Arkansas caps off dominant SEC showing in College Baseball Showdown by rallying past TCU

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Drew Davison
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TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle joked before the State Farm College Baseball Showdown that there might be a team that goes 0-3 on the opening weekend and reaches the College World Series.

Well, the Big 12 had a couple teams go winless in Texas and Texas Tech, and TCU went 1-2 over the weekend following a 4-1 loss to Arkansas at Globe Life Field on Monday night.

Yes, it was an impressive performance by the SEC on the opening weekend of a tournament that featured six of the top-10 teams in the country. But Schlossnagle is not worried about what the Big 12 can do going forward.

“We’ll let the season play out,” Schlossnagle said. “I can’t speak for Texas or Texas Tech, but both teams are super talented and in different stages of development. I feel like we are too.

“We’re two pitches from losing yesterday and a couple pitches from winning Saturday and tonight. I’m confident in our league. It’ll show itself over the course of the season. But what happened here happened, so you have to tip your cap to those three teams.”

TCU was in position for another win much of the game on Monday night. The Frogs took a 1-0 lead with a two-out rally in the second inning, and that lead stood through the first seven innings.

Frogs starter Austin Krob worked four scoreless innings in his first career start, finishing with three walks and five strikeouts. Charles King followed and impressed out of the bullpen.

King had two perfect innings and then worked out of a jam in the seventh inning. The first two batters reached and then Arkansas catcher Casey Opitz ripped what appeared to be an extra-base hit down the left-field line.

TCU left fielder Elijah Nunez tracked it down and almost came up with a highlight-reel catch before the ball popped out. But Arkansas’ runner on first had retreated and TCU managed to get a fielder’s choice 7-6-4 put-out on the play.

Things then fell apart in the eighth inning for the Frogs.

King stayed in the game, giving up a single to the leadoff man that inning Jalen Battles. After a strikeout, King surrendered a triple to Christian Franklin that brought in the game-tying run.

TCU turned to Haylen Green, who threw 46 pitches in a relief appearance on Saturday. Arkansas scored the go-ahead run on a single by Cullen Smith off Green.

In the bottom half of the eighth, Arkansas’ Kevin Kopps retired the side in order. Nunez was ejected after being visibly upset with a called third strike for the second out and then Tommy Sacco struck out looking to end the inning.

Asked about Nunez’s ejection, Schlossnagle said: “There’s a lot of emotions. The umpire was already upset at both pitching staffs. … Yeah, Elijah will learn from that. At the same time, everybody in the ballpark needs to understand what’s at stake.”

The Razorbacks added a couple insurance runs in the ninth. Opitz had an RBI double off Green, and Arkansas scored another run charged to Green on a wild pitch by Harrison Beethe.

The three-day tournament ended up drawing a combined 48,154 fans, including 13,659 on Monday.

TCU will play its home opener against Texas Southern on Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Lupton Stadium. Freshman right-hander Cam Brown is expected to start the game.

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