OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Sean Wymer struck out national player of the year Brendan McKay in two key situations while pitching 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, and TCU was on the right side of two close plays in a 4-3 win over Louisville in a College World Series elimination game Thursday night.
The Horned Frogs (49-17) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, with one of their runs coming on a play at the plate that withstood a video review. Wymer (6-4) limited the Cardinals (53-12) to two hits after they had pulled within a run on McKay’s 18th homer of the year and Logan Taylor’s first homer in 123 games.
McKay came up two more times with chances to tie the game or give Louisville the lead, but Wymer struck him out to end the fifth and eighth innings. McKay, the No. 4 overall pick by Tampa Bay in last week’s Major League baseball draft, was the Dick Howser Trophy winner as the nation’s top college player and also is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
Louisville coach Dan McDonnell was ejected in the eighth for arguing a call at second base. He was the first coach ejected in a College World Series game since Cal State Fullerton’s George Horton on June 18, 2007.
TCU advances to the Bracket 2 final needing to beat Florida on Friday night and again Saturday to reach the best-of-three championship series for the first time.
The Horned Frogs led 4-0 in the second inning against freshman left-hander Nick Bennett (5-1), who was making his first start since a regional win over Xavier on June 4. After Connor Wanhanen doubled in a run, Omaha native Ryan Merrill singled in two more to knock out Bennett.
Josh Watson scored the second run on Merrill’s base hit on a play at the plate that stood after a video review. The sliding Watson was able to touch home with his left hand as catcher Colby Fitch tagged his knee almost simultaneously.
Austen Wade followed with an RBI single off Adam Wolf to break an 0-for-15 slump.
The Cardinals scored each of the next three innings to pull within one. Josh Stowers singled in a run, McKay homered on the first pitch of the fourth and Taylor on the first pitch of the fifth to chase TCU starter Nick Lodolo.
McDonnell was ejected in the eighth inning after pinch runner Ryan Summers was caught stealing second. McDonnell sprinted out of the first-base dugout to argue with second-base umpire Mark Winters. The play was not subject to video review. TV replays showed Summers’ foot touching the bag as Cam Warner tagged his helmet.
Instead of calling on closer Durbin Feltman, TCU sent Wymer out for the ninth, and he worked around Devin Mann’s single to secure the win.
Drew Ellis came into the CWS as the Cardinals’ leading hitter, but he was 1 for 10 after popping out in the eighth with a runner on first.
NOT ALLOWING MUCH
TCU has allowed fewer than three earned runs in eighth straight games.
STRUGGLING AT TOP
TCU is in the bracket final despite its Nos. 1 through 3 hitters struggling. Wade, Zach Humphreys and Evan Skoug are a combined 3 for 29 in the CWS.