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 six hits in a 4-1 loss to Coastal Carolina at TD Ameritrade Park, leaving themselves facing an elimination game.
The Frogs (49-17) and Chanticleers (52-17) will play again at 7 p.m. Saturday for a berth in the championship series, each seeking their first appearance in the best-of-three final. A loss ends the season for either team.
“We don’t have to play tomorrow, we get to play tomorrow,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, whose team lost for only the third time in 19 games. “We get another game in the College World Series. We’re fired up to do that.”
Beckwith, a junior with only 14 walks in 102 1/3 innings coming in, threw 137 pitches in throwing his second complete game of the tournament. He beat Florida on Sunday with 98 pitches, so he was throwing on four days rest against TCU.
“We did have some good swings on him, but we had a lot of bad swings, too,” Schlossnagle said. “He had us off-balance. That’s what he does. For four years, I got to watch Preston Morrison do that.”
Beckwith (14-1) 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, he retired the next 13 batters.
By then, the Chanticleers, who lost to TCU 6-1 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. They took advantage of a hit batter, a misplayed squeeze bunt and an error in the third inning for a 2-0 lead and all the cushion Beckwith would need.
“We’re not too fazed,” TCU catcher Evan Skoug said. “It’s happened to us before. We’re going to come out here tomorrow, a new day, and we’re going to keep winning pitches and putting good swings on baseballs.”
TCU starter Mitchell Traver (1-3) 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 single 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 double-play ground ball at shortstop to load the bases, and cleanup hitter Connor Owings’ sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
In the seventh with one out, Traver gave up a walk and a hit, and reliever Preston Guillory allowed Cooke’s sacrifice fly and David Parrett’s ground-rule double to give Coastal a 4-0 lead.
“Traver was OK, but we gave up free bases,” Schlossnagle said. “Third inning, he hits a guy with a 3-2 breaking ball. We don’t get an out on a safety squeeze. We kick a double play ball. Later in the game, we air mail the cutoff man — had we not done that, they wouldn’t have scored another run in that inning on the ground-rule double. We didn’t play sound baseball tonight, but they played outstanding baseball.”
Coastal totaled four runs on four hits.
“They didn’t have any errors. Walks? One. And they didn’t give up free bases like they did the other night,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s why we keep the freebie totals in our classroom. When you don’t win the freebie war, there’s a real good chance you’re going to lose the game.”
Dane Steinhagen homered in the eighth for TCU. Skoug had two hits. Austen Wade tied the TCU single-season record for walks with 57 when he started the game with a free pass.
“He was really keeping the ball down when he would drop down inside, and when he’d go back over the top, he’d kind of leave balls up and we’d chase those balls,” Steinhagen said. “We weren’t able to get on top of those. It wasn’t a night to hit the ball in the air.”
But the Frogs get another night.
Beckwith and Parrett. Traver, Guillory (7) and Skoug. W—Beckwith. L—Traver. 2B—TCU: Watson. CCU: Parrett. HR—TCU: Steinhagen. E—TCU: Merrill.
TCU vs. Coastal Carolina
7 p.m. Saturday, ESPN
Arizona 9, Oklahoma State 3