TCU takes the field for its elimination game vs. Louisville at the 2017 CWS.
CWS: Day Six In Pictures College World Series
OMAHA — Four up, four down.
We are now halfway through the field of eight being eliminated. TCU edged Louisville 4-3 on Thursday night to bring the curtain down on the Cardinal’s season. TCU advances on to face the juggernaut known as Florida, whether they like it or not that is. Gah. The Gators look like they are ready to bite a big hole in anybody who dares to stand up to them. In 18 innings here in Omaha the Gator arms have given up one earned run in starting out 2-0 in the 2017 CWS.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Louisville Cardinals had their season ended on Thursday night by the TCU Horned Frogs in Omaha by a single run. That’s pain. But to tell you the truth, this pales in comparison to what the Cards have been through the past two seasons. Talk about a major player on the Ouch List. I’m sure all of you remember the UofL seasons of 2015 and 2016 ended by Big West teams, particularly last year’s Super Regional loss to UC Santa Barbara when a seldom-used freshman bullpen catcher cranked a grand slam off All American Zack Burdi.
Not that it makes it any less painful, at least this year’s season-ender happened on the Big Stage in Omaha. You heard Mike Martin in Wednesday night’s post-game press conference, “I may not have won the national title but ending your season here in Omaha is a lot better than not making it here to begin with.”
Preach, man. This year’s 4-3 season-ending loss to the Frogs in Omaha is a ton more palatable than losing to the Gauchos on a jog-off that came completely out of left field in the Super Regionals.
Still, it was painful. Coach Dan McDonnell didn’t show up for the teams’ post-game press conference. Pitching coach Roger Williams did. McDonnell was ejected in the eighth inning despite COMPLETELY having a beef with the bogus call on an attempted steal of second base.
And of course you StitchHeads know to check out the great write-ups from this game by both Aaron and Kendall on the D1 site.
Here are some more images I shot from Thursday at the College World Series…
Walking through the Baseball Village before first pitch, I happened upon this young, young girl who wanted to pet the black dog she saw. But when the situation got “too real” she turtled back and started to throw a fit.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to enter TD Ameritrade Park out of the bullpen? Well here you go StitchHeads. Now go out there and stop a rally.
One last time for pregame leapfrog.
Looking like a Rebel Yell-era Billy Idol, Louisville’s freshman starter Nick Bennett gets an early visit from Roger Williams, the UofL pitching coach.
While the Louisville frosh Nick Bennett lasted just 1.2 innings on the mound, TCU yearling Nick Lodolo managed to last 4.0 innings, giving up three runs on five hits, using 56 pitches. Something tells me we could be seeing the lanky first-year phenom again soon in the CWS.
So who do we have in this pic? Well, there is the “CandyMan” who is giving famous for handing out the cotton candy, there is the TCU “Frog Daddy” who is all pimped-out in 70s-era purple garb and, passing down the cotton candy, is College World Series executive director Jack Diesing Jr. That’s a motley crew, CWS-style.
“Noooooo!” UofL shortstop Devin Hairston wonders what the Cards have to do to get a call to go their way.
Interesting reaction at the dish. In the key moment of the second inning, home plate umpire Jeff Head is about to signal TCU runner Josh Watson “safe” on the bang-bang play. Cardinals pitcher and catcher Nick Bennett and Colby Fitch go into immediate disbelief. TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle looks like he agrees with the call. After a video review, the call stood and it ended up being a very valuable score for the Frogs.
The TCU bench was not as low-key as they have seemingly been for most of this week.
By the way, the big hit in that four-run second inning for the Purple Gang came from this swing by Ryan Merrill, who connected on a screaming single which plated two runs, including the controversial play at the plate by Josh Watson. Merrill would end up scoring what would be the game-winning run a batter later as Austen Wade knocked him in.
Sean Wymer, who came into the CWS having made 28 appearances on the season, saved his best outing for the big stage, going 4.1 innings and giving up just two hits to get the W.
“Do you know how important that call was?!” Dan McDonnell, just moments before getting the heave-ho from second base umpire Mark Winters. And this time, he had more than enough reason to be so peeved as another close call went against his squad, though this one was incorrect. (By the way, how come they have video review for a play at the plate, but not at any other base? Just dumb. At this stage, there is a need to get every call right.)
Good baseball. When the NCAA Tournament brackets were announced, I had both the Cards and the Frogs pegged for Omaha and neither disappointed.
Louisville head coach Dan McDonnell has one last huddle with his tear-filled team in right field.
Do you think the photographers are interested in every step Brendan McKay makes? Here he gives a handshake to UofL Director of Baseball Operations guru Bryan Mundorf.
I know this pic has already been posted in Kendall’s write-up but it bears repeating: Brendan McKay walks off a collegiate field for the final time as one of the greatest players to don a collegiate uniform. (And my deepest apologies for writing his name as “Brandon” when I posted this pic on twitter. Damn auto-correct got me and I was in such a rush to post it, I didn’t catch it. Arrrrrgh. Hate that.)