No. 11 TCU showed fans the meaning of the word “escape” Saturday with a 12-11 win over Southern California in 10 innings at Lupton Stadium.
After the Trojans took an 11-10 lead in the top of the 10th on AJ Ramirez’s double down the left field line, the Horned Frogs needed something from the middle of their lineup.
Catcher Evan Skoug doubled off the wall in right field for his fourth hit of the day, and designated hitter Luken Baker walked to start the bottom half of the decisive inning.
Left fielder Josh Watson, who was 0 for 5 with four strikeouts, walked to load the bases. Elliot Barzilli, who was 1 for 5, tied the game with a sacrifice fly that drove in Skoug.
Mason Hesse then was intentionally walked to load the bases again. Center fielder Dane Steinhagen, who was 0 for 4, walked on five pitches for the walk-off victory.
They did a great job of not trying to do too much.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle on Frogs hitters, who drew four walks in the 10th inning
“They did a great job of not trying to do too much,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said of his hitters in the bottom of the 10th. “Your tendency, especially Watson and Barzilli having hit home runs this weekend, is to want to be the guy who wins it. But they didn’t get the pitch they wanted, and they trusted the guy behind them to get it done.”
TCU (12-2) will try to earn a sweep of USC (6-7) when they play host to the Trojans at 1 p.m. Sunday. Rex Hill (1-0) will pitch for TCU.
The Horned Frogs used four pitchers in the win, including Preston Guillory and Brian Trieglaff, who earned his first win of the season by going the final three innings.
It certainly wasn’t the most well-pitched game. In order to have a great season, you have to win in different ways, though, and this team was able to pick up the pitching staff.
Schlossnagle on TCU winning despite giving up 18 hits
Starter Brian Howard gave up eight hits and four earned runs in just 3 1/3 innings. Meanwhile, the Trojans used six pitchers after starter Bernardo Flores pitched four innings and left the game tied 5-5 to start the fifth.
“It certainly wasn’t the most well-pitched game,” Schlossnagle said. “In order to have a great season, you have to win in different ways, though, and this team was able to pick up the pitching staff.”
TCU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first for the second straight game on Baker’s RBI single through the middle. USC responded with two in the top of the second before TCU tied the game again 2-2 on Michael Landestoy’s RBI single through the left side of the infield to score Hesse.
Landestoy got the start at first base in place of Connor Wanhanen, who tweaked a hamstring in the first inning of Friday’s game against USC, and went 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a walk in his first start of the season.
USC and TCU traded blows again in the fourth as the Trojans took a 5-2 lead. In the bottom of the fourth, the big bats came out for TCU when second baseman Cam Warner and Skoug launched back-to-back homers over the left field wall to tie the game 5-5.
To that point, all five of TCU’s runs had been scored with two outs. Skoug went 4 for 6 and led the Frogs with three RBIs.
The Frogs took a 10-5 lead with a big inning in the bottom of the sixth, but gave it all back in the top of the eighth with the help of three seeing-eye singles through the infield off Guillory and Trieglaff.
“Guillory, I thought his stuff was good,” Schlossnagle said. “He was getting ground balls. Sometimes the ground balls go through. When you’re a ground-ball pitcher, you’re going to have those days.”