COLLEGE STATION — For the second straight season, the TCU Horned Frogs punched their ticket to Omaha by eliminating the Texas A&M Aggies in the deciding game of an NCAA Super Regional with a final score of 4-1
Here are three quick takeaways from the Texas A&M loss.
Inning of inches
A few inches made the difference in a three-run seventh inning for TCU.
Andrew Vinson was on the hill in relief of starter Turner Larkins, who worked 4.2 innings in his start for the Aggies. Josh Watson kicked off the frame for the Horned Frogs with a single to bring up Dane Steinhagen. Steinhagen tattooed a pitch to third base, where Boomer White failed to turn a double play and instead let the pitch trickle by him for an error. Vinson walked the bases loaded, then barely missed on a 3-2 offering to walk home the go-ahead run.
A sacrifice fly pushed the TCU lead to 3-1, with A&M outfielder Nick Banks narrowly missing an outfield assist at second base to end the inning. With TCU still at bat, a wild pitch by Mark Ecker who entered the game in relief of Vinson added to the Horned Frog lead to give a 4-1 cushion.
Texas A&M has its season end, while TCU advances to its fourth College World Series in seven seasons.
Can’t hit Howard
Junior Brian Howard had an outstanding performance, putting the Horned Frogs on the back of his 6-foot-9 frame and carrying them to Omaha.
The Aggies did manage to strike first with a sac fly in the first inning, but it was the only damage they could claim against Howard. The right-hander did nothing short of dominate from that moment forward, allowing only two hits in seven innings of work. He struck out eight Texas A&M hitters, emphatically hopping toward the visitor dugout after claiming the final out of innings.
He walked just two of the 26 batters he faced, and kept hitters guessing in the zone, inducing six flyouts and seven groundouts.
Relief pitching remained consistent to the starting performance, with Durbin Feltman working the final two innings to finish off the Aggies.
Out of magic in Olsen
White led off the inning for the Aggies in the bottom of the ninth, a time when “Olsen Magic” makes an appearance in College Station according to fans of A&M. White flew out to the infield for the first out of the inning, bringing up Ryne Birk, who hit a grounder that narrowly escaped the infield before being corralled for the second out of the inning.
On an 0-2 pitch, Michael Barash struck out looking to end the game.
The Aggies end their season in the Super Regional — against TCU in a Game 3 — for the second straight season, narrowly missing a return to the College World Series for the first time since 2011.