A tremendous late-season run came to a close for the TCU baseball team on Wednesday, when the Horned Frogs fell 3-2 against No. 2 Florida to finish with a 2-2 record at the College World Series. TCU concludes the season with a 44-24 overall record and a 13-11 record in the Big 12 Conference, where the Horned Frogs won the conference tournament after taking fourth during the regular season. TCU also finished as a top-4 team in the College World Series, which will feature the Gators and the winner of the No. 1 Wake Forest vs. No. 5 LSU contest later this evening in the three-game championship series.
Freshman right-hander Kole Klecker took the ball for the Horned Frogs on Wednesday, firing five innings and holding the Florida offense to two runs on six hits. It was the second start of the College World Series for Klecker, who threw five innings during TCU’s 6-5 loss to Oral Roberts on Friday. Despite conceding both runs in the top of the first inning on Wednesday, TCU fought back throughout the game, earning one run back after third baseman Brayden Taylor sent an RBI single into center off Gator starter and two-way phenom Jac Caglianone in the bottom of the first inning. The Horned Frogs loaded the bases in both the first and fifth innings, but TCU was able to manage only one run across the two frames.
TCU finally broke through in the bottom of the eighth inning, tying the score at 2-2 when freshman shortstop Anthony Silva belted an RBI double to deep center field that plated second baseman Tre Richardson, who singled earlier in the frame. As the Horned Frog offense rallied to even the score, freshman left-hander Ben Abeldt was busy shutting down the Florida offense on the mound. Making his third appearance of the College World Series, Abeldt relieved Klecker in the sixth inning, tossing three frames while striking out five batters. Right-hander Garrett Wright entered in the top of the ninth inning, where Abeldt conceded a lead-off double before handing the ball to the Horned Frog closer.
Wright induced a foulout and a flyout to deep right field, where Austin Davis made a tremendous leaping grab at the warning track. With two outs and a runner a third base, Wright forced Florida’s Cade Kurland into a ground ball to the shortstop, but after fielding the ball cleanly, Silva slipped on the outfield grass and was unable to complete the throw to first base, allowing Tyler Shelnut to cross home plate and give the Gators a 3-2 advantage. Wright then struck out Wyatt Langford to send the Horned Frogs into the bottom of the ninth inning, where center fielder Elijah Nunez struck out and freshman catcher Karson Bowen grounded out to the shortstop against Florida closer Brandon Neely.
Down to their final out of the game, the Horned Frogs leaned on their junior slugger Taylor, who crushed a two-out, two-strike pitch to deep center field. The 110 mile-per-hour, 407-foot blast carried to the deepest part of the ballpark, but a snag at the wall by center fielder Michael Robertson ultimately clinched the Gator victory and ended TCU’s season. The Horned Frogs left 10 runners on base and were held to six hits in the loss Wednesday.