OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — For Alex Young, this was the hardest of hard-luck losses.
Young had a no-hitter going through six innings against defending national champion Vanderbilt at the College World Series on Tuesday night, only to have Zander Wiel homer leading off the seventh for the only run in the Horned Frogs’ 1-0 loss.
“It was one mistake, and his bat ran into the ball,” Young said. “Just bad luck.”
Now TCU (50-14) must play LSU in an elimination game on Thursday, with the winner getting a crack at the Commodores (49-19) on Friday.
Frogs coach Jim Schlossnagle said he’s not worried that his team would be deflated after a disappointing loss.
“They’ll be ready to play,” he said. “That doesn’t guarantee success at all. But we certainly feel confident in our pitching staff, and that can give us a good chance.”
Young (9-3) gave TCU a great chance against Vanderbilt, but the Frogs couldn’t break through for runs against Philip Pfeifer and Kyle Wright.
Young flummoxed Vanderbilt for six innings, striking out a career-high 12 batters. Wiel drove out the junior left-hander’s 2-1 changeup just inside the left-field foul pole for his 15th homer of the season. Young left after Rhett Wiseman doubled with two outs in the eighth.
Pfeiffer (5-5) and Wright allowed five singles and walked four, but the Horned Frogs went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position. Wright earned his fourth save.
It was the second straight narrow win for the Commodores. They came back from a 3-0 deficit on Monday to defeat Cal State Fullerton 4-3 on Jeren Kendall’s walk-off home run, and they made the most of their three hits against Young, a second-round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Trey Teakell.
With Virginia’s 1-0 win over Florida on Monday, this marks the first year since 1972 that there have been two 1-0 games in the CWS.
The first six innings weren’t entirely smooth for Young. The Commodores loaded the bases in the third on a passed ball on a strikeout, a throwing error on Young and a walk. Young struck out Rhett Wiseman and Dansby Swanson to end the threat and begin a stretch of 11 straight batters retired before Wiel went deep.
“The key for Alex his entire career is that he’s been so great at managing his way through the adversity that comes with being a starting pitcher,” Schlossnagle said. “He did that last week against Texas A&M (in super regionals) and then caught his rhythm.”
TCU threatened in the seventh when Keaton Jones singled and took second on a throwing error. But Pfeifer got out of it, getting a flyout and strikeout before second baseman Tyler Campbell went into the outfield grass to pick up a grounder and throw out Cody Jones.