Merrill faced a tall task coming into TCU’s program as a shortstop. He was following one of TCU’s best to ever play that position in Keaton Jones. But Merrill came to TCU for a reason out of Iowa Western Community College. He grew up in Omaha watching the College World Series every year, and he wanted to play for a program that would give him the chance to play in front of his hometown crowd. He ended up getting to do so not once, but twice.
In his junior year (2016) he started 51 games at shortstop as part of 53 appearances on the season. The main reason that he saw the field so much is that he hit .298 that year, but he was also a big contributor in other ways. He was 11 of 15 in stolen base attempts, and he collected 25 RBIs as well as scoring 31 runs. While he only had one home run, he showed some power hitting nine doubles and four triples. He also put together 13 multi-hit games and seven multiple-RBI contests. The bat kept him on the diamond, but a fielding percentage of .910 left room for improvement.
He definitely showed that the following year, raising his fielding percentage up to .950 as a senior and starting 62 games at shortstop. He struggled a little more at the plate his senior year, hitting .243 but still showed he was one year stronger with six home runs. In fact, he improved in pretty much every metric except batting average. He was 17 of 19 in stolen base attempts with 43 RBIs and 42 runs scored. He also upped his base-on-balls numbers from 17 to 29.
His senior year was his second straight time to be back home playing in Omaha, and he became a sensation during TCU's run out of the loser'a bracket. During that three-game stretch he was 3 of 9 at the plate with three RBIs and three runs scored. Oh, and he hit a bomb. It seemed like every time he was up in a big situation, he delivered, so much so that the announcers started calling him "The Omaha Kid". He also got all of his high school buddies in the crowd a lot of air time, which is pretty cool.
Merrill didn't get to hoist the trophy in Omaha with the Frogs, but he had a run that TCU fans will remember for years to come. One I'm sure that he will never forget. After the College World Series he was picked up by the Washington Nationals, and is currently playing for the Auburn Doubledays, their Short-Season A affiliate.