TCU recap: Horned Frogs fall in semis, 4-1

Coastal Carolina’s Anthony Marks scores behind TCU catcher Evan Skoug on a bunt by Billy Cooke in the third inning.
Coastal Carolina’s Anthony Marks scores behind TCU catcher Evan Skoug on a bunt by Billy Cooke in the third inning. AP

There is a reason teams want to reach the semifinals of the College World Series unbeaten.

They have a loss to give, and TCU gave it Friday night.

The Horned Frogs, handcuffed by junior Andrew Beckwith and his multiple arm angles, managed only five hits through eight innings in a 4-1 loss to Coastal Carolina at TD Ameritrade Park.

It was the first loss of the tournament for TCU and only its third in 19 games, forcing another game to decide a berth in next week’s championship series. TCU (49-17) has never played in the CWS final.

Beckwith, a junior with only 14 walks in 102.1 innings coming in, got a double-play ball from Luken Baker with runners on the corners to end the first inning, and after Josh Watson doubled with one out in the second and was picked off, retired the next 13 batters.

By then, the Chanticleers (52-17), who lost to TCU three nights earlier, had built a 4-0 lead on a squeeze and a sacrifice fly in the second inning and a sacrifice fly and a double in the seventh.

TCU starter Mitchell Traver had his strongest outing of the season, going a season-high 6 1/3 innings and striking out four. But a hit-by-pitch against No. 8 hitter Billy Cooke to start the third opened the door to trouble.

A sacrifice followed, and a hit put runners at the corners. No. 2 hitter Anthony Marks squeezed in a run and was safe when first baseman Connor Wanhanen was off the bag. Ryan Merrill booted a ground ball at shorstop to load the bases, and cleanup hitter Connor Owings’ sacrifice fly made it 2-0.

But that was all the damage, because Dane Steinhagen completed a double play by throwing out Marks at third.

In the seventh, with one out, Traver gave up a walk and a hit, and reliever Preston Guillory gave up Cooke’s sacrifice fly and David Parrett’s ground-rule double to give Coastal a 4-0 lead.

Dane Steinhagen homered in the eighth for TCU, and Ryan Merrill singled. But Beckwith, who threw a complete game Sunday against Florida with 98 pitches, got a ground ball and a fly ball to end the inning with 123 pitches at that point.

TCU had a chance in the first inning when Austen Wade walked to start the game and Evan Skoug singled with one out. But on an 0-1 pitch, Luken Baker topped a ball to third base for a double play.

TCU had only two at-bats with runners in scoring position before the ninth inning.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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