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TCU News: And then there were four

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An exciting Friday in Omaha leaves TCU with one more shot to make the championship series.

Links Be Informed Blood

Baseball:

TCU reaction: Frogs tune up at plate in time to earn shot at CWS finals | The Star-Telegram

The Frogs continue to be two-out offensive monsters, as they ere clutch in that scenario once again Friday night.

TCU’s first four runs Friday scored with two out and six of their nine in all. Thursday, it was all four with two out. Tuesday, it was two of four. That’s 12 of the Frogs’ 17 runs scoring with two outs in the CWS. “It’s something we practice every day in BP, getting a good pitch to hit and driving in a runner from second with two outs,” Skoug said. “Getting good pitches to hit and executing those is what wins ballgames. If we didn’t get those two-out hits, scored those runs, we probably wouldn’t have won.”

Millard West grad Ryan Merrill says TCU ready for the winner-take-all challenge against Florida in Bracket 2 of CWS | Omaha World-Herald

Ryan Merrill is greeted with chants of ‘Omaha’ every time he steps in the box here at the College World Series, and he isn’t disappointing his many fans at the plate.

Merrill said that experience and dropping the first meeting with Florida here has his team ready to go.

“It feels a lot better than last year,” he said. “Last year, we just felt like it was going to be breeze to get to the championship series. But now that we’ve lost that first one, we’ve come back with three good games. We’re just playing good baseball. We’ll try to keep it up.”

TCU's College World Series run is not your typical Cinderella story | NCAA.com

TCU has been to Omaha so many times, it’s easy to forget what a big deal this could be for the Frogs. They’ve got one more game to earn the right to bring home a Natty.

“I kind of feel like that’s when we play the best,” said freshman pitcher Charles King, who got his first career win Friday night. “We play alert on every single pitch and we don’t take any pitch off, we don’t take any pitch for granted.

“After a while, you kind of just feel at home with your back against the wall. You kind of feel like this is where we want to be and it’s the kind of environment we thrive in.”

That certainly has an upstart feel to it. Besides, TCU has never been to the basketball Elite Eight. The national football championship was in 1938. A run at the CWS title would feel awfully big in Fort Worth.

Offensive Stars Break Out For TCU | D1 Baseball

Finally, finally, finally, TCU got some production from the top of the order. It seemed a long time coming, but it was the difference maker when the team needed it most. Hopefully that’s just them getting hot at the right time!

“I think all season, we are at our best when we stay on the baseball,” said Wade, who leads the team with a .333 average and a .444 OBP. “Coach (Bill) Mosiello preaches it. Obviously when we become happy top spinning balls to pull side, that’s not our offense. I preached about it when we’re driving balls off gap, that’s when our offense is playing at its best. I think tonight we had a lot of those swings that said we are going to tip our cap to some pitches. Obviously Jackson did a great job tonight early.

“But second time through, like I said, we’ve got to be ready to go. And I think once we strung a few hits together, it kind of up and down our lineup said we have a little confidence, and we just kind of rolled with that.”

Football:

Sumner’s four-star linebacker Ben Wilson announces college decision — he’s headed to TCU | The News Tribune

The hard-hitting linebacker is a beast on the field, and a well-rounded person off of it. He’s a perfect fit for the 4-2-5, and could be a candidate for some early playing time, as TCU looks at life after Summers and Howard. But, he’s not a one trick pony, and has some interest in baseball, too.

He said he’s like to play for TCU’s baseball team — which is currenly in Omaha for the College World Series.

“I’ve been thinking about that a lot and if I can play baseball and that’s OK with the coaches, then I would love to,” Wilson said. “But if it’s not working within my time frame and if I get too overloaded then I probably won’t.”

Ranking TCU's 2017 roster: Nos. 5-1 feature a bone-crushing linebacker and the Frogs' top scoring threats | Sports Day

If this ranking is accurate, TCU could be in trouble... but I have no qualms with #1.

Let's get one thing straight: This has been Kyle Hicks' team ever since Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson departed. Hicks is one of TCU's most vocal leaders and that shows in his production. His teammates trust him to go to work. He's a ball magnet, and for good reason. He led TCU in rushes and receptions last season, making him the first Horned Frog to do so since 1993. He's a true everyman -- he almost seems like a player from a previous era. He racked up 1042 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground alone in 2016. Without Hicks, TCU's air raid would lack diversity and be completely one-dimensional. Hicks keeps defenses guessing as he seems almost always available to make a play anywhere on the field. He might be the most underrated player in the Big 12.

Basketball:

TCU poised to make splash in 2018 NBA Draft | The Star-Telegram

Could the Frogs have two players drafted next summer? It’s very possible.

For an 18th consecutive season, the NBA Draft came and went Thursday night without the selection of a player from TCU. The ESPN telecast concluded with zero speculation about a potential Horned Frogs’ draftee.

Expect that to change in a big way next season, assuming guard Kenrich Williams and forward Vladimir Brodziansky continue along the upward spirals on their career arcs they showed while leading the Horned Frogs to an NIT championship in March.