LAS VEGAS -- TCU's 16-15 win Thursday will linger in the minds of Horned Frogs fans for years. It was at once the biggest half-inning meltdown in TCU history, as San Diego State scored 11 runs in the top of the ninth to take a one-run lead, while also being one of the gutsier comeback wins in program history. It was an epic "meltback," if you will.
"That's the craziest game I've ever seen," said TCU radio announcer Chuck LaMendola, who is in his 16th year calling Frogs games. "We've never lost a 10-run lead in the ninth inning, as far as I remember, let alone come back to win a game afterward."
Crichton and his cleats
Pitcher Stefan Crichton wasn't expecting to pitch Thursday.
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So much so that he wasn't wearing his cleats when he was asked to warm up in the fourth inning when Trey Teakell looked sketchy after replacing starter Brandon Finnegan. Certainly not after the Frogs had built a 10-run lead in the sixth inning.
After the Aztecs were deep into their epic rally, Crichton was told that he needed to get ready to pitch.
"Oh my gosh, this is really happening," Crichton said he thought to himself. "My heart started pounding and adrenaline took over. I didn't think about it, to be honest."
Crichton entered the game with the bases loaded, one out, and a precarious one-run lead. Tim Zier singled to right to give the Aztecs a 15-14 lead, but Crichton retired the next two batters to keep the deficit to one run.
Kyle Von Tungeln's game-tying home run in the bottom of the inning turned the tide back in TCU's favor.
"There was a sense of relief," Crichton said. "OK, we've got this. We can start over."
San Diego State outslugged UNLV 15-9 in an elimination game Friday at Wilson Stadium.
The Aztecs stay alive to play the TCU/New Mexico loser at 5 p.m. tonight.
The hosts Rebels went 0-2 after being outscored 28-9 combined in the two games.
TCU pitcher Andrew Mitchell has been invited to play for the collegiate national team this summer for the second consecutive summer. Last summer, Mitchell appeared out of the bullpen.
"It was a really good experience," said Mitchell, who got to play games at Fenway Park, Durham Bulls Stadium and other famous ballparks. "We're going to see how I feel at the end of the season. If we make a long run and I throw a lot of innings, we may not think it's beneficial to do it."
Mitchell is scheduled to start today.