We knew Coastal Carolina had one of the best offenses -- if not the best offense -- in Omaha. With a balanced, multidimensional lineup that simultaneously leads the nation in homers and ranks in the top five in sac bunts, the Chanticleers figured to test Florida's elite pitching staff in their College World Series game on Sunday night. Instead, it was the defense that carried Coastal past the Gators.
About the same time LeBron James was hoisting the NBA Finals trophy in Oakland, Coastal ace Andrew Beckwith was putting the finishing touches on a complete game in Omaha. Beckwith was brilliant in the 2-1 win over the tournament's No. 1 overall seed, striking out seven while allowing six hits and no free passes. He kept the Gators lineup off-balance with a variety of arm angles, coaxing 13 groundouts and a pair of double plays. The same guy who was chased after allowing four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings last week against LSU needed just 98 pitches against Florida, the fewest by any CWS pitcher to throw nine or more innings since 1981, according to Rob Anderson.
Gators ace Logan Shore was solid until the sixth inning, when he followed a leadoff walk by allowing an RBI triple to Zach Remillard that put the Chants up 2-1, and proved to be the difference in the game.
The Chants, who were playing in their first ever CWS game, will now head to a Tuesday winners bracket game against TCU, which knocked off Texas Tech earlier in the day. Florida and Tech will face each other in an elimination showdown. Toss in Miami's loss to Arizona on Saturday and the three national seeds in Omaha are 0-3.
The good news for Florida is that if there's any team that can come out of the losers bracket to win it all, it's the Gators and their absurdly deep pitching staff.
TCU 5, Texas Tech 3
Trailing by a run and down to its final two outs, TCU looked as though it had committed a disastrous baserunning blunder in the top of the ninth inning against Texas Tech. Rather than go first-to-third on a ball laced deep into the left field corner, Horned Frogs sophomore Austen Wade put the brakes on at second, costing the potential game-tying run 90 feet of real estate.
Luke Baker made sure it didn't matter what base Wade was standing on.
The 6'4, 265-pound freshman smashed a three-run homer just inside the left field foul pole, lifting TCU to a 5-3 comeback win.
It was Backer's 10th dinger of the year and the sixth since the regular season ended. He hammered four out of the park during the Big 12 Tourney, then lifted another three-run shot against Texas A&M in TCU's opening win of the College Station super regional. The big fella's hitting .407 in the NCAA Tourney, boasting four extra-base hits and six RBI.
It's deja vu for the Red Raiders, who also dropped their first game of the 2014 CWS to TCU. But Texas Tech had the upper hand this season, taking two of three from the Frogs during a regular season trip to Fort Worth.
In April, TCU had Jared Janzak coming out of the bullpen. On Sunday, he took the mound to start, striking out eight while allowing six hits and one earned run (a throwing error tacked on an unearned run in the third).
Here's a look at the updated Group 2 bracket via NCAA.com:
For the complete schedule and results, check out our College World Series tracker.