It was a dominating post season for the Frogs, who rolled through the clinching game to the tune of an 8-1 final, behind another stellar performance for Brian Howard.
Brian Howard (11-3) was at his postseason best once again for the Horned Frogs. After allowing a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first, he held the vaunted Missouri State offense in check. On the night, he surrendered just four hits, walked two and struck out 11.
TCU spotted Howard with a run in the top of the first on two out single from Cam Warner that plated Zach Humphreys. The freshman singled with one out and moved to third with heads-up base-running on a ground out.
It’s impossible to deny that the Frogs have built one of the premiere programs in the country as they head to their fourth straight College World Series and fifth since 2010. Brian Howard and Evan Skoug have cemented their legacies as two of the best ever along the way.
And when it was over, as the fireworks lit up the sky beyond center field, coach Jim Schlossnagle’s Horned Frogs didn’t seem to know whether to assemble the traditional body pile on the infield — a Frog pile? — or to act like they’ve been here and done that.
They have, you know. But the Frog pile won anyway.
You can’t be jaded about going to the NCAA College World Series. The ballcap atop Schlossnagle’s head after the game helped to prove that.
It’s become... tradition... you could say.
Evan Skoug homered for the second straight day, Brian Howard extended an impressive postseason pitching streak and TCU advanced to its fourth consecutive College World Series with an 8-1 super regional victory over Missouri State on Sunday night. Skoug's two-run homer gave the Horned Frogs (47-16) a 4-1 lead in the third inning after his two-run shot in the eighth of the opener erased a one-run deficit and sent TCU on the way to its first super regional sweep.
Big Game Howie did it again... hopefully he has two more of those in him. Watching him hop off the mound for the final time at Lupton was emotionally for him and the fans.
“The thing about Brian is you know that the bigger game, the more ready he’s going to be,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “When it’s on the line, when you have a chance to win a championship ... you want ‘Big Game Howie’ out there. He’ll go down as one of the greatest big-game pitchers in the history of this program.”
The 6-foot-9 righthander bounced off the field and waved his cap to the crowd in his final home start when he was pulled after striking out Missouri State home run leader Jeremy Eierman in the eighth. Howard hugged Schlossnagle on the mound.
“It’s just been the best four years of my life” said Howard, who has a 1.96 ERA in nine NCAA Tournament appearances. “And this stadium has been a huge part of it.”
With yesterday’s home runs, the #mashformicah campaign crested the $50,000 mark. His impact is still being felt, all across the country.
After Sunday’s 8-1 TCU win, Barzilli said Micah is an inspiration for this year's Horned Frogs team.
"He always is and he always will be," Barzilli said. "I was fortunate enough to get to experience him and have a relationship with him. We'll always remember him."
Before Sunday's game, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle presented Ahern with a ring from last year's College World Series run.
"I told him this is Micah's ring, but we're giving it to you," Schlossnagle said.
Ahern said the support of the TCU baseball team has helped his family with its grieving over the last year.
He sees some of Micah’s fighting spirit in this season’s TCU squad, which rallied from a late deficit to beat Missouri State on Saturday.
“The players were an inspiration for Micah in many ways, but he kind of inspired them,” Ahern said. “Never give up and keep playing until the very end.”