TCU reliever Trey Teakell allowed only one baserunner in four innings. (Shotgun Spratling)

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TCU’s Teakell Mr. Versatile Against A&M

FORT WORTH, Texas — For TCU, righthander Trey Teakell is the bridge that keeps supplies flowing to the troops. He’s sturdy. He’s reliable. And he makes sure the Horned Frogs are in a position to be successful nearly every time he toes the rubber.

Every college coach dreams of having a pitcher like Teakell. He is a dynamic arm and is capable of doing just about anything on the mound. Though he doesn’t receive the accolades or attention some of the other TCU arms get, whatever the situation, Teakell is a guy head coach Jim Schlossnagle can turn to.

“There have been better pitchers here, but he’s the most valuable pitcher since I’ve been at TCU,” Scholssnagle said. “He can pitch in any role. He can close a game. He can come in the second inning. He can start. That takes some selfless attitude to do that.”

Teakell’s role on Saturday in the opening game of the Fort Worth Super Regional was to be a dynamic-changer as a momentum stopper. That morphed into long reliever. Ultimately, he ended up an enabler for the Horned Frogs’ offense, allowing it to blow open a one-run game and take a 13-4 win over Texas A&M.

After a fast start for TCU, Texas A&M (49-13) scored three runs in the fourth inning to cut the lead to 5-4 and Aggies reliever Andrew Vinson shut down the Horned Frogs (48-12) with relative ease in the bottom half of the inning. The visitors had seized the momentum and threatened to take the thunder out of the TCU record 7,199 in attendance.

Schlossnagel went to Mr. Underrated.

“I was trying to get to five innings. I knew I would go to Trey early, but when Vinson came into the game, I knew he was going to change the course of the game for their team and we needed to do that for ours.”

Teakell allowed just one baserunner over four innings, locking up the Aggies’ physical lineup that had knocked starter Tyler Alexander around for nine hits in four innings.

“I was pretty much just filling up the strike zone at the bottom, trying to get them out early because I know they like to swing,” Teakell said. “I figured if I just executed my pitches at the bottom of the zone and they’ll get themselves out. I did a pretty good job of it today.”

Under appreciated and understated. Teakell (2-1) only struck out two, but picked up the win, using his 6-foot-5 frame and a strong downward angle on his 92-94 mph fastball along with a sharp 12-to-6 curveball to force Texas A&M to pound the ball into the dirt for eight ground ball outs.

“He’s going to be really hard to replace,” Schlossnagle said. “A fifth-year senior that just pounds the strike zone and pitches with great tempo. And he has no ego.”

After Teakell retired the Aggies in the fifth inning, TCU got a little breathing room with a run in the fifth inning. Derek Odell singled up the middle and stole second base with two outs. A strong throw would have hosed Odell, but Michael Barash’s attempt was to the left field side of second base. Keaton Jones followed with an RBI single.

The Horned Frogs broke the game open in the next frame. Cody Jones beat out an infield single to score the first run. A one-out walk loaded the bases for the heart of the lineup. Texas A&M went for the lefty-lefty matchup, bringing in Blake Kopetsky. He was greeted roughly. His first three pitches each brought home a run with an Evan Skoug RBI single, a run-scoring wild pitch and an Odell RBI single. A sacrifice fly made it 11-4 and the Horned Frogs didn’t look back, adding two more runs in the eighth inning when Nolan Brown tripled home a run and scored on Keaton Jones’ third RBI of the day.

Starters Grayson Long and Alexander both uncharacteristically struggled. Long (9-1) took his first loss of the season for the Aggies after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits in three innings. The Horned Frogs finished with 18 hits led by Odell’s 4-for-5 performance and Dane Steinhagen’s 3-for-4 outing. Jonathan Moroney was a perfect 4-for-4 with two doubles to lead A&M while Blake Allemand added three hits.

Texas A&M will try to snap a streak of never having won a Super Regional game following a loss in the opener (0-3) tomorrow when the two teams match up at 1:15 p.m. CDT. Matt Kent (9-1, 2.99) is set to start for the Aggies while TCU will hand the ball to senior Preston Morrison (11-2, 2.60).

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