OMAHA-As he watched his team strike out eight times in the first three innings Friday against Florida righthander Jackson Kowar, Texas Christian coach Jim Schlossnagle said he began to wonder if a team had ever struck out 20 times in a game at the College World Series.
He and mound mate Brady Singer had staked the Gators to a 2-0 start in Omaha while TCU has had to scrap its way back through the losers bracket with wins over Texas A&M (4-1), No. 7 Louisville (4-3) and then the Gators on Friday night.
Not many saw the Tigers defeating Oregon State on Friday, but LSU came out to play and were able to put the country's best team on the back foot heading into Saturday's crucial matchup.
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik). Fans in the left field bleachers play with inflatables during the third inning of an NCAA College World Series baseball game between TCU and Florida in Omaha, Neb., Friday, June 23, 2017.
The teams will meet again Saturday, with the victor going to the best-of-three finals beginning Monday.
The odds favor the Gators and Beavers. "They're an aggressive-swinging team and we made plays behind him". This is, after all, the year of the favorites in Omaha.
Just be careful how you deliver the news to TCU and LSU players that they face a long climb, statistically and by way of the eye test. "And I think once we strung a few hits together, it kind of up and down our lineup said we have a little confidence, and we just kind of rolled with that". "If we play our game, the results will take care of themselves. Maybe I can take a little pressure off them by moving them down a little bit".
Not even a career-high 11 strikeouts by Kowar prevented the Gators from dropping their first game here Friday. "It got away from us". "I'm excited for this opportunity".
The victor of this game on Saturday night, will end up facing the victor of Oregon State and LSU. The Beavers are 56-4, needing a win Friday to establish a program-record 24 straight wins. "The whole year has been [about] starting pitching".
TCU, like the Gators, will be looking for their 50th win of the season.
Now the Horned Frogs get a second swing at the Florida ace.
Rivera is confident they can. "And they're absolutely loaded on the mound".
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - With TCU holding a one-run lead and two Louisville runners on base and two outs in the fifth inning, Sean Wymer got called out of the bullpen. Wymer probably couldn't offer much until next week.
The bats finally came alive for the Horned Frogs. With Wade at the plate, Milchin bounced the ball to the plate and reacted in pain, prompting UF coach Kevin O'Sullivan to remove him and summon Frank Rubio.
"I think the key to our offense here in this tournament in Omaha has been the bottom third of our line, and the ability to score at any time is big", Schlossnagle said.
For LSU and TCU, though, a good vibe persists. "He made pitches when he needed to, got ground balls when he needed them and I think without having his best stuff he did an incredible job of competing".
LSU coach Paul Mainieri dug deep to find a source for his positivity.
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