Texas, Texas Tech and TCU makes three. A record three teams from the Big 12 are headed to Omaha and the College World Series after TCU defeated Pepperdine 6-5 in the deciding third game of their NCAA Super Regional series in Ft. Worth.
The game went down to TCU’s final at bat in the ninth inning before the winning run crossed the plate. Pepperdine, the champion of the West Coast Conference, took the lead 5-4 in the bottom half of the eighth on a leadoff single, a double and a sacrifice fly.
Second baseman Garret Crain opened up the ninth for TCU with a leadoff single. Designated-hitter Jerrick Suiter then beat out an infield hit to shortstop, putting runners at first and second with no outs. Right fielder Dylan Fitzgerald rocketed a double to right, scoring Crain with the tying and Suiter holding up at third. Two batters later, catcher Kyle Bacak laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that scored Suiter with what proved to be the winning run.
Pepperdine staged a threat in its half of the ninth, putting runners on first and third with one out on two walks. TCU closer Riley Ferrell struck out Pepperdine’s Bryan Langlois swinging to end the game and send the Horned Frogs to Omaha, one of three Big 12 teams in the field in this year’s College World Series.
Pepperdine (43-18) took a 1-0 lead in the first and increased it to 3-1 after two innings. The Wave added another run in the home half of the fifth, but the Horned Frogs scored one in the fifth and two in the sixth to tie the game at four apiece.
Freshman left-hander Tyler Alexander started the game for TCU and went three innings. He gave up three runs on six hits before yielding the pitching duties to Jordan Kipper in relief. Shortstop Keaton Jones had three hits in five trips to the plate to lead the Horned Frogs, who collected 13 hits off five Pepperdine pitchers.
TCU has now won 32 of its last 36 games and improved its season record to 47-16. The Horned Frogs are headed to the College World Series for the second time in their history and the second time in the past five years. They will open up action in the CWS on Sunday, facing Big 12 foe Texas Tech.