TCU wins tournament to earn school’s first team Big 12 title

Posted Sunday, May. 25, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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TCU left no doubt.

The Horned Frogs won the Big 12 tournament championship with a convincing 7-1 win over Oklahoma State on Sunday. It’s TCU’s first team championship in any sport since joining the Big 12 two years ago.

TCU (42-15) has won 27 of its last 30 games, making the Horned Frogs the hottest team in the country entering the NCAA postseason. No. 2-seed TCU finished a game behind OSU in the regular-season race but breezed through the league tournament with a 4-0 record. The top-seeded Cowboys (45-16) went 4-2 and had to come from behind to beat Texas twice on Saturday to reach Sunday’s championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

The win should catapult TCU into its first national seed, which will be announced Monday morning.

Both TCU and OSU were named as two of the 16 NCAA Regional hosts Sunday evening. The top eight national seeds get to host the NCAA Super Regionals if they advance.

Freshman left-hander Tyler Alexander started on the mound in perhaps the biggest game in two years for the TCU baseball program and he was more than up to the challenge.

Alexander, who attended Southlake Carroll High School, held OSU to a run on four hits in his first-career complete game. Since losing at OSU on March 30, Alexander (9-3) has been on fire. In his six starts since returning to the rotation on April 19, Alexander has allowed just five runs in 41 innings. Alexander stayed ahead of hitters for much of the day. He threw a first-pitch strike on eight of the first nine batters he faced. He struck out four, walked none and forced 12 groundball outs, including a double play he started that negated a lead-off single in the sixth inning on Sunday.

“I don’t want to understate it because it was phenomenal what [Alexander] did because even without Fish, Oklahoma State has a really veteran, physical offensive team,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “He did a great job of commanding all three pitches. But the reason I’m not falling over the table about it is because he’s done that ever since he’s come back from the bullpen. He’s like Preston, his best tool is, at least from the outside, he doesn’t get fazed. He’s got great mound presence.”

The Frogs took a 5-1 lead with four runs in the fourth inning. TCU took advantage of three one-out walks from OSU starter Michael Freeman and two passed balls. Dylan Fitzgerald drove in two runs with a single to center field, which scored Kevin Cron and Garrett Crain. Jerrick Suiter scored from third on Keaton Jones’ groundout to short and Fitzgerald scored on the second passed ball allowed by catcher Bryan Case.

In the fifth, the Frogs made it 6-1 with Suiter’s opposite-field single to right to score Crain, who walked and stole second base with two outs.

Suiter, who was a tournament MVP candidate, scored to make it 7-1 in the eighth after leading off with a walk. He came home on Bacak’s sacrifice fly to center field.

After TCU took a 1-0 lead on Suiter’s RBI groundout in the second, OSU tied it up in the third inning. Arakawa led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Saulyer Saxon’s bunt single to first. Before Saxon’s bunt, Craig McConaughy struck out swinging on a wild pitch that got by catcher Kyle Bacak. McConaughy reached first easily to set up Saxon’s perfectly-placed bunt to first baseman Kevin Cron, who had no one to throw to with nobody covering first base.

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

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