TCU gets back at Florida, forces deciding game at CWS

Nick Horvath
Florida's Nick Horvath stands holding his bat after striking out looking with the bases loaded during the fourth inning Friday of a College World Series bracket final against TCU in Omaha, Neb. [Nati Harnik/The Associated Press]

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Evan Skoug hit a bases-clearing double, four TCU pitchers combined on a five-hitter, and the Horned Frogs beat Florida 9-2 on Friday night to force a second Bracket 2 final at the College World Series.
The teams will meet again Saturday night (8 p.m., ESPN), with the winner advancing to the best-of-three finals starting Monday. TCU is the designated home team.
Skoug was 2 for 13 in the CWS when he came up in the sixth inning with two outs and the bases loaded. He lined reliever Frank Rubio’s 2-2 pitch into the right-center gap for an 8-2 lead.
Charles King (1-3) pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout relief after taking over for starter Mitchell Traver with two outs in the fourth. King, a freshman who was pitching for the first time since May 27, struck out Nick Horvath with the bases loaded to end the inning and retired nine of the next 11 batters.
Florida (49-19) got an 11-strikeout performance from ace Alex Faedo in a 3-0 win over TCU in its CWS opener Sunday, and it looked as though Jackson Kowar (12-1) would show the same dominance against the Frogs. Kowar struck out seven of the first eight he faced on his way to a career-high 11 Ks, but the Frogs were able to get to him and he lost for the first time this season.
“It doesn’t matter that I struck out 11, I gave up four (runs),” said Kowar, who pointed out all the runs against him were with two outs and said his main flaw was not executing his fastball.
The Horned Frogs (50-17) led 2-0 in the third after Ryan Merrill’s single and back-to-back doubles by Austen Wade and Zach Humphreys. The Gators tied it in the bottom half, but Josh Watson’s two-run triple in the fourth gave TCU a 4-2 lead.
Garrett Milchin, who took over for Kowar starting the sixth, removed himself in the middle of facing his fourth batter because of right forearm tightness. Rubio came on and Wade made it 5-3 with an RBI grounder before Skoug broke open the game with his three-run double.
The Frogs scored seven runs with two outs.
UF coach Kevin O’Sullivan said Faedo will start. TCU will go with last Sunday’s starter Jared Janczak.
“If you told me we had one game to win and we had Faedo on the mound … I’d take my chances,” O’Sullivan said. “Bottom line is we have to score more runs.”
TCU’s Cam Warner didn’t mean to, but he moved a couple runners up a base when he backed away from Kowar’s inside fastball in the fifth inning. Warner’s bat went parallel to the ground and the ball hit the bottom of the knob. Kowar threw him out at first.
Florida walked three batters in its first 21 innings at the CWS. The Gators walked five from the fourth through sixth innings against TCU.