Game 1: Texas Christian University 5, Texas Tech 3
TCU freshman standout Luken Baker delivered a monster go-ahead three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning on Sunday, propelling his team to a 5-3 win over No. 5 national seed Texas Tech in the Horned Frogs' College World Series opener.
Baker stepped to the plate to face Texas Tech closer Robert Dugger with one out and TCU down by a run. Dugger, a junior right-hander who was drafted by the Mariners in the 18th round this year, ran a pitch off the plate inside. Somehow, Baker, who stands at 6-foot-4 and 265 pounds, got his hands through and crushed the game-winning shot into the left-field seats.
"They'd been working me away and mixing fastballs, but they mostly were working me away for the majority of the game," Baker said. "And when they brought Dugger in, he has a good fastball, and it's got good run inside. I figured he missed a few times arm side and maybe he'll come inside.
"So I was sitting on that early whenever I still had the count in my favor, and I got it and put a good swing on it."
TCU, making its third consecutive College World Series appearance, had lost two of its three regular-season meetings against Texas Tech in the Big 12. Texas Tech was the regular-season conference champion, but TCU won the Big 12 Tournament.
Baker, the Horned Frogs' cleanup hitter, leads the team with a .380 batting average and 60 RBIs and ranks second with 10 home runs. Coming out of high school in 2015, he was rated the No. 58 overall Draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com, but he informed MLB teams that he would be honoring his commitment to TCU.
After effective but short outings by the two starting pitchers -- TCU's Jared Janczak and Texas Tech's Steven Gingery each allowed only one earned run, but neither made it out of the fifth inning -- both teams got solid long relief performances from 2016 MLB draftees.
TCU's highest-drafted player, junior right-hander Brian Trieglaff -- a 13th-round pick by the Yankees who is currently unsigned -- struck out five in three innings in relief of Janczak, although he allowed a run that gave Texas Tech the lead in the eighth.
Meanwhile, Texas Tech senior left-hander Hayden Howard came on for Gingery and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings. Howard was drafted in the 12th round by the Nationals, and he also has yet to sign.
Game 2: Coastal Carolina 2, Florida 1
Coastal Carolina needed a walk-off single against LSU last weekend to punch its first ever ticket to the College World Series, but the Chanticleers proved Sunday night that they were not content to merely be in Omaha.
After a stunning 2-1 upset of Florida, the top-ranked seed of the tournament, the upstart Chanticleers showed their goals are much higher.
Junior right-hander Andrew Beckwith twirled a masterful one-run complete game victory, and Coastal Carolina used timely hitting against heralded Gators starter Logan Shore to eke out the victory in each team's opening game of the College World Series. It was Beckwith's first complete game of this season, as he scattered seven hits (one double, six singles) across 98 pitches and retired the last 10 batters of the ballgame.
Senior third baseman Zach Remillard, the 10th round draft choice of the White Sox who remains unsigned, put the Chanticleers on the board first in the top of the third with an RBI double that caught chalk on the right-field line. The double ended up an historic one, as it was originally ruled foul but was overturned in the first official replay review in College World Series history.
Florida pinch-hitter Jeremy Vasquez delivered a clutch RBI single to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fifth. But Remillard responded immediately, clubbing a Shore delivery to the base of the left-center fence for an RBI triple that scored teammate Connor Owings, the unsigned 34th-round pick of the D-backs, to give the Chanticleers a 2-1 lead.
From there, it was all on the shoulders of Beckwith and he delivered one of the biggest upsets of the postseason thus far.
"I was asked before I pitched about getting the ball in the first game of the College World Series for Coastal Carolina, and I said I still get chills thinking about it," Beckwith said afterward. "I still get chills thinking about all the fans up there today that came to see us. Tonight was one for the books."
Shore, the second-round Draft choice of the Oakland A's who remains unsigned, suffered his first defeat in 13 decisions this season. Left-hander A.J. Puk, the unsigned No. 6 overall pick the Draft by the A's, hit his only batter of the night after coming on in relief in the top of the 8th.
• TCU and Coastal Carolina move on to the winners' bracket, where they will play each other on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET. The winner of Tuesday's game will need only one more win after that, against the team that comes out of the losers' bracket, to make it to the three-game championship series. The loser will not be done yet -- this stage of the tournament is double elimination -- but will have to play its way out of the elimination bracket to advance to the finals, with any second loss sending them packing.
• Texas Tech heads to the elimination bracket. The Red Raiders will have their work cut out for them as they take on the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, Florida, after the Gators' loss to Coastal Carolina. Texas Tech and Florida play at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and the loser goes home. The survivor of Tuesday's game still needs three more wins to get to the College World Series finals -- one more win in the losers' bracket, then two in a row against the undefeated team from the winners' bracket.
• In the first of two games on Monday, No. 3 national seed Miami fights to stay alive in the postseason against UC Santa Barbara. The elimination game starts at 2 p.m. First-team All-American Zack Collins, the unsigned No. 10 overall Draft choice of the White Sox, hopes to rebound from a two-strikeout performance Saturday night and help ignite a Hurricanes offense that was stymied by Arizona starter Nathan Bannister in their World Series opener. Santa Barbara center fielder Andrew Calica, an unsigned 11th-round Draft choice of the Indians, is also looking to bounce back from an 0-for-4 outing in the Gauchos' 1-0 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday.
• The second Monday game matches up Saturday's two winners, Oklahoma State and Arizona, at 7 p.m. Oklahoma State is still undefeated since the NCAA Tournament began, and will start right-hander Tyler Buffet, the unsigned seventh-round pick by the Astros, in the nightcap. The Wildcats will counter with dual threat Bobby Dalbec, the Red Sox's unsigned fourth-round Draft choice who is sporting a 2.92 ERA on the mound and a .381 average at the plate this postseason. Whichever team comes out on top in this game will find itself within a win of the College World Series finals. They would need to beat the winner of the losers' bracket only once in two chances in order to advance to the three-game championship series.