TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle could have picked a lot of players to talk about following an 11-10 victory in 11 innings against Texas.
He made it the choice look easy.
“The guy to talk about, first of all, is Evan Skoug,” he said. “You talk about an All-American player, to step up there in the inning in which they were up by a run and basically put the team on his back.”
The junior catcher from Libertyville, Ill., homered to lead off the 10th inning after Texas had taken the lead in the top of the frame, and Connor Wanhanen hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th as the Horned Frogs held on to win a game they led twice by five runs.
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Skoug homered twice and drove in three runs as TCU (33-11, 13-6) went to 5-0 in extra innings this season and 1.5 games ahead of Texas Tech, which was rained out at West Virginia, in the Big 12. Texas (31-17, 9-9) fell 3.5 games off the lead.
I caught a very poor game today. I really wanted to do what I could to get my team back in it.
TCU catcher Evan Skoug, on his 10th-inning home run
“I knew in the back of my head that I owed it to everyone on the bench, everyone in the game,” Skoug said of his 10th-inning home run, on a 1-0 pitch off Texas closer Beau Ridgeway, who came in with 10 saves in a nation-leading 27 appearances. “I caught a very poor game today. I really wanted to do what I could to get my team back in it. I went up there just free and easy, wanted to slow everything down and make sure I put a good swing on it, and that’s exactly what I did.”
Skoug was charged with a passed ball in the ninth inning when Texas tied the game 9-9. A catcher’s interference on a 2-2 pitch with two out in the 10th inning brought up Zach Gurwitz, who singled with the bases loaded to put Texas ahead 10-9. In the first inning, Skoug’s throwing error on a steal attempt set up the Longhorns’ first run.
“To give up that lead, it did sting a lot,” Skoug said. “We really, really did not like it. It just shows the resilience of this team to give up the lead, be down by one and come back and take a ballgame from a good conference team.”
In the 11th inning, Elliott Barzilli and Ryan Merrill walked on full counts, and Austen Wade singled to load the bases. Wanhanen fouled two pitches from Ridgeway, then lifted a fly ball to left center deep enough to score pinch runner Evan Williams standing up.
TCU has won eight consecutive extra-inning games since 2015. The Frogs are 38-17 in extra innings since 2004.
“We actually just talked about this on Tuesday – responding to adversity,” Wanhanen said. “It’s been one of the hallmarks of the program. I think it was a good test for us. We’re an experienced club. We know what the postseason is going to bring. You never know what’s going to happen in these games. I think it’s awesome that we handled the adversity, the ebbs and flows of the game and we were able to come out with a W.”
Freshman right-hander Cal Coughlin (1-0) won his first game for TCU, striking out the side in the top of the 11th.
Wade, Barzilli and Ryan Merrill each had three hits for the Frogs, and Texas freshman right fielder Austin Todd was 5-for-6 with three runs batted in.
TCU knocked four doubles and three homers in the first five innings to take a 9-4 lead.
8Extra-base hits for TCU hitters, four home runs and four doubles. Evan Skoug hit two home runs, his second two-homer game this season.
Wade doubled twice, Luken Baker hit a two-run double and Skoug sent a two-run homer to center against league ERA leader Morgan Cooper as the Frogs started 7-for-14 to lead 7-2.
Texas tightened the game with two runs in the fifth inning, plating a pair of inherited runners against reliever Charles King.
But the Frogs answered with back-to-back solo home runs from Elliott Barzilli and Ryan Merrill to push the lead back to five runs at 9-4.
Texas made it a one-run game with four runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Todd’s two-run single.
TCU vs. Texas
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