May 25, 2013

TCU follows Thursday high point with an all-time low Friday

TCU matches a school-record with nine errors in a 10-3 loss to West Virginia at the Big 12 tournament.

A day after putting together a season highlight, TCU hit an all-time low.

The Horned Frogs set a dubious Big 12 tournament record with nine errors in a game in a slapstick-filled 10-3 loss to West Virginia.

The nine miscues tie an all-time TCU record for errors in a game and tie the all-time record for a Big 12 team in any game, tournament or regular season.

The loss puts the Frogs (29-27) in a bind with one pool-play game remaining at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Kansas.

“It’s why this game is absolutely brutal and it will destroy you,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “And it will also make you joyous like last night. The past never, ever equals the future in the game of baseball. That’s why it’s great and that’s why it’ll make you jump off a bridge sometimes or want to.”

No. 7 seed TCU needs Oklahoma State to beat West Virginia at 4 p.m. Saturday and then Frogs have to beat Kansas to win their pool and advance to the Big 12 championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

The Frogs scored six runs in the top of the ninth to beat Oklahoma State 8-4 in a game that started late Thursday night and ended after midnight.

Kansas beat Oklahoma State 5-3 on Friday night.

Oklahoma and Kansas State play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday for the right to represent the other pool in Sunday’s championship.

The Mountaineers, the tournament’s third seed, jumped on TCU starter Brandon Finnegan early, scoring two runs in each of the first two innings.

Finnegan left the game after just 1 2/3 innings, his shortest stint of the season. Finnegan allowed five hits and a walk. Three of the four runs he allowed were earned.

The next six runs, however, were due for the most part to a defensive meltdown.

The Frogs entered the game No. 23 in the nation in fielding percentage and tops in the Big 12. But a rash of errors, including two in the fourth, two in the sixth and three in the seventh, either led directly to runs or extended Frogs’ pitchers much longer than they deserved to go.

“We were swinging it well, we just happened to hit it right to them,” said Paul Hendrix, who homered in the sixth to pull TCU to within 7-2. “If we could have minimized the errors and all the extra outs we gave them we could have been right there with them.”

Trey Teakell, pitching for the first time since a pulled muscle sidelined him April 30, gave up one hit in 3 1/3 innings. But errors from Derek Odell, Jantzen Witte and Keaton Jones and three walks from Justin Scharf helped WVU increase its lead to 7-1 with three unearned runs in the sixth.

Scharf was pulled after injuring his knee on the mound. Three more errors in the seventh led to three additional runs and a 10-2 Mountaineers’ lead.

TCU pitchers walked five and hit four batters for good measure.

“I guess today it seemed like it did [snowball], but it’s all mentality, I feel,” said Jones, who was charged with two errors and only has 12 this season. “We should have made the plays, no doubt. Once that first error hits you have to get focused and get ready for the next play, and we didn’t do that very well today.”

Witte had three of the Frogs’ seven hits, including a run-scoring double in the eighth. WVU ace Harrison Musgrave (9-1) went seven innings, holding TCU to two runs on five hits, including a solo home run by Hendrix in the fifth inning. Finnegan dropped to 0-8.

TCU will be forced to root against former longtime assistant coach Randy Mazey and WVU on Saturday against OSU.

“I’m still confident,” Schlossnagle said. “The quicker we flush it the better chance we’ll have, but we need help. And that’s what’s not so fun about pool play because I have to root against one of my best friends.”

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