the Aggies to clinch a berth in the College World Series.
TCU also beat A&M on Saturday in the NCAA Fort Worth Super Regional. The series-clinching victory — a game that started at 7 p.m Monday and ended just past 1 a.m. Tuesday — sends the Frogs (49-13) to Omaha for the second year in a row and for the third time in the last six seasons.
And their final rally all started with Crain’s 10-pitch walk to lead off the 16th, as nearly all of the 7,294 announced crowd remained in Lupton Stadium.
After a pair of flyouts, Crain was on second and Connor Wanhanen on first when Evan Skoug sent a two-out grounder down the third-base line. A&M’s Ronnie Gideon fielded it cleanly at first but mishandled the ball before the throw, as Crain rounded third. Gideon’s throw home skipped past catcher Michael Barash, and TCU players flooded the field.
The Frogs will play LSU at 2 p.m. Sunday at Omaha’s TD Ameritrade Park.
To get there, they had to get four shutout innings in relief from right-hander Mitchell Traver, who struck out six, including G.R. Hinsley with runners on second and third to end the Aggies’ 16th.
In the 15th, Keaton Jones reached on a single to right field, a line drive that was dropped by a sliding Blake Kopetsky. Jones then was caught stealing on a hit and run, and Nolan Brown struck out to end the inning.
Crain singled and then advanced to second base on an error to start the 14th for TCU. Cody Jones was then walked, bringing up Fagnan, who bunted Crain and Jones up a base.
Skoug then drilled a line drive that ricocheted off A&M pitcher Ryan Hendrix. But the Aggies, thanks to a heads up play by first baseman G.R. Hinsley, were able to throw home, forcing out Crain. Evan Williams then grounded out to shortstop.
The Aggies (50-14) scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game. Both were charged to TCU closer Riley Ferrell, who hit his first batter and walked his second before getting pulled. Against Preston Guillory, Mitchell Nau grounded out to score Barash, and Logan Taylor grounded out to score Blake Allemand.
With the bases loaded, Nau’s grounder to first base was fielded too deep for Jeremie Fagnan to throw out Barash at home. Taylor’s ball to Garrett Crain came with runners on second and third, eliminating the chance of an inning-ending double play.
Odell broke up A&M starter Tyler Stubblefield’s no-hitter with an RBI single in the fifth. Keaton Jones then followed with an RBI double, and Wanhanen homered in the sixth, putting TCU up 4-1.
TCU’s offense had time to warm up as Young settled in.
After stranding three A&M runners in the first and giving up a homer in the second, he retired nine of 10 batters from the fourth through the sixth, including striking out the side in the sixth.
His slider helped him in a big way early on, using the pitch for inning-ending strikeouts in the first, second and third inning. He stranded six batters during that span. Michael Barash’s solo homer was the only run that scored.
Reliever Trey Teakell recorded the final out of the seventh. The right-hander, who threw four shutout innings Saturday, gave up a solo homer to Nick Banks in the eighth, cutting TCU’s lead to two runs. But he came back with three strikeouts to end the inning, before the Frogs went to Ferrell in the ninth.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760