Sean Wymer struck out national player of the year Brendan McKay in two key situations while pitching 4 1/3 innings of shutout relief, and TCU was on the right side of two close plays in a 4-3 win over Louisville in a College World Series elimination game Thursday night.

The Horned Frogs (49-17) jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead, with one of their runs coming on a play at the plate that withstood a video review. Wymer (6-4) limited the Cardinals (53-12) to two hits after they had pulled within a run on McKay’s 18th homer of the year and Logan Taylor’s first homer in 123 games.

McKay came up two more times with chances to tie the game or give Louisville the lead, but Wymer struck him out to end the fifth and eighth innings. Louisville coach Dan McDonnell was ejected in the eighth for arguing a call at second base.

TCU, which took a 4-0 lead in the second inning against Nick Bennett (5-1), advances to the Bracket 2 final needing to beat Florida on Friday night and again Saturday to reach the best-of-three championship series for the first time.



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Many people thought they had “Big Little Lies” pegged after HBO aired the first episode of the limited series in February. Soapy whodunit. Bitchy behavior. Mommy wars. Privileged women. Impossibly gorgeous homes.

The series invited those judgments and then proceeded to methodically upend them, delivering a nuanced look at motherhood, domestic abuse and, yes, the ways that knee-jerk assumptions can be wrong, damaging and self-sabotaging. Ultimately, it’s about a group of women finding solace and strength in each other.

That dynamic played out among the cast, as we learn from a long conversation with “Big Little Lies” stars Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern. In the series, Witherspoon plays Madeline, the community’s queen bee, who clashes with Dern’s steely career mom, Renata. Kidman plays Celeste, envied, elegant, but hiding a secret life of violent abuse.

These actresses adore one another and, in between Dern and Witherspoon planning a vacation together and stories of Dern’s dad, Bruce, visiting the set (“It was a scene with a lot of profanity,” Dern remembers, laughing, “and I think he brought out the best in us”), they spoke about what made the series so special and why they’re eager to bring it back for a second season.


People take this show to heart. They want to talk about it. Has that led to some interesting public encounters?

Kidman: I was on a plane coming out here last night and I had a guy stand up and go, “ ‘Big Little Lies’! Yes!” And I’m kind of embarrassed because of my character. I’m not quite sure how to communicate with people. Am I communicating on behalf of Celeste and saying, “I know”? It’s weird. And then the people sitting behind me told me, “We just really want a Season 2. That’s all we want to say.”

Dern: I think we all want a Season 2!

I think the show pulled back the curtain on what women are really thinking in marriage and life and that it’s not just the persona we construct for society.

— Reese Witherspoon

Nicole and Reese, you’re producers. You can make it happen.

Kidman: We’re putting out feelers. We’ve talked to [“Big Little Lies” author] Liane [Moriarty]. It never started that way, the idea of another chapter. But at the same time, the thought of continuing the lives … there’s definitely room for exploration.

Witherspoon: The only thing about a Season 2 is that Renata and Madeline wouldn’t get to torture each other. Now we’re friends. That’s no fun!

Dern: We’ll figure out somebody new to torture. A new character. And we can hate them together. Renata and Madeline united!

Witherspoon: It was just a joy and privilege to work with actresses of this caliber.

Dern: Or actresses, period!

Witherspoon: Right. I’m always the only actress in a movie. The idea of sitting across from you guys and breaking a scene together. I remember telling Laura, “I can’t say this thing … I need your help.” It was just a completely different working experience. I’ve never been able to talk about those things with anybody on set.

Dern: Both of you were so fierce about making sure Renata’s plight was a piece of the story. We were in the middle of a huge moment culturally of watching a woman run for the highest office in the U.S. and there was so much projection on who she is as a mother, as a wife. All these misconceptions of a woman in a position of power.

And so the two of you, making sure we’re telling the story of what if you’re the one lone woman running the show in a boardroom with 14 guys and there’s no other women you’re working with. And what does that feel like?

And then just the life experience … because these two goddesses have made me feel not alone as the mom who’s working and feeling guilty at every step I take on set when I’m not with my children. To have other women ask, “How do you get them to the singing thing?” “Can we change schedules so I can go see their play?”

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That kind of commiseration ends up being one of the show’s themes. I loved the scene of Celeste and Madeline in the car, just after Celeste argued and won the “Avenue Q” case with the mayor. It really captured those feelings of conflict and guilt and the fear of not measuring up.

Kidman: [To Witherspoon] I told you. People love that scene.

Witherspoon: We talked about that scene a lot. With HBO. With [writer-creator] David Kelley.

Kidman: A lot. There’s an unburdening, but Celeste still isn’t saying what’s really going on. She’s revealing, “I felt good in the work and it’s not enough being a mother.” But I don’t also say, “I’m getting hit.” I can’t say that. I can get close but then I pull back. And she can’t reveal what’s going on with her, the affair.

Witherspoon: I think the show pulled back the curtain on what women are really thinking in marriage and life and that it’s not just the persona we construct for society. What are the deep, secret, sometimes shameful things, sometimes just plain longings, that women have about everything from abuse to sexuality to maternal ambivalence?

Kidman: And it’s unapologetic too. Maybe that’s why men liked it. It was, in a way, educational.

Dern: The number of men who watched shocked me.

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Witherspoon: Liane understands women. She’s right there, living it. She told me the woman she loosely based Madeline on came up to her at school, during drop-off and said, “You know what I hate? That Madeline character!”

Kidman: My sister has a girl crush on Madeline. On Reese, actually. But she totally relates to Madeline.

Witherspoon: David E. Kelley was saying, “There’s no one to play Madeline but you.” And I was thinking, “That’s sort of insulting.”

Dern: I also want to say that beyond the pleasure of participating and telling these stories and seeing complicated female characters together, there’s also the deeper level of how many people are grateful the show addresses the question of domestic violence and sexual assault.

We think we’re just telling stories, but I happen to be reading — and it’s hard not to politicize every moment these days — that the new [proposed] healthcare bill’s list of preexisting conditions where you’re not eligible for healthcare, one of them is domestic violence. If you have been abused by your partner, then you’re not eligible. So I just feel grateful we’re in the thick of this.

Kidman: I get so many emails from people revealing things — their relationships of domestic violence or even why a woman stays in a relationship with an abuser. I’ve made movies — Virginia Woolf [“The Hours”] about depression and suicide — that have had a social impact, but never anything like this.

Someone just recently came up to me and told me, “My girlfriend is leaving her husband. She told me, ‘I am Celeste.’ ” That’s the only way she could put it: ‘I am Celeste.’”

We set out making this with entertainment in mind, knowing this was the underbelly.

Witherspoon: The way [director] Jean-Marc [Vallée] wove it all together made that possible.

Kidman: And he feels you. The sex scenes — and we all had different ones — there’s not a lot of preparation, which leads to you feeling an abandonment. It really helps.

Witherspoon: He doesn’t have a lot of embarrassment about it either.

Kidman: He’s Canadian!

Witherspoon: Is that what it is? You don’t feel awkward at all.

Kidman: I didn’t feel awkward. But I had similar feelings to Celeste. I was vulnerable. I was in my underwear on the floor, bruised. And with Jean-Marc, there was no, “Ooooooh,” holding you. None of that. He kept his distance. It was just, “Let’s do it, shoot it, get it and then deal with it later.” Which is a great way to do those things because then you don’t analyze it. You’re abandoned in the moment, which is what you need.

You had a rather abandoned sex scene, Laura …

Kidman: She sure did!

Dern: And he was very present in my scene!

Kidman: He was? He was not present in mine!

Dern: It was a close-up and he wanted the angles a certain way, so he’s in there, grabbing body parts. [Laughs]

I loved the cutaway to the office reacting to the loud lovemaking.

Kidman: That was so funny. You gotta have the funny.

Witherspoon: And Renata’s eye patch is one of my favorite things ever.

Dern: It was originally written that maybe I had a Band-Aid, but the patch seemed much better. I just loved the idea of Renata finally having this moment of compassion where she’s really raw and I felt completely covered in a sad pirate outfit.

“I felt completely covered in a sad pirate outfit,” Laura Dern says of her “Big Little Lies” eye patch. (Hilary Bronwyn Gayle / HBO)

Kidman: I love when you’re always freaking out about your daughter. It says so much about what you’re protecting and what triggers you and maybe your history and why you’re reacting like that.

Witherspoon: That will come out in Season 2!

Dern: Oooooooh!

What about Madeline and Ed, Reese? The fate of their marriage was left ambiguous. That could be good Season 2 material.

Witherspoon: (Long pause) That was … open-ended.

Kidman: (To interviewer) You’re so funny. You’re really into these relationships!

Adam Scott told me he thought singing the Elvis song to Madeline in the finale marked a turning point for Ed. Maybe for Madeline as well. What do you think?

Kidman: You’re the new therapist! You’ve turned into the marriage counselor! “So … I’ve talked to your husband … what do you think?”

Witherspoon: I don’t know what will happen.

Kidman: Madeline still has some anger.

Witherspoon: Liane has ideas what happened. I don’t know if Madeline tells Ed about the affair. I don’t know what his reaction would be.

(To Kidman) You’re her best friend. What do you think?

Kidman: (Laughs) Now I’m the marriage counselor? I’ve got my own [stuff] to deal with.

Witherspoon: Like two kids and a dead husband. She’s got some stuff to deal with.

Kidman: Celeste says the right thing to the kids, but there were so many instances of complete denial, where she was adamant that the abuse wouldn’t affect the children, that they didn’t see or hear anything.

Witherspoon: And there’s the question of nature versus nurture. I like that scene with you and Shailene [Woodley] where she says, “Kids bully. They grow out of it.” And you say, “Sometimes they don’t.”

Dern: Chills.

Witherspoon: I don’t think any parent knows what the makeup of their child is. We all live in fear that we’re going to get that call: “Your kid started the fight. Your daughter said the thing that hurt the other girl’s feelings.” The unknown part of parenting is terrifying and I think that’s a big theme of the show as well. And there’s an unknown aspect of what’s going to happen to Celeste’s twins. They’ve seen and experienced a lot of violence.

Kidman: They’re going to be loved through it.

Witherspoon: Can loving conquer nature? I don’t know. I have a lot of follow-up questions for Celeste.

Kidman: Then Madeline’s going to have to come clean about her affair!

Dern: By the way, this is what I love about women finally getting to work together. Because these are the daily conversations.

Witherspoon: Yeah! And then we go out and drink wine and talk about it more!

Kidman: You can see why we want to do this again.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BTz2TALDorA/

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

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Adam Scott on what happens to his ‘Big Little Lies’ character after season’s end

Reese’s crush on Shailene, the ‘feminist’ label and more: Checking in with the cast of ‘Big Little Lies’

So who died? Six things we learned from that ‘Big Little Lies’ finale



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Jared Poche’ became LSU’s career wins leader, Jake Slaughter hit a three-run homer, and the Tigers eliminated Florida State from the College World Series with a 7-4 win Wednesday night.

LSU (50-18) advanced to the Bracket 1 final against No. 1 national seed Oregon State, which beat the Tigers 13-1 on Monday. The Tigers would have to beat the Beavers on Friday and again Saturday to reach the best-of-three finals next week.

Florida State (46-23) will go home without a national title for a 22nd time, and 16th under Mike Martin, who completed his 38th year as coach. No program has as many CWS appearances without winning the championship.

Poche’ (12-3), making his school-record 69th career start, won for the 39th time to break the record Scott Schultz set from 1992-95. He left after Quincy Nieporte and Cal Raleigh homered on consecutive pitches in the ninth. Zack Hess struck out the side for his third save.

Slaughter, making his first CWS start and batting out of the 9-hole, barely cleared the left-center fence when he connected on a hanging breaking ball from FSU starter Cole Sands (6-4) in the second inning. The homer, which made it 5-0 and ended Sands’ night, was the freshman’s first since March 15 and third of the season.

Slaughter, who had been a pinch runner and pinch hitter in the Tigers’ first two CWS games, got the start in place of Nick Coomes and also came up big on defense. He somehow kept his foot on the bag as he laid out to catch second baseman Cole Freeman’s relay to complete an inning-ending double play in the third, and he snagged a low liner off Jackson Lueck’s bat in the fourth.

Andrew Karp struck out seven and limited the Tigers to two singles over 5 1/3 shutout innings in relief of Sands. The Tigers tacked on a couple insurance runs in the ninth against Drew Carlton.



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In the lovely, lively new Netflix comedy “GLOW,” which premieres Friday morning a minute after midnight, Alison Brie plays Ruth, a never-hired actress in 1985 Hollywood who stumbles into the world of professional wrestling.

“Every director says, ‘Bring me someone I don’t know, someone I haven’t seen, I want a girl who’s real,’” a casting director tells Ruth. “So I bring you in so they can see that they don’t actually want the thing they think they want.”

Then one day she answers a call for “unconventional women” and finds herself in a gym among actresses of all shapes, colors and dispositions, most of them outsiders in one way or another. Facing them is Sam (Marc Maron), a director of low-budget horror fare, who has been hired to make the world’s first women’s wrestling TV show.

“I like to push the envelope,” he says. “I like to jolt people into consciousness. Like my first feature credit, ‘Swamp Maidens of the Viet Cong.'” In the way of such stories — “The Bad News Bears,” “A League of Their Own,” he is an outsider too — down on his luck but ripe for reinvention.

Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, with “Orange Is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan as an executive producer and contributing writer, the series is, broadly speaking, the story of the creation of a cable TV pilot, “GLOW: Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” set back when cable and wrestling were truly subcultural. Like wrestling itself — the scripted kind, not to wreck any cherished illusions, reader — it is based in stories both about sports and show business. (“Are you hiring actors to play wrestlers, or are we wrestlers?” Ruth asks Sam. ‘Yes,” he replies.)

It’s a tale of conflict and cooperation, about teamwork disguised as rivalry, and rivalry subsumed in teamwork, of plucky outsiders fighting for respect and self-respect. And the story of women living in close proximity has something in common with “Orange Is the New Black”; the wrestlers all move into the same motel while they train, and though they are free to leave, one might say they are prisoners of their own need to stay.

Some characters get more screen time than others, but none are shallow; all get to tell you at least a little bit about who they are, without making too obvious a point of it (The exposition creeps in on little cat feet.) Even a figure as ripe for mockery as Bash (Chris Lowell), the rich kid backing the project, is portrayed sympathetically and with depth. (“I am a patron of the arts, and wrestling is an art, despite my mother’s opinion, which is wrong.”)

As the focus of what is very much an ensemble — notably featuring Sydelle Noel, Britney Young and Gayle Rankin — Brie is not the first person you would expect to find in a show about wrestling. That, of course, is part of the point; her character wills herself into the role. Though Brie was a key member of the cast of “Community” and a memorable occasional presence in “Mad Men,” “GLOW” offers a welcome opportunity to watch her at length and in depth. She very much holds her ground. It’s an intelligent, felt performance, but also a funny and physical one; her one-woman depiction of a two-woman wrestling match is a bit of slapstick brilliance.

Maron, too, is very fine in a role that fits him like the old boots he wears — a little acid, a little angry, kinder that not; it’s not miles or even yards away from the version of himself he played on his IFC sitcom “Maron.” And as Deb, Ruth’s more successful, estranged best friend and eventual wrestling rival, the excellent Betty Gilpin is the series’ locus of suppressed pain. Potentially soap-operatic — intentionally potentially so, I’d say — it’s a subtle performance with surprising turns.

“GLOW” was an actual ’80s wrestling show, the first to feature women. I have no idea how closely this fiction hews to the historical record, but the series is too well-made for it to matter one way or the other. There are ’80s references, to be sure: Steve Guttenberg, Fresca, the Angry Samoans, “Scarecrow and Mrs. King,” roller disco, Jane Fonda-style workouts. (Southern California viewers may appreciate local nods to Two Panda Deli, Aron’s Records, Poseur). There are some horrifying fashions and remarkable hairstyles.

But the story takes you into its own, fully realized world, including some scenic detours and set pieces not entirely essential to the story. (That is the luxury of the 10-episode series.) Christian Sprenger, whose naturalistic work I’ve admired on “Baskets” and “Atlanta,” has a gift for finding poetry in light and space – he has a respectful eye for things as they are. Indeed, an attitude of respect characterizes the entire series; you may finish the series with a better opinion of professional wrestling than when you went in.

‘GLOW’

Where: Netflix

When: Anytime starting Friday

Rating: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17)

robert.lloyd@latimes.com

Follow Robert Lloyd on Twitter @LATimesTVLloyd

ALSO:

Netflix’s wrestling comedy, ‘GLOW,’ enters the TV ring armed with hammerlocks and female empowerment

Just a chat with your friendly neighborhood president



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Brian Howard matched his career high with 12 strikeouts in seven-plus innings, Omaha native Ryan Merrill homered to start a three-run third and TCU beat Texas A&M 4-1 in a College World Series elimination game on Tuesday.

The Horned Frogs (48-16) avoided going 0-2 for the first time in five all-time CWS appearances. The Aggies (41-23) have gone two-games-and-out in their last three appearances and have lost eight in a row in Omaha.

Howard (12-3), the Oakland Athletics‘ eighth-round draft pick, flummoxed the Aggies with pinpoint location of his fastball and cutter. He struck out six of the first seven batters he faced and held the Aggies scoreless until Braden Shewmake’s RBI groundout in the sixth inning.

Texas A&M starter Stephen Kolek (4-5) was knocked out in 2 2/3 innings, matching his shortest start of the season. Kaylor Chafin held the Frogs to three singles the rest of the way.

Howard left after George Janca doubled leading off the eighth. Sean Wymer came on and retired six straight to end the game and earn his second save.

Merrill graduated from Millard West High School in Omaha and passed on a chance to walk on at Nebraska, opting instead to play two years at nearby Iowa Western Community College. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the 15th round in 2015, but he opted to go to TCU for the possibility of someday returning to his hometown to play in the CWS.

He became the starting shortstop last year and the Frogs made the CWS, where he batted .300 with a .462 on-base percentage and made the all-tournament team. In the Frogs’ first game in this year’s CWS he went 1 for 3 in a 3-0 loss to Florida on Sunday.

In his first at-bat Tuesday he drilled Kolek’s 1-2 pitch off the back wall in the right-field bullpen for his sixth homer of the season and seventh of his TCU career. Evan Skoug doubled in a run and Elliott Barzilli had an RBI single to make it 4-0.

Since the Big 12 Tournament, Howard is 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 30 innings. He struck out 12 for the second time in four starts.

The game matched teams located 175 miles apart and rivals since their days in the old Southwest Conference. TCU won three-game super regionals against the Aggies in 2015 and ‘16, and beat them 11-10 in 15 innings in their regular-season meeting. The Aggies still lead the all-time series 162-94-4.

Florida cruises past Louisville 5-1

Brady Singer pitched seven strong innings and Austin Langworthy and Deacon Liput homered to lead Florida to a 5-1 win over Louisville in the College World Series on Tuesday night.

The Gators (49-18) have won their first two CWS games for the first time in four appearances since opening 3-0 and reaching the finals in 2011.

Louisville (53-11) managed one run on six hits and struck out nine times against Singer (8-5). Florida pitchers finished with 10 strikeouts, making it their fifth straight game with double-digit Ks.

The left-handed-swinging Langworthy sliced a ball just inside the left field foul pole in the third and Liput hit a three-run homer to right in the fourth. Both homers came against Louisville starter Kade McClure (8-4), who otherwise was impressive in striking out nine and walking one in six innings.

The 6-foot-7, 230-pound McClure had kept the game close until there were two outs in the fourth. He walked Nelson Maldonado and Jonathan India singled before Liput drove a low 1-2 pitch into the bullpen for his second homer in four games and third of the season. He celebrated in the dugout by dumping a bucket of ice water over the head of a Gators staff member.

Singer hummed along through six innings, striking out eight, walking none and limiting the Cardinals to three singles. Louisville broke through for a run in the seventh when Brendan McKay doubled and scored on Colin Lyman’s two-out single. A base hit and walk followed, but the Cardinals left the bases loaded when Logan Taylor grounded out.

sports@latimes.com



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Spotify is ramping up its June Pride Month programming with a series of original videos highlighting different facets of LGBTQ history, with special guests such as Miley Cyrus, Troye Sivan and Halsey hosting various segments.

The series consists of five animated multi-part videos encompassing 22 episodes ranging in length from 10 seconds to a little under three minutes. They are titled “Around 2 am,” “Calling in Gay,” “Silence = Death,” “5-4” and “Bathroom Bans.”

Cyrus narrates “Around 2 am,” which relates the story of the Stonewall Inn gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, which became the focal point of a major demonstration in 1969 over gay and transgender rights.

See the most-read stories in Entertainment this hour »

Other videos highlight the AIDS epidemic that emerged in the 1980s and the current battle over transgender rights. The streaming service collaborated with GLAAD and Greater Than AIDS to create the videos, which also feature interviews with LGBTQ figures such as DJ Linda Bradford, Broadway star Billy Porter and AIDS activist Peter Staley, according to Billboard.

The video series expands on the programming being offered all month, highlighted on Spotify’s Pride Hub, which features daily playlists and sets curated by LGBTQ celebrities such as Tom Daley, Bob the Drag Queen and iLoveMakonnen and musicians including Thalia and LeAnn Rimes.

randy.lewis@latimes.com

Follow @RandyLewis2 on Twitter.com

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China has had its ups and downs, says historian and PBS series host Michael Wood. And now that the world’s oldest nation is on its way back up, it’s time to take another look at its history in “The Story of China.”

The six-part documentary, which will air over three consecutive Tuesdays, is part of the network’s Summer of Adventure series. The summer series includes multi-part documentaries on Havana, Alaska, Ireland and Yellowstone.

Covering China’s history, however, is a herculean task given that it dates 4,000 years. Wood attempts to look at the country from ancient civilization to modern boon, and does so through varied themes that include historical texts, interviews and his own on-the-ground perspective.

The one-hour episodes “Ancestors” and “Silk Roads & China Ships” open the series Tuesday. They’ll be followed in the coming weeks by episodes devoted to the “Golden Age,” “The Ming,” “The Last Empire” and “The Age of Revolution.”

If you happen to be knowledgeable or passionate about the history of China, this PBS series will likely light up several parts of your brain. It’s a vast collection of fascinating factoids, breathtaking scenery and thorough research.

For the rest of us who simply enjoy discovering other regions, cultures and eras via well-made PBS docs, “The Story of China” is not as compelling. Though “The Story of China” runs in a loose chronological order, it can feel jumbled and bit disorganized in it’s attempt to harness so much history. Let’s just say the series is highly variable, just like the place it features.

Wood takes us through the narrative arc of China via his own travels across the country, interviews with everyday citizens and historians and gorgeous footage of monuments contrasted against the modern infrastructure built up around them.

“China has been in a headlong rush into the future,” says Wood at the outset of Episode 1. But it’s doing so by looking at the past.

Several of the series episodes employ the idea of using modern scenarios to explain the past. For instance, in the debut show, Chinese are shown honoring their ancient ancestors in a Festival of Light ceremony. It’s an interesting bit of culture and history on its own but doesn’t quite help string together a larger story.

Instead moments like these can pull the viewer out of the bigger story arc and make the pacing feel bumpy and irregular. That’s not to say that moving through the dynasties — Xia, Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han — isn’t fascinating. It is. But the folksy first-hand experiences of Wood can take away from the grandeur.

“The Story of China” does however provide the back story to the place we see today — the most populous and perhaps soon-to-be most powerful nation on the planet.

‘The Story of China’

Where: KOCE

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Rating: TV-PG (may be unsuitable for young children)

lorraine.ali@latimes.com

@lorraineali



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Alex Faedo limited TCU to two singles and struck out 11 in seven innings, and Florida posted its first College World Series shutout since 1991 with a 3-0 win Sunday night.

Faedo, the Detroit Tigers‘ first-round draft pick this month, retired 10 in a row before turning the game over to closer Michael Byrne to start the eighth.

Faedo (8-2) has been part of seven of the Gators’ nine shutouts this season. The shutout was Florida’s second in its 36 all-time CWS games and first in Omaha since a 5-0 win over Florida State 26 years ago.

Jared Janczak (9-1) took the loss, and Byrne earned his 17th save.

JJ Schwarz, Christian Hicks and Nelson Maldonado each drove in runs for the Gators (48-18), who will play Louisville in a Bracket 2 winners’ game Tuesday night. The Horned Frogs (47-17) play Texas A&M in an elimination game Tuesday.

Louisville 8, Texas A&M 4: Louisville had an early five-run lead against Texas A&M and national player of the year Brendan McKay was on the mound. It should have been game over, right?

“We knew Texas A&M wasn’t going to fold,” coach Dan McDonnell said.

The Aggies didn’t. They pulled within a run in the sixth inning before Sam Bordner shut them down with three innings of no-hit relief, and the Cardinals went on to a victory in the College World Series.

The Cardinals (53-10) used six singles and a walk to build a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Corbin Martin (7-4). Texas A&M chipped away against McKay (11-3) to make it 5-4 before Bordner entered and continued to flash his postseason dominance. The sophomore has given up no runs and one hit in his last 11 innings over four appearances.

“I think Sam’s been the X factor, a little under the radar,” McDonnell said. “When you’re in that first out-of-the-bullpen or middle relief role, it’s just not as sexy, and you don’t get as much attention. But clearly Sam’s been hot all year.”



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Greg Deichmann drove in the go-ahead run during a wild eighth inning, and Louisiana State won its 17th straight game with a 5-4 victory over Florida State in the College World Series on Saturday night.

Jared Poche’ (11-3) worked 2 2/3 shutout innings in a rare relief appearance for the win. Tyler Holton (10-3), who pitched a workmanlike 7 1/3 innings, took the loss.

LSU (49-7) was down 4-3 when a bizarre sequence turned the game in the eighth. Cole Freeman reached on a base hit and Antoine Duplantis singled past diving second baseman Matt Henderson.

The ball rolled past Steven Wells, and the right fielder was off-target with his throw trying to get Duplantis at second. Freeman headed for home, and third baseman Dylan Busby’s throw to catcher Cal Raleigh popped out of his glove as Freeman slid past. There were three errors on the play — two on Wells and the other on Raleigh.

Alec Byrd relieved Holton, and Deichmann singled through the right side against a pulled-in infield to bring home Duplantis for the lead.

The Seminoles (45-22) had runners on first and second in the ninth when Zack Hess ended the game with a strikeout of Busby.

Florida State got out to a quick 2-0 lead against starter Alex Lange, who labored in his six-plus innings. Lange walked Taylor Walls to start the game, and then Busby cleared the wall in dead center with his team-leading 15th homer of the season.

Lange, the No. 30 overall draft pick by the Chicago Cubs, had difficulty controlling his fastball, and the Seminoles had their leadoff man reach base in six of the first seven innings. Lange allowed seven hits, walked four and struck out eight before coming out when he hit 9-hole batter JC Flowers to start the seventh.

Poche’, the Tigers‘ No. 2 starter most of the season, came on for his first relief appearance of the season with the Tigers trailing 4-3. He allowed two singles before giving way to Hess.

LSU’s first run scored on a freak play. Duplantis was stealing when Holton threw a wild pitch on what would go down as a dropped third strike. Duplantis took third on the play as Raleigh chased the ball and came home when Holton failed to cover the plate.

Michael Papierski homered into the seats above the left-field bullpen on Holton’s first pitch of the fifth inning to pull LSU to 4-3.



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Oregon State had lost only four games this college baseball season, entering the first game of the double-elimination College World Series in Omaha with a 54-4 mark.

It is a record of historic proportions, and in that begs a simple question: How? On Saturday, Cal State Fullerton received a lesson.

The Titans for a few, giddy innings, led 5-1. They lost 6-5.

Oregon State began wresting back control in the bottom of the sixth inning. It began with No. 3 hitter KJ Harrison. He put the game in a stranglehold in one breathtaking, seven-minute at-bat when Fullerton led by three runs.

The action began with a 2-2 count.

Right-hander Colton Eastman threw a fastball. Harrison fouled it back. Off-speed, yanked foul. Breaking ball, bounced foul. Fastball, fouled back. Curveball, fouled back. Fastball, fouled back.

Harrison fought off everything Eastman had. Three minutes had elapsed. The count was unchanged. Harrison chomped on green chewing gum. Eastman squinted his eyes. A fastball went wide — a full count.

Off-speed, fouled back. Then, finally, a ball high and away. Harrison walked.

It hadn’t even scored a run, merely loaded the bases, but the game had noticeably shifted.

It was Eastman’s fourth walk in the inning. He exited. Oregon State singled twice off Titans right-hander Blake Workman, and the score was tied.

Two innings later, the eighth, with a two-out single, hit batsman and a run-scoring single by Adley Rutschman against Workman, the game was won.

“We never caught our breath,” Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook said.

Fullerton had tasted sunshine against Oregon State but only for a moment.

That is more than most teams are afforded. No team, ever, has dominated college baseball as Oregon State has this season. Its resume ventures into the realm of the ridiculous. The Beavers own the best winning percentage in Division I history. They have won 22 games in a row, which isn’t even their best streak this season. They had one of 23 earlier in the year.

But Fullerton shocked them in the first inning. With two runners on, Timmy Richards tagged a ball toward the outfield, pausing abruptly before first base as the baseball began its final descent somewhere near the left-center-field fence.

The runner ahead of him had held back to make sure it wasn’t caught. Richards wouldn’t risk catching him.

This is Cal State Fullerton and fundamentals must always be minded, even on home-run balls. Richards resumed his trot only when the ball landed in the outfield seats.

“I don’t think I could have taken a better swing to that ball,” he said.

The Titans’ brand of hard-charging, sound baseball, plus the modicum of power provided by Richards, had made Oregon State jittery early.

By the fourth inning, the ESPN broadcast reported that the Beavers were concerned that Fullerton (39-23) was reading All-American right-hander Jake Thompson’s grip, intercepting his pitches. Later that inning, Chris Hudgins tagged a pitch that needed no advance warning, a hanging curveball, for a two-run single.

Thompson is the nation’s winningest pitcher, at 14-0, but he surrendered five runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Fullerton right-hander Connor Seabold held Oregon State to just one run, but he nibbled around the plate and had to retire after five innings and 97 pitches.

Eastman, who had been a hero in the super-regional series against Long Beach State that sent Fullerton to the College World Series, labored. In the dugout after the sixth inning, he sat with his head down.

“They’re really good. And I’m stupid,” Vanderhook said. “I outthought myself. Eastman was on a normal rest. We had a healthy lead. At that point, I figured let’s turn it over to the best guy, and definitely outthought myself. Probably would do it different again. And I let them get back in the game, and you don’t do that to good teams.”

In the dugout afterward, Vanderhook asked his team for just one out. Then, they’d catch their breath. They did.

By the eighth inning, Harrison stepped to the plate again. He caught a pitch on the barrel. Center fielder Scott Hurst plucked the ball right below the yellow line atop the fence, saving a long double.

It was the second out. But Oregon State was not done.

“That’s why they’ve only lost four games,” Vanderhook said.

zach.helfand@latimes.com

Follow Zach Helfand on Twitter @zhelfand

Helfand reported from Los Angeles.



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