In a wild back-and-forth game, it was ORU who outlasted TCU in the first game of the 2023 College World Series, taking down TCU for a 6-5 upset victory.
The win advances ORU in the winner’s bracket where they will face the winner of Virginia vs. Florida. Meanwhile, TCU will head to the loser’s bracket, where it will face elimination against the loser of the same game.
Here are a few thoughts on the game and what it means for each team going forward.
TCU Throws the Bullpen to No Avail
Kole Klecker drew the start for TCU and went 5.0 IP with five hits allowed and one earned run along with one earned run and one walk. After giving up three hits to ORU’s Justin Quinn, Klecker got the hook and Kirk Saarloos went to the bullpen. Ben Abeldt entered the game in the sixth and gave very similar results over 2.0 IP, giving up one hit, one run, and one walk with one strikeout. Saarloos went with Luke Savage in the eighth, and it paid off. After a nine-pitch top eight, TCU put up three runs in the bottom of the inning, but ORU wasn’t going down without a fight. In the top of the ninth, Luke Savage caved, giving up four runs on five hits, and more importantly, gave up the lead. Now, it will be interesting to see how Saarloos handles the mound going forward, as TCU will face elimination the rest of the way.
An Improbable Comeback Lifts ORU
Fontenelle got the Horned Frogs on the board in the bottom of the fourth with a bomb to right center field on a 2-0 count, making it 1-0, TCU. ORU’s Mac McCroskey nailed a two-run homer to give the Golden Eagles a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but TCU battled back with a run in the very next frame, making it 2-2. Then, in the eighth, TCU came alive at the plate. The Frogs scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth on three walks and one hit batter from ORU star closer Cade Denton, who leads the nation in saves this season with 15. Then, his offense backed him up in a big way in the top of the ninth. Mac McCroskey got on base with a single, and Drew Stahl brought him home with a single. Then, with two runners on, Blaze Brothers played the hero, smashing an 0-1 pitch well over the left field wall, making it 6-5, Golden Eagles.
TCU Snaps Jonah Cox’s 47-Game Hitting Streak in Loss
Coming into today’s game ORU’s Jonah Cox had already made history, carrying a 47-game hitting streak into Omaha, the third-longest streak in NCAA history. However, against the Horned Frogs, Cox wasn’t able to keep the bat going as he went 0-5 at the plate during his first game in Omaha. As tough as it probably is to see that streak come to an end, Cox is probably elated to trade that in for a first-round win against the Horned Frogs in the College World Series. Oral Roberts scored six runs on the day, five of which came by the home run. Perhaps the harder stats to see for Horned Frogs fans though, is how the teams hit with runners in scoring position. ORU went 4-10 (.400) with RISP, while TCU went just 1-7 (.143).
TCU will need to bounce back on Sunday, as they’ll face the loser of Florida and Virginia at 1:00 p.m. CT.