Fort Worth Regional: Oral Roberts 8, TCU 4
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU's badge for reaching the 2010 College World Series sits conspicuously a few feet from the foul pole in left field.
A tweak of a tricep and a swing of a bat kept the Frogs from adding a second in 2011.
Kyle Winkler, one of two aces on the TCU staff, didn't make it out of the first inning Sunday after further injuring an existing stress reaction in his tricep and Oral Roberts' Chris Elder hit a sixth-inning grand slam off Teddy Nowell to help the Golden Eagles eliminate the Horned Frogs from the Fort Worth Regional of the NCAA tournament with an 8-4 win.
"He's special. He has really good stuff," ORU manager Rob Walton said of Winkler. "He's a go-to guy and he could have shut us down if he was going good. From an emotional standpoint, that might have deflated them a little bit. It was unfortunate, and then we took advantage."
Oral Roberts, having eliminated Oklahoma on Saturday, knocked out its second 2010 College World Series participant in as many games.
Once Winkler left, his next three replacements each gave up at least one run, none more costly than the grand slam off Nowell that turned a tight 4-3 game into a decisive 8-3 Golden Eagles lead.
Elder was the first batter the lefty faced on the night, and the ORU slugger, who led the team with 10 home runs entering the game, hit .358 against left-handed pitchers versus just more than .300 against right-handers.
"I wish Coach Walton would have told me that," said TCU manager Jim Schlossnagle, who added that the slam "took the wind out of our sails."
Winkler, who missed two of his previous three starts and didn't play in the Mountain West Conference tournament, wasn't expected to be at 100 percent, but in his perfect world, the game would have ended in the bottom of the ninth with him mowing down three more ORU batters.
Instead, after the top of the ninth, Winkler stood outside the dugout, wearing a sling and a towel draped across his neck to soften the sling's strap. He waited before being joined by his teammates, who took to the infield and congratulated ORU for the win on the Horned Frogs' home field.
As the Golden Eagles sought air conditioning on the near triple-digit temperature day before the nightcap against Dallas Baptist, Winkler and his teammates sang the alma mater for the fans at home plate for the last time until next spring.
"It's interesting. You go 43-19 and set a school record for attendance, host a regional and ranked in the top 12 for most of the year, and everybody's really disappointed," Schlossnagle said. "That's fine, and we've always wanted to create a high expectation here, and if you fall short of Omaha, everybody is upset about it, but 43-19 is pretty good, and there's a lot of clubs that might want to be where we are, but that's not what we want to think about at this time."