OMAHA, Neb. — Without Preston Guillory’s relief performance in the ninth inning against Texas A&M last week, it’s possible TCU wouldn’t even be in Omaha.
The junior college transfer came in with the bases loaded and no outs and TCU trying to hold a 4-2 lead in Game 3 of the Super Regional against Texas A&M.
Two ground balls tied the game, but Guillory finished the inning with no more damage to give the Horned Frogs a chance to win in the 16th inning.
“He got an out from every guy he faced,” starter Preston Morrison said. “He didn’t try to do too much. He didn’t try to strike every guy out.”
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Guillory’s performance gives the Horned Frogs another late-inning option, along with Trey Teakell, if they are not sure Riley Ferrell is completely past his slump. Coach Jim Schlossnagle said last week that he remains confident in Ferrell but hopes to work him back with a less pressurized situation.
“I’m just excited to be a part of this,” Guillory said. “I’m thankful for any opportunity I get to contribute.”
Guillory, a right-hander who transfered from Panola College, has not been charged with an earned run this year in 19 appearances. Convinced to use a sidearm delivery, he is 1-0 with two saves, 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 25 innings.
“A third of the way into the season, he wasn’t even part of our pitching staff because he wasn’t willing to drop down,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We took him in the bullpen one night at USC and said, you can pitch in practice over the top or you can pitch in games throwing like this. He bought in and has become a big piece for our team.”
Guillory said his pitches now move more.
“It helps me throw a lot more strikes,” he said. “I’m glad it’s worked out. I’m thankful they saw something in me and it worked out well.”
The extra movement on the pitches probably helped keep the ball on the ground in that ninth inning Monday night. With the College World Series chances of eight seniors riding on his arm, the JUCO transfer got a ground ball on a 1-2 count, another on a 1-1 pitch and the final out on a 1-2 pitch.
“Kinda,” Guillory said, asked if he knew the Omaha trip was in his hands. “You can’t really look at it like that. I was mainly focusing on throwing strikes. A walk or a wild pitch is an automatic run. Just had to try to throw strikes. That’s all I can really control. What they do with it is beyond my control.”
Guillory’s work left the bullpen impressed.
“Unbelieveably tough,” Teakell said. “I told him after the game, I said, ‘Honestly, I don’t know if I could have out and done the job you did.’ “
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407