Frogs make leap with grand HR
Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 5:46 pm
By: By ERIC OLSON, AP Sports Writer
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — TCU’s Matt Curry was barely out of the batter’s box when he started celebrating his go-ahead grand slam.
“I’ve hit some home runs, and I usually know when I get them,” he said.
One problem. Florida State center fielder Tyler Holt was positioning himself as if he were going to catch the fly.
“My heart just sank to my stomach,” Curry said.
Suddenly, Holt turned to face the high fence in center field, looking up.
That ball was gone — long gone — and the Horned Frogs are sticking around at the College World Series.
Curry’s slam in TCU’s eight-run eighth inning finished the Frogs’ comeback from a five-run deficit, and they went on to eliminate error-prone Florida State with an 11-7 victory Wednesday night.
The dramatic win carried the Frogs (53-13) to the Bracket 1 championship game in their first CWS appearance. They will play UCLA on Friday, needing to beat the Bruins twice to reach next week’s best-of-three finals.
“Definitely the biggest home run of my career,” said Curry, who leads the team with 18.
The Frogs, who beat Florida State 8-1 in their CWS opener, trailed 7-3 entering the eighth.
Third baseman Sherman Johnson committed the Seminoles’ fifth error to start the inning, and it was a two-run game when Curry came to bat against Mike McGee, the hitting-and-pitching hero Wednesday in an 8-5 win over Florida.
Curry was down 1-2 in the count before McGee threw in the dirt and way high to run it full. With the pro-TCU crowd on its feet — some chanting “T-C-U! T-C-U!” — Curry put a big swing on the next pitch. He watched for a moment and turned to teammates in the first-base dugout, shaking clenched fists at them.
“I knew it could be my last college at-bat, and I was definitely going to go up and battle,” Curry said. “I got a curveball early in the count and just missed it and fouled it back. He threw another one, and I didn’t miss that one at all.”
Curry said he asked Holt the next inning why he acted as if he would make a play on the ball. Holt said he couldn’t see the ball in the twilight and that he was hoping that the ball might bounce off the fence. That never became an issue, but his charade fooled the Frogs and their coach.
“I almost dropped to my knees in tears,” Jim Schlossnagle said.
Ultimately, it was Florida State (48-20) that was disappointed. The Seminoles, without a national title in 20 CWS appearances, went 1-2 this year after bumbling in the field and blowing their big lead.
Clemson 6, Oklahoma 4
Clemson finished what it started the night before at the College World Series, but not before getting a scare from Oklahoma.
The Tigers, who used an OU pitching meltdown and costly error to build a five-run lead before the rain and lightning came in the fifth inning Tuesday night, held on to beat the Sooners 6-4 on Wednesday in the completion of a suspended game.
The win was a relief for Clemson after having its momentum stopped by the weather.
“You kind of left the job undone,” Tigers coach Jack Leggett said. “We wanted to finish that game off last night because we were feeling pretty good. It’s tough to go home and have to start your batteries up again.”
Oklahoma scored in each of the last three innings, but couldn’t come all the way back.
The Tigers (45-23) moved to the Bracket 2 championship game on Friday against either Oklahoma (50-17) or South Carolina. Those teams played Thursday, and the winner would have to beat Clemson twice to make it to next week’s best-of-three finals.
Clemson finds itself in ideal position after a season that saw it lose nine of 12 games over a stretch, have to go on the road to start the postseason and come to Omaha as the only non-No. 1 regional seed.