Luken Baker’s solo home run and RBIs from Austen Wade, Cam Warner and Michael Landestoy helped give TCU a 6-1 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night at the College World Series.
TCU (48-16) advanced to a Friday night game, awaiting Coastal or Texas Tech out of the elimination bracket, with two chances to win one game to reach the championship series. The Frogs, making their third consecutive College World Series appearance and fourth overall, have never played with that advantage in Omaha.
Baker’s home run to lead off the second inning was his second in as many at-bats at TD Ameritrade Park and his eighth in 18 games. His three-run homer in the ninth inning on Sunday lifted TCU past Texas Tech.
The freshman designated hitter from Spring singled in his next two at-bats, making him 14-for-30 in the NCAA postseason to that point. He walked in an eighth-inning at-bat.
TCU had the bases loaded with no outs to start the fifth and sixth innings but managed only three runs.
In the fifth, after Landestoy’s pop out, Wade walked to bring in Josh Watson for a 2-0 lead and Warner beat out a double-play relay to score Dane Steinhagen for a 3-0 lead.
In the sixth, after Watson’s walk loaded the bases, Steinhagen hit into a 4-6-3 double play that scored Elliott Barzilli for a 4-0 lead.
The Frogs almost got another run in the inning, but Coastal first baseman Kevin Woodall Jr. ranged deep to snag a ball from Ryan Merrill and toss in time to first.
Landestoy tripled in Omaha native Ryan Merrill with one out in the ninth inning for a 5-1 lead.
TCU starter Brian Howard went 5 2/3 innings, exiting after an RBI single by G.K. Young and a walk with two outs. Ryan Burnett entered to get the final out of the inning, retiring Tyler Chadwick on a line drive to left on the first pitch.
Burnett retired the first seven batters he faced, needing just 20 pitches.
Howard allowed six hits, a run, walked three and struck out seven. But he constantly worked with men on base. He faced 24 batters and got the benefit of two caught stealings, an out on the bases and an out off a sacrifice. He threw 101 pitches.
TCU has won its CWS opener each year it has reached Omaha. But the Horned Frogs lost to UCLA in 2010, to Virginia in 2014 and to Vanderbilt last year.
It was just the second meeting between TCU and Coastal. They played Feb. 23, 2007, at the Baseball at the Beach tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C., when Coastal won 11-6.