Before Thursday, TCU last met Texas on the diamond in a win-or-go-home Super Regional series in 2010. The Horned Frogs won in Austin to advance to their first College World Series and sent the Longhorns home for the summer.
There was a minor sense of deja vu Thursday night when the Frogs’ 5-1 victory at Lupton Stadium likely ended the Longhorns’ 2013 season.
Last-place Texas (26-23, 6-16 in the Big 12) was in a bind before its three-game series with TCU began, needing to overcome Texas Tech’s one-game lead to earn a trip to the Big 12 tournament next week.
But the Red Raiders (24-27, 8-14) beat Baylor Thursday and clinched the eighth and final berth in the tournament with the Horns’ loss. The only remote chance Texas has is earning an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament with its borderline-high 67 ratings percentage index rating. But after missing out on the Big 12 tournament and finishing with less than 30 wins those chances are microscopic to zilch. Texas missed the postseason in 2012 for the first time since 1998. The Horns have been to five CWS since 2000, all under coach Augie Garrido, college baseball’s all-time leader in wins.
“I have the ultimate respect for [Texas coaches] Augie Garrido and Skip Johnson,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “If there’s a Mt. Rushmore of college baseball coaches [Garrido] is at the forefront of it. The reason I have the kind of a job I have is because of guys like Augie Garrido. TCU is as committed to baseball as much as anybody in the country and that’s because of guys like Augie Garrido who elevated our sport.”
TCU led 2-0 after scoring runs in the first and fifth innings against Texas starter Parker French. Jantzen Witte and Paul Hendrix each had two hits and two RBIs. Three consecutive doubles from Boomer White, Witte and Hendrix in the seventh increased the Frogs’ lead to 5-0. Texas scored a run in the ninth before Travis Evans and Justin Scharf closed out the game.
TCU (27-25, 11-11) is playing its best baseball of the season and has won eight of its last 10.
“Definitely,” said pitcher Preston Morrison, who earned the win. “We were able to hit three doubles back to back, we’re pitching like we should, and playing defense awesome, so we have all the pieces right now.”
Morrison (7-3) held the Longhorns to two hits over eight innings. After a bunt single in the first, Morrison retired 17 consecutive batters. He walked none and struck out four and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 161/3 innings.
After struggling to tack on insurance runs earlier in the season, TCU’s offense has started to show more life the last couple of weeks.
“It started last weekend or maybe before that,” Witte said. “The bats are really starting to come around at the right time. Hopefully we can keep that rolling.”
The Frogs need to win the Big 12 tournament to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament after struggling for much of the season. But like last year, their offense may have turned it on at the right time.
“Let’s see if we can keep it going for another two days and take some momentum into Oklahoma City,” Schlossnagle said.
Texas won’t even get a chance to do that.