Yeah, we all remember the last time these two teams met... that game had barely ended before this one begins.
Stakes won’t be far off from June 17, 2014, when the Cavaliers outlasted the Frogs 3-2 in 15 innings in the College World Series.
That was the longest game in CWS history (4 hours, 51 minutes). This just might be the longest weekend in regional history.
Rain-forced delays have owned headlines here, but there’s a chance to change that at 5 p.m. EDT Sunday. UVa is the winningest program of the 2010s (374), and TCU (357) is No. 7 on that list.
“It’s gonna be a ridiculously awesome game with incredibly talented players and Big Leaguers all over the field,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle. “That’s what you want, man. If our fans can’t be out here and ready to roll for that ... 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.
“We’re very honored to have them here. It’s gonna be fun.”
Give a ton of credit to the TCU Grounds Crew - one of the best in the business - for getting the field playable despite the buckets of water dumped on the field across two days.
“We can’t control it,” Schlossnagle lamented, as he waited for Saturday’s first game to finally begin. “I hated it for the fans, and I really hated it for the Virginia and DBU [Dallas Baptist University] players. They were out here at 11 o’clock.
“But that’s part of being a baseball player, I guess.”
Rain happens, he means. Patiences – and pitching plans – get tested.
Prominent among the problems is the four-team NCAA regional setup. If a single game is postponed, it gets pushed into the next day, and pitching disparities tend to ensue. A No. 1 seed could end up having to play two games on the second day.
The decision to play or not play – as well as to postpone a first pitch from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. – is in the hands of the NCAA, which has two representatives at the TCU-hosted regional.
The Frogs were led by their veteran leaders, as Traver and Skoug gave their best in the biggest of moments.
Mitchell Traver allowed one hit in seven-plus innings, Evan Skoug hit a three-run homer and host TCU opened its rain-delayed Fort Worth Regional with a 9-6 victory against Central Connecticut State on Saturday night.
Skoug's shot in a six-run eighth inning actually came early Sunday morning after rain wiped out the opening day of the regional Friday and delayed by another four hours the start of the Virginia-Dallas Baptist opener Saturday.
Virginia won 6-3 and will face the Horned Frogs (43-16), seeded sixth nationally, in the winners bracket Sunday night. The Blue Devils (36-21) will play Dallas Baptist in an elimination game.
The big bats for the Cavs have to be hoping they can get to the bullpen early with Jared Janczak scheduled to take the mound.
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.”
Coughlin and Feltman will both be available today if needed, but TCU is certainly hoping Janczak can give them 7-8 innings of work that lines up with what he has produced all season.
Traver (4-1), a senior right-hander, won as the NCAA postseason opening pitcher for TCU for a third consecutive season. He defeated Sacred Heart in 2015 and Oral Roberts last season, allowing no runs in either start.
He exited after a leadoff walk in the eighth inning, and it scored on a two-out double against Cal Coughlin. The run charged to Traver was his first allowed in four appearances (three starts) covering 23 innings in NCAA postseason play at Lupton.
The Horned Frogs (43-16) advanced to a winner’s bracket game against Virginia at 4 p.m. Sunday, but had to use closer Durbin Feltman for the final out after Jake Eissler surrendered five runs in the ninth inning, although only two earned because of two errors in the inning. It was Feltman’s 16th save.