By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
For the second day in a row, the eighth inning proved crucial in the College World Series.
Texas entered the eighth inning Saturday with a 1-0 lead but UC Irvine scored three times for a 3-1 victory. On Sunday, TCU went to the top of the eighth with a 1-0 lead only to have Texas Tech get a two-run triple from Tyler Neslony.
As it has proven since April 1, the Horned Frogs are resilient and determined. TCU answered with a two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
Keaton Jones started the rally with an infield single and was bunted to second. Cody Jones – who doubled and scored to give the Frogs a 1-0 lead in the first – beat out an infield single up the middle and Keaton Jones scored when second baseman Alec Humphreys made a wild throw to first that allowed Cody Jones to advance to second.
Boomer White, who had two game-winning hits in the Fort Worth Regional, came through with a single to left field to score the go-ahead run. Reliever Riley Ferrell, who gave up Neslony’s triple, got a two-on, two-out grounder for the final out in the 3-2 victory.
* TCU starting pitcher Preston Morrison pitched 7.1 innings, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out a career-high 10. Since the CWS moved to TD Ameritrade Park in 2011, Morrison is just the third pitcher with 10 or more strikeouts.
* Texas Tech starting pitcher Chris Sadberry was Morrison’s equal. He allowed three hits and one run in seven innings.
* TCU sophomore Boomer White drove in the Horned Frogs’ first run with a first-inning sacrifice fly and the winning run with a two-out single to left field.
Numbers to know
* For the first time 2009 (Texas vs. Southern Miss), a CWS game had two lead changes in the eighth inning or later.
* This is the third time that Big 12 teams met in the CWS. In 2005, Texas and Baylor played two games against each other.
* TCU is 9-2 in neutral site games and has won seven consecutive games on neutral fields.
* Six of TCU’s last seven games have been decided by one run. The Frogs are 5-1 in post-season games decided by one run.
* TCU’s bullpen has only allowed three runs in the last 30.0 innings in the NCAA tournament …
* Texas Tech pitchers have held the opponent scoreless in 57 of 63 innings in the NCAA tournament.
TCU starter Preston Morrison, who gave up six hits and four runs in two innings in a 10-2 loss to Texas Tech on March 22: “That first outing, that wasn't me at all. I didn't have any control. My stuff wasn't as sharp as it usually is and today was more of a typical outing for me. My slider was on point. I was able to locate my fastball when I needed to and threw a couple of changeups for a couple of outs.”
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle on being a team of destiny: “I believe teams that have really good starting pitching and a good closer can win baseball games. So if that's destiny I'll take it. If you get hot and you play the best, then you can be the national champion. And so we would much rather be the team playing the best than the very best team.”
Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock on replacing starting pitcher Chris Sadberry to start the bottom of the eighth: “Of course now we can go hindsight and go: Why didn't we leave him in, right? Had to listen to the dumb manager. But we had decided really before we scored the runs, very rarely these guys go past 100 pitches. He's right at 100. And he's done everything he could do for our team to put us in position to win the game. And we're always going to do what's best for these guys and for their career and the long term.”
Tadlock on “flushing” the loss and getting ready for Tuesday’s game: “It's a tough, tough way to lose your first game up here. At the same time, we won't look back …and get ready to go on Tuesday. … We’ll go eat dinner and try to put this behind us and move on.”
TCU will face Virginia, a 2-1 walk-off winner over Ole Miss Sunday night, at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Texas Tech will take on the Rebels at 2 p.m. Tuesday in an elimination game. Both Big 12 teams will be the visitors on Tuesday.