OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Facing a two-run deficit in the ninth inning against Oklahoma State was familiar territory for TCU.
On April 14 in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs' season was slipping away. They were about to lose a Big 12 Conference series to the visiting Cowboys. But trailing 2-0 going into the final inning, TCU rallied for a dramatic 3-2 victory.
In the final game of the opening day of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship, a game that started Thursday and ended Friday morning again had TCU leap-frogging No. 2 seed Oklahoma State. The seventh-seeded Frogs scored six runs in the top of the ninth for an 8-4 victory.
On Friday, TCU (29-26) will face West Virginia at 4 p.m. followed by Oklahoma State (39-15) taking on Kansas at 7:30 p.m. A three-and-a-half hour rain delay caused the early morning finish – first pitch was at 12:35 p.m., the final out was recorded at 12:35 a.m. Four games, 12 hours.
"It was definitely in the back of my mind that it's bad news if we end up losing this game," said TCU senior third baseman Jantzen Witte, who was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. "As the game went on, it was going by quickly, and we just weren't scoring runs. We definitely want to be in control of our own destiny."
TCU has won 14 of its last 20 with the hot streak starting with that come-from-behind triumph. The Frogs came here needing to win the championship's automatic bid to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament. They fell behind 4-0 with ace Preston Morrison posting his shortest outing and stranding 10 runners in the first six innings.
TCU's ninth inning rally started with one out. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases for Derek O'Dell. His bloop single to center scored two runs to tie the game. The Frogs took the lead when, with the bases loaded, Keaton Jones was hit by a pitch. Brett Johnson, with two outs and a 1-2 count, singled in two runs and Cody Jones' infield single plated another run to cap the six-spot.
"I thought if we could just get a couple guys on, I knew if we could just get to Odell he would give us a chance to at least tie the game," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
Trevor Seidenberger relieved Morrison and was brilliant. He earned the victory with 5.1 innings, allowing one hit and struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth to total nine strikeouts.
"The baseball gods looked on us there," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "If you just commit to having consistent, competitive at bats it can turn out for you, if you can keep the game close enough, and we did. Obviously, Seidenberger was the story of the game,"
Oklahoma State earned the No. 2 seed with a strong finish to the season, winning 14 of 18. Letting a 4-0 lead slip away stung.
"Tough game, I couldn't describe it another way," first-year coach Josh Holliday said. "We give them a lot of credit for fighting back and putting together a pretty good ninth inning, which was tough for us to swallow. As I told the kids, this is a three-game series as the tournament now lays out. We have got to forget about this game and get ready for the challenge tomorrow (Friday)."