FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kyle Bacak executed a suicide squeeze bunt to send home the tiebreaking run in the top of the ninth inning and TCU rallied to beat Pepperdine 6-5 Monday and advance to the College World Series for the second time in five seasons.
The Horned Frogs (47-16), the visiting team in Game 3 despite hosting the super regional, started the ninth with three consecutive hits off Pepperdine closer Eric Karch (4-2) that included Dylan Fitzgerald’s tying RBI double.
There was an infield popout before No. 9 batter Bacak bunted. Jerrick Suiter, who had reached on a high-chopping infield single, charged home from third.
TCU closer Riley Ferrell (2-1) got the final six outs. Pepperdine (43-18) had two runners on when Bryan Langlois struck out to end the game.
The Frogs play their College World Series opener Sunday against fellow Big 12 team Texas Tech. A third Big 12 team, Texas, is on the other side of the bracket in Omaha, Nebraska.
The first batter Ferrell faced in the eighth with two men on was Brad Anderson, whose sacrifice fly put Pepperdine up 5-4.
Brandon Caruso and Aaron Brown homered for the Waves, the West Coast Conference regular-season champ trying to get to the College World Series for the first time since winning the 1992 national championship. Steve Rodriguez, their 11th-year head coach, was then an All-American infielder for Pepperdine.
TCU tied the game at 4-all with two runs in the sixth. Boomer White, who had an inning-ending strikeout in the third with the bases loaded, had a two-out RBI single and Kevin Cron followed with a run-scoring double.
Cron led off the fifth with his fifth homer of the season, getting the Frogs within 3-2 after they left eight runners on base the previous four innings.
Brown’s opposite-field solo homer to left with two outs in the fifth put Pepperdine up 4-2.
It was the 13th homer of the season for Brown, the two-way player who Friday was drafted in the third round by Philadelphia as an outfielder. In Sunday’s must-win game for Pepperdine, after TCU won the super regional opener 3-2 on Saturday, Brown pitched seven scoreless innings and after moving to center field threw out the potential tying run in the eighth inning of a 3-2 victory.
Brown was on deck when the game ended.
Caruso had a leadoff triple in the Waves first, when right fielder Fitzgerald misplayed the ball by stepping in before it went over his head. Caruso scored on Brown’s single.
Bacak had an RBI single in the second, the third consecutive two-out single by the bottom three batters in the TCU lineup.
Caruso hit a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the second, putting Pepperdine up 3-1.