Third base coach Bill Mosiello is going to use Garrett Crain’s base running as a teaching moment for the TCU baseball team.
His message? Don’t do it again.
“It’s called the luckiest play in the history of baseball,” Mosiello said Wednesday before practice, half-kidding perhaps, but probably not. “It’ll be talked about today. I’m not really into players taking it in their own hands on the biggest play of the season. I’m not going to count on divine intervention again.”
Crain scored the winning run in the 16th inning of the deciding Game 3 in the Super Regional series against Texas A&M on Monday. He rounded third past Mosiello’s stop sign when a batted ball fell out of third baseman Ronnie Gideon’s glove behind the bag. Gideon’s throw would have been in plenty of time, but it skipped away from catcher Michael Barash.
Mosiello said he was proud of Crain’s attack mentality, developed in the two years since Mosiello joined the staff, but he said it was a mistake to go. Crain said that at that point in the game, with a College World Series berth so close, he believed he had to try to score.
“He had it such in his mind that, ‘I’m going,’ and he didn’t really know that the ball was half an inch from the guy,” Mosiello said. “We have incredible freedom to go first to third and on balls in the dirt. As long as they can see it, they have incredible freedom. If the ball is behind you, you have no idea.”
Coach Jim Schlossnagle said he is considering left-hander Tyler Alexander and right-hander Preston Morrison for the start Sunday against LSU.
“We’re going to prepare them both,” Schossnagle said.
Alexander pitched Game 1 of the Super Regional series against Texas A&M and lasted four innings. In his previous start, he opened with six perfect innings against North Carolina State in an elimination game in the Fort Worth Regional.
Morrison is coming off two outstanding starts, striking out 10 in eight innings against N.C. State and giving up two runs in 9 1/3 innings against A&M.
Alexander made a one-batter relief appearance Monday night, but gave up a walk, only his ninth of the season.
“Tyler’s been our most consistent guy,” Schlossnagle said. “Morrison’s last two starts have been really good. But in the second half of the season, Tyler’s been the most consistent of all those guys in terms of just throwing strikes and giving us the best chance.”
Schlossnagle said he also has to think about possibly facing Vanderbilt in the second game. Morrison pitched six innings against Vanderbilt at Dodger Stadium on March 8 in a 4-2 TCU victory.
TCU matched a school record for players drafted in a season with eight when shortstop Keaton Jones and pitcher Mitchell Traver were taken Wednesday. Eight players were also taken in 2011.
Jones and Traver joined Alex Young, Tyler Alexander, Riley Ferrell, Cody Jones, Preston Morrison and Trey Teakell as draftees.
Four seniors are in the group, which Schlossnagle was glad to see because they were rewarded for coming back to school.
“It shows that those guys are getting better in our program,” Schlossnagle said, using center fielder Cody Jones, who was a 38th-round pick as a junior and a sixth-round pick as a senior. “I love it that the seniors are getting an opportunity, because it shows you can come back to college for your senior year and go to the College World Series and realize your personal goal of playing professional baseball.”
Schlossnagle said that with Cody Jones last year, “a lot of him wanted to sign.” But that, “If you asked him, he would tell you that it’s worked out pretty good, not only Big 12 player of the year, he’s on back-to-back Omaha teams.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407