Play of the game

The Houston Astros had one moment that made them smile on Thursday evening. TCU senior Derek Odell led off the bottom of the fourth inning with what appeared to be a single up the middle. But LSU junior shortstop Alex Bregman had other ideas, gloving the ball to his left, spinning and firing to first base for the web gem.

Star of the game

When the Horned Frogs needed it most, redshirt senior right-hander Trey Teakell gave TCU the shutdown pitching performance it needed to help defeat LSU. After redshirt sophomore right-hander Mitchell Traver surrendered three runs in 3.1 innings, Teakell smothered the Tigers offense, retiring the next 13 hitters.

Key decision

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Mainieri turned to two freshmen to help keep the Horned Frogs down, but TCU took advantage. Austin Bain began the frame, allowing two walks and an RBI double, and Jake Godfrey followed by facing one batter — Dane Steinhagan — who roped a two-RBI double to right field.

Cold start

LSU coach Paul Mainieri was probably hoping for a little more out of senior left-hander Zac Person. Person, who got the start against TCU on Thursday evening, lasted only 1.1 innings, allowing three runs on three hits. After a clean bottom of the first, things began to unravel for Person as TCU began the frame with consecutive singles, followed by two straight walks.

An oddity

The bottom of the third inning featured two players trying to convince the home plate umpire in their favors. With two strikes and two outs, TCU’s Dane Steinhagan thought about offering at a pitch, check-swinging at the delivery. LSU catcher Kade Scivicque began walking toward the dugout, but home plate umpire Frank Sylvester wasn’t buying it. After the pitch was called a ball, Steinhagan began trotting down to first base, but there were only three balls in the count.

Defining moment

With two on and one out in the bottom of the fifth inning of a 4-3 game, TCU’s Dane Steinhagan stepped up to the plate looking to blow the game open against LSU freshman right-hander Jake Godfrey. He did just that, lacing a two-run double to right field to give the Horned Frogs a 6-3 lead.

Our take

When all is said and done, it’s difficult to say the better team didn’t win on Thursday evening. LSU had two opportunities against TCU: once to get the Horned Frogs off to a 0-1 start, and another to eliminate them from the tournament. Instead, TCU did both of those things to the Tigers. TCU was more clutch at the plate and had better pitching in two contests, leading to a simple winning formula.

Lawrence Barreca