Down to its final five outs and facing a 4-1 deficit, No. 7 TCU rallied to tie the game at 4-4 in the eighth then scored twice in the ninth to complete the comeback for a 6-4 win at Rice on Tuesday.
With one out in the eighth, Evan Skoug and Luken Baker drew back-to-back walks to bring the tying run to the plate. Elliott Barzilli ripped a double into left to start the comeback. After an RBI groundout from Ryan Merrill pulled the Frogs within one, Dane Steinhagen battled through a nine-pitch at-bat with a single through the left side, tying the game 4-4.
In the ninth, Skoug opened with a base hit and moved to second on another walk to Baker. Trying to turn a double play, the relay throw back to first got away, allowing Skoug to score. With the infield in, Barzilli hit a shot at the shortstop, but his throw was too late and Josh Watson slid in safely with the insurance run.
Sometimes you can play really well and still lose the game. I was starting that speech in my mind, but our guys stuck with their at-bats.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle
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Freshman Dalton Horton started and allowed three runs on four hits over 4 2/3 innings. Reliever Jared Janczak was touched for three hits and a run in 1 1/3 innings of work. The best mound showing came from Brian Trieglaff ,who threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit, to pick up the victory.
“Going into the seventh inning, I really feel like we played well the whole night,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle told Gofrogs.com. “I thought Horton was really good. He just elevated one pitch.”
Barzilli and Steinhagen had two hits apiece and combined to drive in three runs and score twice to power the Horned Frogs’ offense.
We’ve played from behind early and won big, but in terms of staying in the game late and having a late inning comeback, that’s a great thing for a young team that’s never been through that.
“Sometimes you can play really well and still lose the game,” Schlossnagle said. “I was starting that speech in my mind, but our guys stuck with their at-bats. Trieglaff did such a great job. We just continued to grind out at-bats and finally got the ball to go through.”
Rice jumped to a 1-0 lead in the second before TCU knotted the game in the top of the third.
Two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth gave the Owls a cushion they held until TCU’s rally in the final two innings.
“It’s the first time that we’ve played a close game where we’ve played from behind and won the game late this year,” Schlossnagle said. “We’ve played from behind early and won big, but in terms of staying in the game late and having a late inning comeback, that’s a great thing for a young team that’s never been through that.”
TCU improves to 13-3 with the victory while Rice drops to 8-8. It was the Owls’ first loss to TCU at Houston since March 11, 2005.
This was TCU’s final game before starting Big 12 Conference play on Friday with a three-game set at Lupton Stadium against West Virginia.