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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Howard dominates as Texas A&M falls to TCU in season-ending fashion, 4-1

Brian Howard

OMAHA, Neb. – For the third-straight season, TCU ended the Aggies’ season in demoralizing fashion.
For the second-straight season, it was Brian Howard who owned the day.
The lanky 6-9 right-hander pitched seven innings of one-run ball as the Horned Frogs beat Texas A&M 4-1 win in Game 7 of the College World Series at TD-Ameritrade Park.
“The story today was Brian Howard,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said in the postgame press conference. “He was fabulous on the mound and we didn’t have a whole lot of opportunities.”
From the opening pitch, Howard was in a groove. He struck out the side in each of the first two innings and threw 70 of his 91 pitches for strikes. He struck out 12 and walked none.
It was like déjà vu for the Aggies after Howard scattered two hits and one unearned run over seven outstanding innings in TCU’s 4-1 victory over A&M in the decisive Game 3 of the 2016 Super Regional.
“I didn’t really take that into account,” Howard said of last year’s outing against the Ags. “The game is pretty much the same for me no matter who I’m playing. I just want to execute pitches down at the bottom of the strike zone and use my frame to get weak contact. And I was able to do that today.”
Stephen Kolek got the ball for the Aggies Tuesday, and the Horned Frogs made him uncomfortable from the start. Kolek managed to escape a two-on, no out situation in the first unscathed by striking out Evan Skoug and then getting a strike-em-out, throw-em-out, but then allowed a run in the second and was chased in the third.
Ryan Merrill led off the third with a solo home run to right and, after a groundout and a hit-by-pitch, Skoug made it a 3-0 game with an RBI double to right-center field.
“I think maybe in the first he was trying to, you know, paint up a little bit,” catcher Cole Bedford said. “But he’s got good stuff, and everyone’s seen that his last six, seven, eight outings. I mean, I think looking back maybe I should have helped him out set up a little bit on the plate. I was probably trying to pick a little bit, too, and trying to be too fine instead of trusting the movement in the ball and letting it work and trusting the guys behind us.”
After Evan Barzilli singled home Skoug with two outs later in the inning, Childress had no choice but to turn to his bullpen ace Kaylor Chafin.
Chafin responded like he has all season, turning in yet another masterful performance in relief. The junior lefty pitched the rest of the game, allowing only three baserunners in 5.1 innings, striking out six and walking none.
“Kaylor Chafin gave us a wonderful effort and keep the game close and gave us a chance,” Childress said. “It wasn’t meant to be.”
But aside from a minor rally in the sixth, the Aggies could not get to Howard.
In the sixth, Austin Homan led off with a single and moved to third on a double by Bedford. Braden Shewmake plated Homan with an RBI groundout to second, but Howard rebounded to strike out Hunter Coleman to escape the frame without any further damage.
“I felt like we didn’t chase the scoreboard,” Bedford said. “If we would have strung some at-bats together and do what we’re supposed to, then the runs will take care of themselves. And looking back, I don’t think that anyone tried to hit a 4-run bomb or 5- run bomb. I don’t think anyone was trying to swing too big.
“It’s baseball. There’s only going to be one team at the end of the year that’s kind of pumped at where they ended up.”
George Janca started the eighth off Howard with a double that one-hopped the wall in dead center field, but Sean Wymer relieved Howard and proceeded to throw two perfect innings to garner his second save of the season.
After tossing five perfect innings when the two teams met earlier in the season at the Minute Maid Classic, Wymer stifled the Aggies for seven perfect innings of relief in 2017.
The loss marks the end of a fantastic season for the Aggies, as they did what very few people thought they could do after starting 0-5 in SEC play. The players I talked to after the game were proud that they could make a run to Omaha, and the seniors were happy they could end their final season on college baseball’s biggest stage.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team,” Janca concluded. “It’s obviously not how we wanted to end our season but it’s been an incredible accomplishment for us and the seniors and upperclassmen paved the way for us. We’re going to have to continue that.”

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  • Kaylor Chafin pitched 5.1 scoreless innings of relief in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to TCU.

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