TCU survives after epic 8-run rally, NC State meltdown

TCU players celebrate Monday night’s comeback over North Carolina State. The Frogs advanced to the Super Regionals and will host Texas A&M in a best-of-three series.
TCU players celebrate Monday night’s comeback over North Carolina State. The Frogs advanced to the Super Regionals and will host Texas A&M in a best-of-three series. Star-Telegram

Elliott Barzilli singled home Evan Williams in the 10th inning to cap a comeback from a seven-run deficit and give TCU a 9-8 win over North Carolina State on Monday night in the NCAA Fort Worth Regional.

The Horned Frogs, who will now host Texas A&M in this week’s super regionals, scored six unearned runs in the eighth inning before adding one more in the ninth and Barzilli’s game-winner in the 10th.

The Wolfpack led 8-1 when TCU used two singles, a passed ball, a walk, a balk and three NC State errors to get within a run in the eighth inning. Then, in the ninth, Derek Odell scored on a passed ball that came on a strikeout.

TCU also made plenty of mistakes, but yet survived after the epic rally and even bigger meltdown by NC State.

The Horned Frogs hurt themselves on the base paths, got their worst start from their rotation in the regional and couldn’t get their closer to finish the eighth inning.

Trailing 8-7 entering the ninth, Odell started the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Nolan Brown. Odell later advanced to third on a balk. Keaton Jones then struck out but reached first on a passed ball, allowing Odell to score from third and tie the score.

Evan Skoug lined out to right with runners at the corners to end the eighth inning after the Horned Frogs had scored six runs to close within 8-7.

The six runs in the eighth inning were all unearned.

The Horned Frogs had given up a four-run inning in the top of the eighth as NC State took an 8-1 lead.

TCU had earlier chances to rally. With one out in the fourth inning, Skoug walked and Derek Odell singled. Cody Jones then sent a flare to shallow left, but the runners had to hold with left fielder Josh McClain charging.

The ball fell in, but Skoug was trapped on the base path and was forced out at third. It was a close play, but the hesitation cost Skoug and the Frogs. Instead of the bases loaded with one out in a 4-0 game, it became two on with two outs. Keaton Jones’ single scored a run, but the inning ended when Garrett Crain struck out.

In the sixth inning, Connor Wanhanen was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Skoug followed with a hard single to center, but Wanhanen made a bid for third and was thrown out.

Instead of two on and no outs in a 4-1 game, it was one on and one out. A lineout and strikeout ended the inning.

Alex Young (9-3) began the game looking like he was going to continue an amazing string of starts for the Frogs in the regional. The junior left-hander struck out two in the first and second innings, throwing just 26 pitches.

He got up 0-2 on the leadoff batter in the third — his 10th and 11th consecutive strikes — but gave up a double to right on the next pitch to Josh McClain, a .175 hitter without an extra-base hit coming in.

A hit batsman on 1-1 followed, putting two on for the top of the order, and Logan Ratledge singled to left for the first run.

Preston Palmeiro’s sacrifice moved the runners, and a groundout to third base scored a second run. On the next pitch, designated hitter Chance Shepard — who hit the two-run homer that sent TCU to the loser’s bracket Saturday night — doubled to right-center for a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Bubby Riley homered to right-center off Young for a 4-0 lead. Young finished the inning, but that was all. Trey Teakell pitched the next three innings before Riley Ferrell gave up four runs in the eighth, able to get only one out, leaving the Frogs trailing 8-1.

Young gave up three runs in a span of six pitches in the third inning and a homer in the fourth inning, leaving the Horned Frogs in a 4-0 hole. It was the shortest start of the regional for TCU (46-13), which was trying to come out of the loser’s bracket after a loss to the Wolfpack in the winner’s game Saturday night.

NC State (37-22) was trying to advance to a Super Regional series against Texas A&M, which came out of the loser’s bracket in the College Station Regional to defeat Cal earlier Monday night.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

Fort Worth Regional

Friday’s results

Game 1: N.C. State 3, Stony Brook 0

Game 2: TCU 10, Sacred Heart 0

Saturday’s results

Game 3: Stony Brook 11, Sacred Heart 6 (Sacred Heart eliminated)

Game 4: N.C. State 5, TCU 4

Sunday’s results

Game 5: TCU 8, Stony Brook 3 (Stony Brook eliminated)

Game 6: TCU 8, N.C. State 2

Monday’s result

Game 7: TCU 8, N.C. State 8 (10th inning)

Super Regional

TCU vs. Texas A&M

At Lupton Stadium

Game 1: 2 p.m. Saturday

Game 2: 1:15 p.m. Sunday

Game 3: TBD Monday

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