The Big Mac Blog

Horned Frogs v. Aggies was college sports at its best

The celebration began roughly at 1 a.m. as TCU finally defeated Texas A&M in 16 innings to advance to the College Baseball World Series.
The celebration began roughly at 1 a.m. as TCU finally defeated Texas A&M in 16 innings to advance to the College Baseball World Series. Star-Telegram

According to the Parenting Rule Book, kids should be in bed before 12:15 a.m. There is, however, an exception that clearly states: Unless you have two little ones, and you just can’t leave the extra innings of a college baseball game, keep ‘em up as long as needed.

The diehard Texas A&M fan that I saw changing her 2-year-old on the cement at Lupton Stadium well after midnight on Monday night/Tuesday morning obviously followed this handbook. Her other child was fast asleep in the stroller. No judgment, just respect.

When your team is in an epic game, you do what you need to do.

On Monday night/Tuesday morning, TCU and Texas A&M finished their wonderfully entertaining NCAA baseball regional with a game fitting for the series. At roughly 1 a.m., TCU scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning in a way that was not fitting for these two teams.

With two outs in the 16th and TCU’s Garrrett Crain at second base, TCU catcher Evan Skoug hit a grounder behind third base that A&M third baseman Ronnie Gideon fielded. He mishandled the ball, and rather than throw to first base he threw home to get Crain, who ignored the stop sign from the third base coach and went for it.

Had Gideon made a good throw, the game would have gone to the 17th, and it probably would still be going. He didn’t, and Crain scored. TCU deserved to win, but considering how well these teams played in this series it deserved to end on a clean play.

Cliche alert: Neither team deserved to lose.

No one at TCU is complaining; the Horned Frogs return to the College World Series for a second consecutive season. TCU should have won this game no less than five times before the final play, beginning with a ninth-inning where the Horned Frogs allowed two runs that tied it.

All that said, Monday night was just about as good as it gets for a college sporting event. The players killed themselves. There were numerous great plays, from diving catches to actual home runs hit in college baseball (remember those?).

Lupton Stadium was packed with more than 7,000 fans, a great many of whom jammed into places that offered minimal sight lines for the game. The fear that TCU was going to be overrun by the Maroon & White was mostly for naught; the Aggies were well represented, but far from the majority.

It was a wonderful game, a brilliant night, and the type of scene that makes college athletics worth the headache. The game offered the type of communal bonding experience that few events can achieve.

It was slightly surreal to see fans sitting in the bushes in right field, and the police actually needing to enforce fans from standing in the aisle in the standing room sections. For a few of the late innings, before exhaustion took over and the game got stupid long, nearly all of the fans were standing in anticipation of a walk-off play.

That play did happen, but by the time it did the thousands that remained were gassed and simply happy to be awake, including the 2-year-olds.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @macengelprof

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