Thank Jeremy Eierman, and his emphatic bat toss, for firing up the Lupton crowd, which in turn - according to Evan Skoug - fired up the team. And being in the stadium, I totally buy it - it was loud. And it was awesome.
When Missouri State’s Jeremy Eierman flung his bat following an 11-pitch walk in which he fouled off five consecutive pitches from Sean Wymer, it may have done the Horned Frogs a favor. Evan Skoug said it gave a subdued Lupton Stadium crowd something to get excited about. “I think that was fun for them, getting on him a little bit, getting after him in a respectable way,” he said. “I mean, they weren’t talking bad about him, but they were booing him, and that’s fine. I think it got the crowd back into it because when Sean punched out that lefty to finish the inning, we were all really excited. Kinda put some life back into us, put some life back into the crowd, and we just got fired up.”
Was it the greatest home run in TCU history? It’s certainly in the top three, along with the Curry Slam and Baker’s blast against Texas Tech in last year’s College World Series. Wherever it ranks, it’s something the player, and the fans, will never forget.
“It’s really hard to put that one in words,” Skoug said. “I’m very fortunate and very thankful. I mean, that was one of the cooler things I’ve done in my life.”
Game 2 is at 5 p.m. Sunday at Lupton Stadium, with TCU (46-16) bidding for a fourth consecutive trip to the College World Series and Missouri State (43-19) trying to extend the series to Monday. Neither team announced a starting pitcher.
“What an amazing baseball game,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “That one will go down as one of the most amazing ever played in this ballpark, as far as I’m concerned.”
Sure, we all wanted to beat the Bears, because of course. But they played a heck of a ball game on their side as well, and will come out looking to keep their season alive tonight in game two.
Coleman worked around five walks, a hit batter, two wild pitches and three passed balls by catcher Logan Geha, leaving with a 2-1 lead after striking out 10 and allowing just three hits in 7 1/3 innings.
The Bears (43-19) are seeking their second trip to Omaha in their second super regional appearance in the past three seasons. The other CWS bid was in 2003.
Jeremy Eierman hit his 23rd homer for Missouri State in the second inning, breaking a tie for the team lead with Jake Burger.
Skoug has absolutely carried his team over the last month or so, launching home runs at a ridiculous pace and giving the Frogs an emotional boost whenever they need it. This series is likely the last he will play at Lupton, and he has cemented his legacy once again.
“Somebody asked me in the press conference yesterday if Evan had done enough to go down as one of the great TCU players,” Schlossnagle said. “He certainly had long before today, but he definitely put a stamp on that tonight.”
After struggling through the first month and a half of the season, Skoug has hit 15 long balls in his last 32 games.
“It is really hard to put that [home run] into words,” Skoug said. “I’m very fortunate and very thankful. That was one of the coolers things I have done in my life.”
Lefty on lefty, they say. Well, it didn’t work last night. Skoug was ready. He’s spent his whole life getting ready for this.
“My dad was a lefty,” said the junior from Libertyville, Ill. “My brother was a lefty. Growing up, it seemed I was always hitting off left-handed pitchers.
“My dad put up a batting cage in our backyard, and it was always left-handed. And I had an outstanding hitting instructor in high school, who was a lefty.
“I put in a lot of work against lefties because I knew teams were going to try to bring in their left-handed specialists against me in big situations.”
Gary Patterson is the unquestioned number one. Fran at five? Man, guess there weren’t a lot of options.
Franchione was the clean-up man, and he made quick work. He led TCU to three winning seasons, two of which resulted in WAC Championships and bowl victories. The Frogs also earned their first top 25 ranking since the 50s under his command.
He traded purple for crimson pretty quick, but we don't need to talk about that.
No offense to UTSA, a program on the rise, but TCU playing the Roadrunners in the Heart of Dallas Bowl is not a step up from playing Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. TCU needs Kenny Hill to bring them higher than that.
The Horned Frogs, a 6-7 team last season, check in at No. 32 in Athlon’s national rankings and join Kansas State and West Virginia in a three-team group projected to finish 5-4 in league play. TCU’s projected postseason destination: a matchup against UTSA in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
That’s not exactly a return to the glory days from the 2014 and 2015 seasons, when the Horned Frogs posted a combined record of 23-3 under coach Gary Patterson with consecutive Top 10 finishes in the final Associated Press rankings. But it would mark a step up from last season, if such a scenario unfolds.