TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said only a few weeks ago that a lack of timely hitting is what keeps baseball coaches up late at night.
That quite literally was the case on a chilly Tuesday evening that stretched a few minutes into Wednesday morning.
The Horned Frogs scratched together five runs, including Kyle Bacak crossing the plate with the winning run in the 15th inning on a throwing error by Dallas Baptist third baseman Nash Knight in TCU’s 5-4 victory at Lupton Stadium.
Knight went to his left to field a grounder by Boomer White but misfired on his throw to first, sending it wide right past first baseman Mike Wesolowski.
Five hours and 29 minutes after the first pitch, the Frogs had their eighth victory against four losses in 2014. By innings, the game tied the longest played in TCU history, matching the mark established April 20, 2013, against Baylor.
Interestingly, it was Bacak who drove in the winning run to end that game.
Starting pitcher Jordan Kipper and five relievers, including Riley Farrell, Brian Howard and Brian Trieglaff, kept DBU scoreless in the last six innings on Tuesday.
Trieglaff picked up his first career victory.
“Sometimes you need something crazy to jump-start your season,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, whose team began a stretch of 12 of the next 14 games at home.
“It’s one game, but certainly if we can play well over the course of this homestand, maybe we can look back at this as something special.”
The Frogs scored a run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings and the game-tying run in the ninth on White’s run-scoring double.
Tainting the TCU box score were the 16 runners left on base.
Scoring runs has become an unwelcome issue of late and is beginning to linger like a pesky common cold that’s hard to shake.
While the temperatures remain in December mode, so do the Frogs’ bats.
It’s a problem, though, that has clouded TCU’s first 12 games, which now includes 115 runners stranded. The Frogs stranded 20 runners in two weekend losses.
Of the team’s 55 runs scored this season, 20 combined came in two games.
Conversely, Dallas Baptist, which used a four-run sixth to wipe out a three-run TCU lead, has scored twice as many runs this season.
Nothing more exemplified the matter more than the situation the Horned Frogs found themselves in during their half of the 13th. TCU had the bases loaded with no outs and couldn’t score.
White, the left fielder who was 2-for-6 with with two RBIs and a walk, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play that ended TCU’s best threat to that point.
“You have to really try to get out of that” situation with no runs, Schlossnagle said. “Boomer hit the ball hard, but it was one of those games.
“I’ve been concerned about [scoring] for a year and a half now. There are no minor leagues and you don’t get to make trades. These are our guys. I don’t doubt their effort. I have full confidence in our coaching staff. My belief is it will eventually happen.”
TCU generated its first three runs on a wild pitch, a groundout and White’s sacrifice fly, which scored Cody Jones with the Frogs’ third run.
The Patriots used a two-run home run from Austin Listi plus an error and a passed ball to take the lead in the sixth.
Down 3-2, Daniel Salters and Justin Wall reached base on singles. Salters scored on Trey Teakell’s errant pickoff attempt at first and Wall did the same on a subsequent passed ball.
The Frogs put runners on first and second with no outs in the first, but White’s line drive was fielded for an out to DBU second baseman Camden Duzenack, who flipped to shortstop Trevin Sonnier to double up Jones at second.
Trevor Conn, one of eight pitchers used by the Patriots (9-3), picked up the loss.
The Horned Frogs next take the field Friday in the first game of a three-game home series against Michigan State.