The TCU pitching staff showed it was human, but the team showed it's heart, as the Frogs battled back against the Sun Devils Sunday afternoon, taking the game despite not having a lead until the ninth inning. Alex Young, who was brilliant last week against SIU, struggled some on the mound against the Sun Devils, falling behind the ASU hitters in the early going, but put them on lock his last few innings to close the threat and the scoring.
RJ Ibarra, who had a home run Saturday, picked up where he left off Sunday, sending one over the fence in his first at bat of the game in the second, but the Frogs would tie things up the next half inning off a Derek Odell base hit. ASU would come back in the bottom of the third with a run of their own to retake the lead, 2-1, and that's where things would stay for the next couple innings.
The Frogs made several mental mistakes that cost them opportunities at runs - a one out triple by Garrett Crain put them in position to at least tie it up, but he was stranded as Sun Devil pitcher Darren Gilles struck out a Frog looking two batters later to end the threat. Base running errors would become a problem later, as the youth and relative inexperience started to show.
ASU pulled Darrin Gillies after five and a third innings; the senior struck out five against only two walks, and give up the one run, in a pretty incredible bounce back performance after getting raked a week earlier. Freshman lefty Tucker Baca came in with one on and one out in the fifth and allowed a single to freshman Evan Skoug, then made a wild throw in to center on a pickoff attempt that brought in the tying run and advanced Skoug to second. He would recover to strike out Garrett Crain, but then walked Keaton Jones, which would end his day. Herbert Bueno came in to face pinch hitter Zack Plunkett, who had hit his first career home run a day before, and struck him out to end the threat
Trey Teakell came on in the bottom of the sixth, replacing Alex Young, and got two quick outs before giving up a hit (off of his leg) to the dangerous RJ Ibarra, who finished 3-3 on the day before being replaced in the eighth. He would get a ground out from Bielek immediately after to end the threat, and the Frogs would head to the seventh tied up.
The Frogs would threaten again, off a Jeremie Fagnan single and stolen base, but a Cody Jones strikeout and nice play by the pitcher would leave him stranded at second. In the bottom half, a lead off double and a wild pitch would be the leading run at third with no outs, and Teakell would follow with a walk to put the Frogs in a world of trouble. Somehow, they would get out of trouble, getting a pop up for the first out, a rocket throw pickoff at third by Evan Skoug for out number two, and a looking strike out that ended the threat. Sun Devil manager Tracy Smith, who had argued the call at third, would get tossed arguing the called third strike, and the Frogs would take all the momentum in to the top of the eighth.
Derek Odell, who was 3-4 on the day, led off the inning with a single, but an Evan Skoug strike out and a double play would end the inning. Teakell would get two quick outs before giving up a single to Woodmansee and what was ruled a single - though it was a ball misplayed by Jones at short - to put Devils on the corners with two outs. Teakell would then give way to Ryan Burnett, a redshirt freshman who would get a one pitch out to end the threat.
The Frogs would put two on with one out, and score a run on a Cody Jones single as Evan Williams got home from second. The throw beat Williams to home, but the catcher was unable to hold on to the ball while absorbing a good slide that kicked it out of his glove. The 3-2 lead was the first for TCU since Friday, and would be all they would need, as closer Riley Ferrell would come out in the bottom of the ninth for his first save opportunity of the year.
Ferrell would induce a ground ball out to third to start the inning, a fly out to Cody Jones in center for the second, and a pop out to Keaton Jones for the final out and to secure the game and series win. It wasn't his most dominating inning, but it got the job done, and against a good team, that's all you want.
The Frogs move to 6-1 on the season, and get an impressive series win against a really good team on the road. The Frogs got it done with pitching and defense once again, as Young settled down after a rocky start, Teakell shut the door, and Ferrell locked it, with all three getting help from an error free defense behind them. TCU returns home for a Tuesday night game against Texas Southern at Lupton, before squaring off against Cal Poly for a weekend series, also at home.