TCU

Texas A&M uses four home runs to rip TCU, force Game 3

Texas A&M’s Jonathan Moroney, right, celebrates his home run with teammate Joel Davis during the sixth inning against TCU in College Station.
Texas A&M’s Jonathan Moroney, right, celebrates his home run with teammate Joel Davis during the sixth inning against TCU in College Station. AP

The second pitch of the game by Mitchell Traver resulted in a home run.

And started a roll toward another game in the College Station Super Regional between TCU and Texas A&M.

Traver, a junior right-hander drafted earlier in the day by the Cincinnati Reds, gave up three runs and four hits in the first inning, including a leadoff home run to J.B. Moss, and Texas A&M rode the momentum to a 7-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday night at Blue Bell Park.

The deciding Game 3 is set for 8 p.m. Sunday. TCU won the opener 8-2 on Friday night.

The winner of the series goes to the College World Series. TCU (46-16) is trying for a third consecutive trip. Texas A&M (49-15) has gone five times, the last in 2011.

The likely starters are right-hander Brian Howard for TCU and either Turner Larkins or Andrew Vinson for Texas A&M.

Traver’s first pitch of the game was very high, and his second was hit high off the scoreboard in left center by Moss. It was the sixth home run of the season for the senior center fielder from Tyler.

Traver rallied with a groundout and a strikeout, but singles by Ryne Birk and Michael Barash were followed by a throwing error at third base by Elliott Barzilli that allowed a run to score.

Joel Davis added an RBI single and it was 3-0 for the Aggies before TCU had batted.

Traver did not allow a hit in the next four innings, but in the sixth Jonathan Moroney homered to left center for a 4-0 lead, and Davis followed with a double.

Traver exited after getting a ground ball to shortstop — the 5 2/3 innings pitched was his longest outing of the season. He gave up five runs (two unearned) on six hits and two walks and struck out four.

Reliever Preston Guillory gave up the inherited run on Austin Homan’s double, and A&M led 5-0.

TCU had not trailed by as many as four runs since May 26 against Oklahoma State at the Big 12 tournament, when they trailed 4-0 in the first inning. The Frogs had not trailed by as many as five runs since May 14 at Baylor when they were down 7-0 in the sixth inning.

Since May 14, TCU had won 13 of 14 games.

Given the lead, A&M starter Kyle Simonds cruised. He faced three over the minimum and struck out six for the first six innings and allowed only one runner to third base, when Luken Baker doubled to lead off the second and took third on a groundout.

Evan Skoug, Ryan Merrill, Connor Wanhanen and Josh Watson were the only other Horned Frogs with hits. Merrill was erased on a caught stealing after leading off the third inning with his single. Skoug’s two-out single in the eighth inning provided the only TCU run.

Skoug and Barzilli walked in the seventh inning against Symonds, and Watson’s fly ball to center put runners at the corners with two outs. But Dane Steinhagen flied out to left center to end the inning.

Michael Barash and Hunter Melton hit solo home runs in the eighth inning off TCU freshman reliever Sean Wymer for a 7-0 lead. They were the Aggies’ third and fourth home runs of the game.

Horned Frogs coach Jim Schlossnagle said winning on the road in postseason will be as rewarding as anything for the players.

The Horned Frogs are looking forward to seeing their old teammate, pitcher Brian Howard said.

The Horned Frogs coach lays out how his team stacks up in talent and experience in a Super Regional series against Texas A&M this week.

TCU pitcher Brian Howard retired the last 17 batters he faced after some 'suggestions' from pitching coach Kirk Saarloos in a mound visit Sunday night in the Fort Worth Regional championship win.

 

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TCU

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Simonds, Vines (8) and Barash. Traver, Guillory (6), Wymer (6), Gooch (9) and Skoug. W—Simonds. L—Traver. 2B—TCU: Baker, Texas A&M: Davis, Homan. HR—Texas A&M: Moss (6). Maroney (5), Barash (5), Melton (12). SB—Texas A&M: Davis. E—TCU: Barzilli.

Records—TCU: 46-16; Texas A&M: 49-15.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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