Sunday marked the second day of the 2015 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, and the opening game hardly appeared to be a battle between two of the country's best baseball teams.
The LSU Tigers didn't play like the top-ranked team in the nation, suffering a 10-3 blowout loss at the hands of the TCU Horned Frogs. Thanks to their surprisingly dominant triumph, TCU moves on to face the winner from Sunday's second contest between the reigning national champion Vanderbilt Commodores and the Cal State Fullerton Titans.
Before getting into more of the specifics on how the latest CWS games played out, take a look at the list of results below.
|TCU vs. LSU||3 p.m.||TCU wins, 10-3|
|CSU Fullerton vs. Vanderbilt||8 p.m.||Fullerton leading 3-0 in B6, suspended|
Sound fundamentals and small ball have allowed TCU to outlast many opponents in 2015, and those ingredients were a victorious recipe even against mighty LSU.
The first few innings suggested that this would be an instant classic and a battle of wills to the end, but the momentum changed when Horned Frogs center fielder Cody Jones began to really apply the pressure.
Jones' fielding ability allowed him to notch a spectacular outfield assist to keep the Tigers off the scoreboard, per NCAA Baseball:
A big part of what allowed Jones to make the tremendous throw was his unique speed, which also forced a throwing error from LSU pitcher Jared Poche in the top of the fourth. The errant toss saw Jones advance to third and then score the first run of the game.
Scout.com's Hunter Paniagua referenced the Tigers southpaw's struggles following a sterling start:
Scott Rabalais of the Advocate alluded to how Jones did all he could to get on base, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Carlos A. Mendez highlighted how Jones manufactured another run later on:
Four runs scored in both the fifth and seventh innings allowed the Horned Frogs to turn this one into a rout. What was most impressive about it is TCU plated only the final two of its 10 total runs on an extra-base hit:
Designated hitter Connor Wanhanen had three hits in four at-bats for the Horned Frogs and drove in a team-high three runs, while left fielder Dane Steinhagen had two RBI of his own.
TCU starting pitcher Preston Morrison had a stellar outing to keep the Tigers offense at bay, preventing any hopes of a rally with seven strong innings. Morrison yielded just five hits and one run while striking out five and walking none.
The winning team's official Twitter feed noted how Morrison saved his best for last, as he managed to keep his pitch count below 90:
Former TCU star football player and current Buffalo Bills standout Jerry Hughes praised the way his school stuck it to LSU:
The Tigers tacked on a couple of runs in the bottom of the eighth, but it was far too late to have any bearing on the outcome.
Despite lacking a ton of power, TCU applies pressure to opponents in other ways, with Jones serving as the catalyst. Even the No. 1 team in the NCAA wasn't immune to the Horned Frogs' relentless, attacking brand of baseball that has frustrated foes all season long.
With how well TCU executed its tactics on Sunday's big stage, there's little doubt the Horned Frogs are viewed as an even bigger favorite than before. Not hailing from what's reputed to be the best conference in the SEC hardly seemed to faze the team.
A lack of intimidation from this seasoned club creates an unsavory, somewhat bittersweet scenario for whoever emerges as TCU's next challenger between Vanderbilt and Cal State Fullerton.
The Horned Frogs will have to wait until Monday to find out who their opponents will be. Rain hammered TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, and Sunday's game between the Commodores and Titans was suspended in the bottom of the sixth inning as a result.
Cal State Fullerton currently leads 3-0. Taylor Bryant singled home Timmy Richards in the top of the third, and a wild pitch and a Josh Vargas single resulted in two runs in the top of the fifth:
Shortly thereafter, the heavens opened up with what Cal State Fullerton joked was rain not seen since the movie Forrest Gump:
The Omaha World-Herald took a picture from inside the stadium, and the Titans' comparison was pretty accurate:
The two teams will pick up play Monday afternoon at noon ET.
Rhett Wiseman was sitting on third for Vandy with two outs when the game was suspended. Maybe the break can help wake up the Commodores' bats over the final three-plus innings.
Note: Stats and bracket information courtesy of NCAA.com unless otherwise indicated.