OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — TCU reliever Ryan Burnett is trying to make up for lost time at the College World Series.
Arm injuries kept him home for the Horned Frogs’ appearances the past two seasons. So far this year he has a win and a save in the first two games, with his 3 1/3 innings of no-hit shutout relief a big key in TCU’s 6-1 victory over Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night.
“I’ve been waiting two years on this,” Burnett said. “It’s definitely a blessing. I’m honored. I worked my butt off this fall, this spring, just to get here once again because I haven’t been able to travel the last two. I love it right now. It’s a great time.”
Adding some intrigue to Burnett’s comeback is the fact he’s been pitching all season on a torn ACL in his left knee. He’s 3-1 with a 2.05 in 30 2/3 innings and is the Frogs’ top left-hander out of the bullpen. Burnett, who has 30 strikeouts against six walks, plans to have surgery to repair the knee ligament after the season.
“For him to hang around and gut it out, it’s just an awesome testament to his character and strength,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
As a freshman in 2014 Burnett was granted a medical redshirt after injuring his elbow about a month into the season. Last season he made 10 appearances before getting hurt again on April 3.
“I’ve been Ryan’s roommate for three years now, and it was the first two years when we went to Omaha and he couldn’t be there, it was really hard for me,” senior pitcher Brian Howard said. “I would go back to the room and be so excited about a win, and Ryan was very excited for us, but you could tell he wanted to be out there so bad.”
Burnett’s save Tuesday came in relief of Howard.
“To see him go out there and have the success he had against a lineup that’s one of the best in the country, it was one of my favorite moments since I’ve been a part of this program,” Howard said.
TOUGH TO BE A SEED
National seeds are 1-5 in the CWS, with No. 5 Texas Tech owning the only win. No. 1 Florida and No. 3 Miami have been eliminated. It will be the 17th straight year that the No. 1 seed won’t win the national championship. The only team to have done it was Miami in 1999.
Unseeded teams have won 10 of the last 12 titles.
BIG 12 IN SPOTLIGHT
The Big 12 will go into Thursday 20-4 (.833) in the NCAA tournament, including 5-1 in the CWS.
No conference to earn at least three bids has ever posted a winning percentage better than .760.
LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON
Tom and Josh Holliday are the first father-son duo to lead teams to the CWS. Tom was head coach at Oklahoma State from 1997-2003 and led the Cowboys to Omaha in 1999. OSU is in Omaha this year for the first time with Josh at the helm. Josh Holliday is the 17th man to reach the CWS as a player and head coach. Tom Holliday also is on that list.