TCU beats Baylor 2-1 in 15th on Frogs catcher’s double

Posted Sunday, Apr. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Baylor at TCU (at Lupton Stadium) Game 1: Bayor 3, TCU 2 Game 2: TCU 2, Baylor 1 (15) Game 3: 1 p.m. Sunday, TCU RHP Andrew Mitchell (0-1) vs. RHP Ryan Smith (1-2) TV: FSSW Plus; Radio: KTCU/88.7 FM

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TCU’s Kyle Bacak had laid off two first-pitch fastballs earlier in Saturday’s game from Baylor’s Josh Michalec. Now it was the 15th inning and Bacak, a junior transfer from San Jacinto College, was ready to pounce if he saw another.

Michalec threw the fastball and Bacak drove it into the left-center field gap, scoring Keaton Jones from first base to give the Horned Frogs a 2-1 win in the longest game in TCU history.

“I was looking first-pitch fastball and I got it,” said Bacak, who doubled in the winning run with his first extra-base hit at TCU. “I kind of surprised myself but it was a good surprise. I hit it and took off running and as I was rounding first base I saw that they were still getting [the ball] and Keaton was rounding third base.”

Jones was on first base after a two-out walk before Bacak’s game-winning hit. Jones never stopped as the ball rolled to the wall, rounding third base to score easily as the Frogs streamed out of the dugout to mob their catcher near second base. It was Baylor’s longest Big 12 game and the Bears longest since a 22-inning game against Houston in 1999.

Bacak had two of the Frogs’ nine hits in the game. The game-winning RBI was only his sixth RBI of the season. The win evens the series, with Game 3 at 1 p.m. Sunday. TCU’s Andrew Mitchell (0-1) faces Baylor’s Ryan Smith (1-2).

Alex Young (5-4) earned the win with 2 2/3 innings of stellar, one-hit work out of the bullpen, including five strikeouts and no walks to finish the game. He followed Riley Ferrell, Travis Evans and Justin Scharf to hold Baylor to five hits after starter Brandon Finnegan left the game in the seventh with the game tied 1-1.

“I was just throwing strikes and had a great defense behind me,” Young said. “I know it’s a big rivalry. I’m glad we got the win, though. Tomorrow is attitude day. It’s whoever has the biggest attitude and executes the most is going to win the game.”

“Any time you play 15 innings, I mean you want to win every game, but now the series is tied. It was a huge win for us,” Bacak said.

Both teams had multiple opportunities to take a lead, but excellent defense by both teams squelched run-scoring chances.

In the eighth, Baylor (20-19, 8-5 in the Big 12) had the bases loaded with one out, but first baseman Derek Odell threw home for the second out and Evans replaced Scharf on the mound and struck out Adam Toth to end the inning.

In the 13th, Young forced Mitch Price into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the inning, TCU’s Dylan Fitzgerald was on second after a two-base error to start the inning. But a diving stop by Baylor second baseman Lawton Langford held runners at the corners, and Nathan Orf made a diving catch on a potential game-winning looping liner off Boomer White’s bat to end the inning.

“I had decided long before that game ended that win or lose this was as proud as I’ve been all season,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I’m just glad we get to say that after a win. I felt like our team had every opportunity during the course of that game to give in.”

It’s the longest game in TCU history, at least dating to 1966 when official records were first compiled.

TCU (18-21, 6-8) had the bases loaded with no outs in the third, but Baylor’s Austin Stone escaped the jam with only allowing a run, a deep foulout in left from Boomer White that scored Jerrick Suiter. Paul Hendrix’s liner was snared by shortstop Jake Miller for the the third out and Stone prevented more damage.

Finnegan had to work out of jams of his own throughout the day. In the first, Cal Towey’s two-out triple led to nothing with a flyout to center. A lead-off single and sacrifice bunt gave the Bears a runner at second with one out in the second but Finnegan retired the next two batters.

Same scenario in the fourth and Finnegan retired the final two batters to strand the runner. In the fifth, Witte turned a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning after a one-out walk and single.

The Bears finally made Finnegan pay in the sixth. Towey led off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on Grayson Porter’s sacrifice bunt and scored on Miller’s single to center. But Finnegan again forced two groundouts to strand Miller at third and preserve a 1-1 tie.

“We had chances earlier in the ballgame, not so many in extra innings,” Baylor coach Steve Smith. “We had chances and had a little bad luck. I thought Duncan [Wendel’s] ball, the first baseman stabbed it and was able to get to it.

“It was going to take some things today to score runs. Obviously, neither side was able to do much. We had some chances, but we just didn't get the timely hit.”

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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Saturday, April 19Full Scoreboard
Toronto2Bottom 1st | Box
Cleveland0@theBallpark | TV: SNET, STO
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