Preston Morrison steadied a shaky start, and No. 2-ranked TCU provided just enough offense to overcome a two-run deficit and beat Baylor 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at Lupton Stadium.
Evan Skoug helped break a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning when he drew a catcher’s interference call, which brought home Nolan Brown. Earlier, the Frogs (13-2, 2-0 Big 12) climbed out of a 2-0 deficit with a pair of runs in the sixth. Garrett Crain singled home Cody Jones, who led off the inning with a double, and Dane Steinhagen singled home Crain.
While TCU’s offense squeezed out runs, Morrison (4-0) kept the Bears (6-11, 0-2) from regaining momentum after they sent seven batters to the plate and scored two runs in the first inning.
Logan Brown and Darryn Sheppard, the game’s first two hitters, scored for Baylor. Brown fell behind in the count 1-2 but was hit by a pitch, while Sheppard doubled to left field. Cameron Miller and Jonathan Ducoff each tagged Morrison with two-strike RBI singles.
After the first inning, Morrison found his rhythm and improved to 29-9 in his career at TCU. At one point, the senior right-hander retired eight consecutive batters, and he faced two over the minimum after the first.
“That first inning, I felt like I was working a little too hard, almost a little too slow in my tempo,” Morrison said. “A lot of my fastballs weren’t doing what I wanted them to do, so I had to utilize that changeup more than I have, and my slider was working for me, too.”
TCU needed Morrison to get back on track, just as it needed the usual sharp performances of relievers Trey Teakell and Riley Ferrell, who earned his seventh save.
In the seventh, three consecutive TCU batters had opportunities with the bases loaded, but the only production was Skoug drawing the catcher’s interference. Crain flied out to center, not deep enough to score Brown, and Steinhagen popped out to the first baseman in foul territory.
“That was the [postgame] speech, that at some point we’re going to have to take some pressure off of our pitching,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I’m really proud of guys executing when they had to do that, but at some point, somebody needs to hit the ball in the gap and break the game open. If we’re going to be an elite team, we’re asking a lot of our pitching staff, especially Teakell and Ferrell, to keep things down all the time.”
TCU and Baylor will conclude their weekend series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760