If you would have told me two months ago that TCU would be in the 2014 College World Series, I would have told you to get your head checked. But, on the back of the best pitching staff in the country, TCU went on an epic run that saw them battle all the way to Omaha and finish as one of the final 6 teams in the country.
It may be hard to see it now for a team that felt like they had what it took to win the whole thing, but TCU had a great season. With Thursday night's 6-4 loss to Ole Miss, TCU finished the season with a (48-18) record. Considering their 15-12 start to the year, that's a remarkable feat.
Freshman All-American, Tyler Alexander got the start but he was hit hard in his brief 3 1/3 inning stint. Alexander gave up 3 earned runs on 6 hits but that hardly tells the whole story. A miscue in center field by Cody Jones can be linked directly to the 1st run and a series of hard hit balls after that seemed to rattle the young lefty.
The play in question was ruled a double, but on the play, Cody Jones didn't get a good read on the ball off the bat and misplayed it, going back before realizing it was going to fall short. After a failed attempt to make a diving catch, Jones was unable to locate the ball, allowing the runner to make it to 2nd base.
Ole Miss went on to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the 3rd inning, only to see TCU tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the 4th.
Jordan Kipper took the loss after going 2 2/3 innings and giving up 2 runs on 3 hits. He did strike out 4, but his 3 walks, hit batter and a balk were key ingredients in Ole Miss taking the lead on TCU. After Kevin Cron unloaded on a solo home run (6th) to tie it up 4-4 in the bottom of the 5th, Kipper was able to work around trouble in the 6th, which included a walk and a balk but that's where his luck would run out.
Things came unraveled in the top of the 7th however, as Kipper hit the lead off batter. The next two batters would single and that would push the score to 5-4 in favor of the Rebels.Travis Evans came in to face one batter and recorded the strike out and Trey Teakell came on to close out the rest of the 7th.
Ole Miss would go on to tack on another run in the top of the 9th to make the final score 6-4. Although TCU was eliminated with the loss, the experience that this young team gained will likely prove invaluable going into the 2015 season. With a ton of talent coming back, and a great recruiting class on the way, TCU is primed to make another run at Omaha next year.
While the ultimate goal was to win the National Championship, the 2nd College World Series appearance for TCU since 2010 will undoubtedly help Coach Schlossnagle continue to build on the impressive program he's been crafting since he came on board in 2004. It's just a matter of time before he brings a title home to Fort Worth, TX.