The 2017 College World Series has finally reached its Final Four.
TCU's 4-3 nail-biter over LSU on Thursday finalized the teams that will compete for a national championship over the next two days. Sean Wymer threw 4.2 innings of two-hit ball in relief, helping atone for the struggles of starter Nick Lodolo, who gave up runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings before being taken out.
Luckily, he was still better than Louisville starter Nick Bennett, who lasted just 1.2 innings after giving up four runs on three hits. The Cardinals bullpen held TCU scoreless the rest of the way, but their bats couldn't extend the game.
TCU will move on to play Florida, which has been idle since Tuesday after handing Louisville its first loss in Omaha. The Gators have allowed one run through their first two games and already defeated TCU 3-0 last Sunday.
“This is awesome,” Florida right fielder Nelson Maldonado said of the Gators’ pitching, per Nick Suss of SEC Country. “This is probably the best I’ve seen them perform in a while. To get two back-to-back great starts, that’s awesome. To be 2-0 already in the tournament, that’s awesome.”
Jackson Kowar, Florida's third starter, enters Friday at 12-0 on the season with a 4.00 ERA and 73 strikeouts. He'll face a tall task in repeating the performance level of Alex Faedo and Brady Singer, but TCU's offense has not been lighting the world on fire.
Oregon State and LSU should provide the offensive firepower for the afternoon, with both teams entering Friday having put up solid offensive performances so far in Omaha. The Beavers smacked LSU for 13 runs in the teams' first matchup, and the Tigers have put up 12 runs in their pair of victories.
“Oregon State is a very formidable opponent,” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said, per Bill Franques of LSUSports.Net. “Obviously, things didn't go very well for us the other night, but I don't think they're 12 runs better than us; I think things just got out of hand. We're glad to have another chance. We're among the last four teams standing, and we're aware of the challenge that is in front of us.”
LSU had carried a 17-game winning streak into its 13-1 shellacking at the hands of Oregon State.
"We played pretty good," said OSU coach Pat Casey told reporters after the win. "The situation was big, so it even made it bigger. But they've handled almost everything that we've thrown at them."
Casey would be taking home his third national championship if Oregon State can win its next two games.
Oregon State vs. LSU, 3 p.m. ET, ESPN
Florida vs. TCU, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN