TCU’s rally from an 8-1 deficit with two outs in the eighth inning Monday night against NC State in the championship game of the Fort Worth Regional required clutch hits and some breaks. The Horned Frogs got them and won 9-8 in 10 innings in front of 4,277 frenzied fans at Lupton Stadium, advancing to a Super Regional series, their fifth in seven seasons.
“How do you even begin to describe that?” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “You’re about as dead in the water as you can possibly be, being down 8-1 with six outs to go.”
TCU 8th: Riley Ferrell started the top of the eighth but couldn’t finish the inning after a single, an error and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out, leading to a two-run single. After a wild pitch, Preston Guillory came in for Ferrell and threw a wild pitch that scored a fourth run, leaving TCU trailing 8-1. He finished the inning with no more damage.
1. Connor Wanhanen, 0 for 2 to that point, reached on an error at second base.
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2. Down 1-2 in the count, Evan Skoug lined out to left field.
3. Derek Odell reached on an error at second base, the second in three batters by NC State’s Ryne Willard.
4. Nolan Brown struck out on three pitches.
5. Facing an 0-2 count, Keaton Jones, who has played the most games in TCU history, took four pitches and walked, loading the bases. A very disciplined at-bat for a player who hit only .176 in the series.
6. Garrett Crain singled to short to drive in a run. NC State 8, TCU 2. Still bases loaded, two outs.
7. Dane Steinhagen started his at-bat 3-0. He swung and missed for 3-1 then fouled a pitch off for 3-2. On the next pitch, he walked to force in a run. NC State 8, TCU 3. Still bases loaded, two outs.
8. NC State changed pitchers, bringing in Tommy DeJuneas to face the top of the order, Big 12 player of the year Cody Jones.
9. DeJuneas balked in a run. N.C. State 8, TCU 4. Runners at second and third, two outs.
10. After starting his at-bat at 3-0, taking two strikes and fouling off a 3-2 pitch, Cody Jones walked to reload the bases with two out. “Obviously they were having trouble throwing strikes out of the bullpen,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “That was a big part of the deal. You’ve got to give credit to our guys for not chasing pitches.”
11. NC State changed pitchers, bringing in Travis Orwig.
12. On a 2-1 pitch, Jeremie Fagnan singled to left field to score two runs. NC State 8, TCU 6. The runners moved to second and third on a throwing error. “I thought Jeremie’s hit to get us to 8-6, that was huge,” Schlossnagle said when asked about the turning point of the rally. “I’d probably have to pick that.”
13. Elliott Barzilli, a transfer from Georgia Tech who had had only one at-bat in the regional, pinch hit for Wanhanen, who had led off the inning with the ground ball that resulted in an error.
14. With Barzilli at the plate, a passed ball scored Cody Jones. NC State 8, TCU 7. Runner at third, still two outs.
14. Barzilli walked on four pitches, putting runners at the corners.
15. Barzilli stole second.
16. Down 0-2 in the count, Skoug took a pitch outside then swung and lined out to right.
Inning summary: Six runs, two hits, three errors, two left on base.
NC State 8, TCU 7
TCU 9th: After a three-up, three-down inning for Brian Trieglaff, including a fly ball to the warning track in left field by Ryne Willard for the third out, TCU returned to bat with the 5-6-7 hitters.
1. Derek Odell singled to left field. Odell: “I told myself this wasn’t going to be my last college at-bat. That I was going to do everything I could possibly do for my teammates to get on base, any way, shape or form. I’ll wear a pitch off my nose if I have to to get on base.”
2. Nolan Brown sacrificed the runner to second. One out.
3. NC State changed pitchers, bringing in Curt Britt.
4. Britt balked, putting the tying run at third base with one out. Now only 90 feet stood between TCU and a tie game. Odell: “I wasn’t stealing third. I wanted him to think that I was. Luckily, I got in his head a little bit. He started to lean going toward the plate and ended up not doing it. I actually saw the balk. That’s the first time it’s ever worked for me. I’m just glad I wasn’t the only one who saw it.”
5. On a 3-2 pitch, Keaton Jones struck out on a checked swing. But a passed ball scored Odell to tie the game, and Jones reached base via the dropped third strike. NC State 8, TCU 8, still one out. Jones: “I thought I walked. Because it was so loud, I didn’t know I got called out. I was just getting out of the way for the runner to come in because I knew it was a passed ball. Then I heard the umpire say ‘out,’ so I double-checked and was like, ‘I gotta go.’ So I just headed over to first, and luckily I was safe.”
6. Garrett Crain flied out to right-center. One on, two outs.
7. Keaton Jones was caught stealing at second base.
Inning summary: One run, one hit, no errors, none left.
NC State 8, TCU 8
TCU 10th: Atfer another 1-2-3 inning for Trieglaff, the Horned Frogs returned to bat with the 9-1-2 hitters. Trieglaff, who had thrown 43 pitches in two innings Friday, was at 25 pitches: “I felt great. To be honest, that last inning, the top of the tenth, I couldn’t really feel my body, I was so jacked up. I could have kept going as long as we needed.”
1. Evan Williams singled to left on a 3-1 pitch.
2. An error on a pickoff throw moved Williams to second base, putting the winning run in scoring position.
3. Cody Jones walked, taking two balls after fouling off a 2-2 pitch, to put runners on first and second with no outs.
4. After swinging and missing on the first pitch, Jeremie Fagnan sacrificed the runners to second and third. One out. Fagnan, who homered Saturday night against N.C. State: “I was actually shocked that Coach Mo [associate coach Bill Mosiello] gave me the ‘hit’ sign first pitch. Thankfully, I swung and missed. I was just trying to do way too much. But I knew I was going to have to bunt second pitch. Honestly, I would have bunted it with my face if I had to. I would have gotten it down.”
5. With the infield in, on the first pitch, Barzilli singled on a bouncing ball through the right side. Williams scored. TCU 9, NC State 8. Game over. Barzilli: “It was just a blast being out there. I’m glad it was me. I know everyone else in the dugout could have stepped up and done it.”
Inning summary: One run, two hits, two left on base.
TCU 9, NC State 8