OKLAHOMA CITY – For the second time in the past three seasons, the TCU Horned Frogs are the Big 12 Baseball Champions following a 10-inning 11-10 victory over West Virginia in Sunday's 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship game at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
TCU got things started early, jumping out to a big lead after plating five runs on five hits, including freshman Josh Watson's 10th double of the season that gave TCU an early and quick 5-0 advantage.
TCU starter Rex Hill powered through the first, holding the Mountaineers, who entered Sunday's contest undefeated in Big 12 Championship play, to just one hit.
The Frogs would keep their foot on the gas in the second and third innings as TCU would combine for three more runs on four hits to hold an 8-0 lead heading to the home half of the third.
The Mountaineers seemed to find their stride in the third frame as back-to-back hits from Kyle Davis and Darius Hill plated a pair of runs before an RBI single from Jackson Cramer cut the TCU lead to 8-3 heading to the fourth.
Following a no-hit top of the fourth, WVU posted another three-run inning thanks to a bases-clearing triple from Hill.
TCU answered back in the top of the fifth as Ryan Merrill lifted a sacrifice fly to right scoring the 2016 Big 12 Championship's 200th run and giving the Frogs a 9-6 lead.
The Mountaineers would stay hot in the home half of the frame scoring four runs on three hits to take the lead for the first time in the game. A two-out, two-RBI double from Kyle Davis not only gave WVU a 10-9 lead, but also marked his 14th RBI of the Championship, breaking the Championship RBI record of 13 set by Nebraska's Dan Johnson in 2001.
The Frogs knotted the game up at 10 in the top of the ninth with a Merrill sacrifice fly.
With the Mountaineers unable to plate the go-ahead run in the home half of the ninth, the game went into extra innings with the Frogs managing to score the game-winner on a solo shot from freshman phenom Luken Baker to put TCU ahead 11-10.
Baker hit at a hot pace in five championship games, leading the field in several offensive categories. His 15 hits broke the previous record of 14 set by Texas' Dustin Majewski in six games played during the 2002 championship. Additionally, Baker set a Big 12 Championship record with 10 runs scored. After smashing the game-winner in today's contest, Baker sent a championship-best four home runs over the fence, just shy of the tournament record of five set in 2001.
Freshman righty Durbin Feltman was credited with the Horned Frog win in Sunday's outing as the Conroe, Texas, native provided the Frogs with three scoreless innings. The win improved Feltman to 3-0 on the season.
- TCU improves to 9-5 all-time in Big 12 Championship play, and 2-0 in title games after also taking the 2014 crown over Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs become just the fifth program (third current member) in conference history to win multiple Big 12 Baseball Championships.
- West Virginia falls to 6-6 all-time in Big 12 Championship play, after dropping its first-ever Big 12 title game appearance. The Mountaineers are now 5-6 overall in conference championship games (0-1 Big 12, 1-0 Big East, 4-5 A10).
- The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs met in Big 12 Championship play for just the third time since both programs joined the membership in 2013. TCU now leads the all-time tournament series 2-1, after winning the last two in a row.
- Today's championship game between TCU and WVU drew a crowd of 4,389. The total attendance for all eight sessions of the 2016 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla. was 61,563. The current site will continue to host the championship event through 2020.
- The 21 combined runs by TCU and West Virginia are the most in a championship game since Texas and Kansas State combined for 22 runs in the 2008 title game. In all 14 games combined, teams scored a combined 206 runs (14.7 rpg), making the 2016 Big 12 Championship the highest-scoring tournament in the 20-year history of the postseason event (1997 – 200 runs in 11 games, 18.2 rpg).
- Today's championship contest went final after 10 complete innings, just the sixth extra-inning championship game in Big 12 tournament history. The last time a championship game went to extras was in 2011, as Texas A&M defeated Missouri 10-9 in 10 innings. The longest championship game in tournament history remains the 13-inning thriller from 2004, in which Oklahoma State defeated Missouri 10-9.
- During the 2016 Big 12 Baseball Championship, eight of the 14 games saw at least one team score in the first inning. TCU's five-run opening frame in today's contest was the most run production to open a game in all 14 games of this year's event.
STAT OF THE GAME
The 72 hits overall by TCU in this year's championship surpassed the previous record of 71 hits by Oklahoma in 1997 (5 games) and Baylor in 2003 (6 games). The Horned Frogs had 18 in today's contest, which were the most by a team during the 2016 Big 12 Championship.
Big 12 teams will await their postseason fate with the NCAA set to announce the 2016 championship field on Monday at 11 a.m. CT on ESPNU.
2016 BIG 12 ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Catcher: Evan Skoug, TCU
First Base: Kacy Clemens, Texas
Second Base: Cam Warner, TCU
Shortstop: Bret Boswell, Texas
Third Base: Elliott Barzilli, TCU
Outfield: Tyler Neslony, Texas Tech
Outfield: Josh Watson, TCU
Outfield: KC Huth, West Virginia KC
Designated Hitter: Luken Baker, TCU
Designated Hitter: Kyle Davis, West Virginia
Starting Pitcher: Conner Dotson, West Virginia
Starting Pitcher: Brian Howard, TCU
Relief Pitcher: Ross Vance, West Virginia
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: Luken Baker, TCU, DH