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NCAA Fort Worth Regional: TCU Holds Off CCSU with Big Eighth Inning

The Horned Frogs advance to face Virginia in the winner’s bracket.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Coastal Carolina vs TCU Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Just after 2:00 a.m. ET Sunday morning, TCU survived a ninth-inning rally by Central Connecticut State, 9-6, to advance to the winners bracket of the Fort Worth Regional. The Horned Frogs will face Virginia at 5:00 p.m. ET.

Scoreless through four, both pitchers — Mitchell Traver for TCU and Brendan Smith for CCSU — threw regional-worthy games on Saturday. Traver in particular pitched 7.0 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out nine.

At the bottom of the fifth, the Horned Frogs would be the first to get on the scoreboard as Connor Wanhanen drew a one-out walk, stole second, and advanced to third after the Blue Devils errored on the throw down. Josh Watson’s first of two RBI doubles gave the Frogs the 1-0 lead.

TCU extended their lead to 3-0 on a two-out rally in the sixth. CCSU finally got on the scoreboard at the top of the eighth on a two-out double, but the TCU bats responded in force, putting together a big 6-run inning that would ultimately seal the game.

Each of the first six TCU batters would reach at the bottom of the eighth, with Austen Wade leading off with a double. Evan Skoug, who had been hit by pitches twice earlier, once on the helmet and once on the elbow, hit a big three-run homer to the right, while Elliott Barzilli lined a two-run double and Watson hit his second RBI double of the night.

The Devils didn’t make it easy, but their 5-run rally at the top of the ninth fell short of the comeback. TCU’s Jake Eissler came in to try to get the save, but opened the ninth allowing three straight hits, including a lead off triple. The Frogs would ultimately need to go back to the bullpen to Durbin Feltman for the final out and the 9-6 save, so an evening that started with a gem of a game from the starter turned into needing three relievers to close it out.

On the day, TCU scored 9 runs on 10 hits while committing four errors. Skoug hit his 17th homer on the season.

When asked about the match-up with UVA, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle described it as a “ridiculously awesome game with incredibly talented players and Big Leaguers all over the field.”

“That’s what you want, man. ... Hopefully the weather cooperates. Our guys will be ready to play. Whether they play well or not, I don’t know, but it’s gonna be an awesome experience.”

Virginia and TCU square off around 5:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. CT. As of 8:40 a.m. this morning, the weather in Fort Worth is partly cloudy, but with scattered thunderstorms expected to start around 5:00 p.m.