Former Belleville East star Drew Millas had a pinch-hit single for Missouri State with one out in the ninth inning, but a subsequent double play ended the Bears’ comeback attempt, as they fell to TCU 3-2 in a super regional opener Saturday night.
Evan Skoug’s go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning was the deciding factor in the Horned Frogs’ win.
Blake Graham, a designated hitter from Edwardsville, finished the night 1 for 4 with a strikeout for the Bears.
Skoug’s one-out shot just over the fence in right field — his 19th homer of the season — came on the fourth pitch from reliever Jordan Knutson (8-4), who replaced Dylan Coleman for a lefty-lefty matchup after the Bears starter threw a season-high 132 pitches.
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The rally put the Horned Frogs (46-16) within a victory of their fourth straight trip to the College World Series. TCU, seeded sixth nationally, has won its super regional opener each time, and the previous three went to a decisive third game. Game 2 is Sunday.
Sean Wymer (5-4) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings after TCU ace Jared Janczak struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings. Durbin Feltman got a game-ending double play for his 17th save.
Coleman worked around five walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and three passed balls by catcher Logan Geha, leaving with a 2-1 lead after striking out 10 and allowing just three hits in 7 1/3 innings.
The Bears (43-19) are seeking their second trip to Omaha in their second super regional appearance in the past three seasons. The other CWS bid was in 2003.
Jeremy Eierman hit his 23rd homer for Missouri State in the second inning, breaking a tie for the team lead with Jake Burger.
After Ryan Merrill pulled TCU even with an RBI single in the second, the Bears went back in front in the fifth when leadoff hitter Hunter Steinmetz bunted home Geha, who had doubled. Janczak gave up five hits and two runs, and Skoug’s blast helped him avoid what would have been his first loss in 10 decisions.
Tyler McAlister, a freshman pitcher from Waterloo, and Aaron Meyer, an infielder from Belleville West, did not play for the Bears.
TCU improved to 4-0 this postseason.
Texas A&M 12, Davidson 6
The Aggies used a seven-run rally in the eighth inning to topple the Wildcats and earn the Aggies’ first berth in the College World Series since 2011. A&M (41-12) swept its super regional after the Aggies also won 7-6 on Friday in the series opener against the Wildcats (35-26). The go-ahead run scored when second baseman Alec Acosta and third baseman Eric Jones collided trying to catch a two-out pop-up behind the pitcher’s mound. Two runs came home as the ball popped out of Acosta’s glove.
Florida State 7, San Houston State 6
Jackson Lueck had four hits, including the game-winner in the ninth inning, and four RBIs as the Seminoles (44-21) rallied from a four-run, second-inning deficit to defeat the Bearkats (44-22) in Game 1 of the Tallahassee super regional. Taylor Walls opened the ninth with a single and advanced to second after Dylan Busby was hit by a Nick Mikolajchak (0-4) pitch. Lueck then got his third walk-off hit of the season with a single to right-center to score Walls.
Louisville 6, Kentucky 2
Drew Ellis homered twice, Josh Stowers and Logan Taylor each delivered extra-base RBI hits and left-hander Brendan McKay scattered eight hits and two runs as Louisville topped rival Kentucky on Saturday and become the first school to clinch a College World Series berth.
A day after smacking a three-run homer in Louisville’s 5-2, opening-game win, the junior first baseman hit solo shots in the second and sixth innings to ignite a super regional sweep that returned the Cardinals (52-10) to the CWS for the third time in five seasons and first since 2014. Stowers followed with an RBI triple, and Taylor delivered the first of two eighth-inning insurance runs as Louisville remained unbeaten in the NCAA Tournament.
McKay (10-3) had to work at times but was effective, striking out nine in 6 2/3 innings to win a showdown with Kentucky ace Sean Hjelle (11-4).
Marcus Carson and Tristan Pompey knocked in runs for Kentucky (43-23), which made its first super regional appearance.