This is a must-read for Frogs fans, taking us down memory lane of some of the most clutch bullpen performances in TCU history. Wymer’s gem Thursday certainly joins this list. This is my favorite:
Brian Howard vs. Sam Houston State, May 31, 2014. The 22-inning game at Lupton Stadium at the Fort Worth Regional required 11 relievers combined from the Frogs and Bearcats. Trey Teakell had a 6.1-inning appearance for TCU. Ryan Brinley matched that with 6.1 for Sam Houston. Logan Boyd followed with three perfect innings for Sam. Howard, a freshman making only his ninth appearance, entered in the 16th inning with two out and two on and got a strikeout. He pitched until leaving with two on and two out in the 20th. Sam Houston was the home team. Any run would have meant the end of the game, dropping into the losers bracket and potentially no start to a four-year College World Series run.
In the battle of Wymer vs the #4 pick in the draft, Sean came out on top. Twice.
McKay came up two more times with chances to tie the game or give Louisville the lead, but Wymer struck him out to end the fifth and eighth innings. McKay, the No. 4 overall pick by Tampa Bay in last week's Major League Baseball draft, was the Dick Howser Trophy winner as the nation's top college player and also is a finalist for the Golden Spikes Award.
Louisville coach Dan McDonnell was ejected in the eighth for arguing a call at second base. He was the first coach ejected in a College World Series game since Cal State Fullerton's George Horton on June 18, 2007.
For what seems like the first time in forever, most of the breaks went TCU’s way Thursday night. Those breaks, combined with one of the most clutch performances in recent TCU pitching history, gave the Frogs the edge.
“It’s never about the best team. It’s only about the team that plays the best,” Schlossnagle said. “I think the Major League draft will show that Louisville has a much more physically skilled team than our team. And that’s not a slap to our guys. It’s just a fact. But we happened to play a tick better and had some things go our way, for sure. So that’s why this game is awesome, and that’s why it’s miserable at the same time.”
TCU is 4-5 in elimination games all-time at the College World Series. Senior right-hander Mitchell Traver will start Friday against Florida.
“As I said the first day here, the best quality that our team has is just their presence, their experience, their poise under pressure,” Schlossnagle said.
Can the Frogs reverse course from a year ago? We will find out, starting tonight, if they can be the ones to put the pressure on a 2-0 team and make a run to the finals.
“As disappointed as I’ve ever been leaving this great city,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle seconded.
It happened then, why not now?
The possibility should resonate particularly loudly for Schlossnagle and his Horned Frogs, who 12 months ago were on the wrong end of that scenario.
“We know it’s possible. It’s not like it’s an impossible feat. It happened to us,” TCU’s Evan Skoug said. So the experience of last year’s pain can be this year’s gain?
“A hundred percent,” Ryan Merrill said. “I think we know what we’ve got to do to get this thing done.”
Schloss said Wymer will move to the rotation next season - giving TCU a lineup of Jared Janczak, Nick Lodolo, and Sean Wymer - but as a fan, I will certainly miss having an arm like his in the pen.
“I’ve been able to control all three pitches — fastball, curveball, changeup,” Wymer said. “Throwing them for strikes when I want to, and throwing down when I want an out pitch. Keeping the game simple and making good pitches.”
With that kind of three-pitch arsenal and a physical, durable frame, Wymer is likely ticketed for the weekend rotation next year, according to Schlossnagle. And he has the stuff to become a dominant front-line starter. He’s already made a huge jump from his freshman year to his sophomore year, dropping his ERA from 4.68 in 32.2 innings last year to 2.10 in 55.2 innings this year. He’s improved his strikeout rate while decreasing his walk rate — he now has a 66-10 K-BB mark.