Cody Jones was charging down the third-base line but couldn’t find a way to the plate.
TCU’s tying run was blocked by West Virginia catcher Cameron O’Brien, who stood on the edge of the dirt, waiting for a throw from center field.
Jones knew he had to go right, so he did, diving head first, reaching for the plate with his left hand. At first, he missed by five feet.
Then he found his opening.
“[The plate] looked like a glowing dish right there,” Jones said. “I was like, I need to get on that. So I jumped, I slapped the plate and I just heard the place erupt.”
The next batter, Dylan Fitzgerald, launched a sacrifice fly to right field, driving home Derek Odell and clinching the Horned Frogs’ 4-3 comeback win over the Mountaineers.
TCU (17-12, 3-4 Big 12) scored three runs in the ninth inning to overcome seven innings of one-run ball thown by West Virginia (16-9, 2-1 Big 12) ace Harrison Musgrave.
TCU pinch hitter Dylan Delso drew a leadoff walk in the ninth. That was followed by another walk from Jones, on a full count.
Odell then laid down a bunt single to load the bases for Boomer White, who singled up the middle to score Delso and cut the West Virginia lead to 3-2. After Kevin Cron’s game-tying sacrifice fly, Jeremie Fagnan drew TCU’s third walk of the inning to load the bases again.
Fitzgerald needed one pitch to win the game.
“What I was looking for was a pitch up [in the zone],” Fitzgerald said. “I got my pitch — on the first pitch — put a good swing on it and put it in the air.”
TCU starter Brandon Finnegan threw threw 5 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs, walking three and striking out seven. He left with an out in the sixth inning and his pitch count at 100 after giving up a two-run double to Jacob Rice.
Musgrave threw seven innings. TCU was able to chip away but had trouble translating that to runs against the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.
“When he’s that good and he’s pitching that well, I don’t care if they bring in Roger Clemens, you just want to see somebody else,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We had more hits than they did, we didn’t just have enough timely hits.”
The two teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. Sunday’s game was moved up a day due to rain in the forecast.