By Jerry Briggs
For The JB Replay
The TCU Horned Frogs stormed to the NCAA Fayetteville Regional baseball title on Monday with a 12-4 victory over the host Arkansas Razorbacks.
Now it’s on to the Super Regional round of the tournament against the Indiana State Sycamores.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, officials had not announced the game site for the best-of-three, series between TCU (40-22) and Indiana State (45-15).
Kurtis Byrne blasted two home runs and Austin Davis and Tre Richardson hit one apiece as the Frogs won their ninth straight game and completed a 3-0 sweep of their competition in Fayetteville.
San Antonio’s Anthony Silva figured in two of the scoring rallies. In the fourth inning he was hit by a pitch and scored on a two-RBI single by Davis. In the sixth, the TCU freshman from Clark led off with a single to right field and scored the go-ahead run when Davis blasted a two-run homer.
Ben Abelt (3-3) earned the victory by pitching 4 and 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The lefthander with a quirky delivery allowed only one hit and two walks. He struck out four.
TCU entered the regional in Fayetteville as the No. 2 seed. On Friday, they downed three-seed Arizona 12-4 behind Brayden Taylor’s four-hit, six-RBI barrage.
On Saturday, the Frogs waited out a weather and ultimately never played, pushing the schedule back a day. Sunday, they poured it on the top-seeded Razorbacks, 20-5, with Richardson hitting three home runs and driving in 11.
The Razorbacks, who entered the NCAA tournament as the 64-team field’s No. 3 overall seed, had to drop down to the losers bracket to beat Santa Clara on Sunday night just to stay alive.
As a result, Arkansas entered play Monday needing two victories to win the regional.
For the Razorbacks, it wasn’t meant to be. Even after hitting back-to-back home runs and taking a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth, they couldn’t hold on. The Frogs scored one run in their half of the fifth, three in the sixth, one in the seventh and five in the eighth.
The eighth was memorable for the Frogs. Cole Fontenelle ripped a two-run double. Richardson followed with a two-run homer to center. Then Byrne hit one out to right field for his second homer in two innings.
Offensively, TCU is putting it together at the right time, clinching a regional title en route to the team’s sixth double-figure scoring output since May 24.
How the Texas teams have fared
Texas: (41-20) Beat host Miami for the title on Sunday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Texas Tech: (41-23) Lost to host Florida in the title game Monday in Gainesville, Fla.
TCU: (40-22) Defeated host Arkansas Monday to win the title in Fayetteville, Ark.
Texas A&M: (38-26) Scheduled to play at Stanford in the title game Monday night.
Dallas Baptist (47-16) Lost to Oral Roberts in the finals Sunday at Stillwater, Okla.
Sam Houston State: (39-25) Eliminated after three games at Baton Rouge, La.