By the time I got to my seat this afternoon, the Frogs were down a run and there were Bears all over the bases. Preston Morrison, he of the minuscule ERA and almost unhittable mound presence, was in big trouble, and the crowd was antsy to see the least. But P Mo overcame his early struggles to mow down the Bear hitters over the next 6.1 innings - giving up just one additional hit, no runs, and collecting nine strikeouts. Meanwhile, North Temple's Daniel Castano looked like an ace through five, as the Frogs couldn't get anything going on offense. despite getting men on base in the first and the third.
But as they are conditioned to do, TCU kept chipping away and making plays, and after a great throw on a steal attempt by freshman catcher Zach Plunkett and a nasty strike out by Preston Morrison ended the top of the sixth, the Frogs came back in the bottom half of the inning energized and ready to make some noise. Cody Jones, who started the game with a walk and got the first hit of the game in the third started the rally in the sixth with a double. The hit down the third base line also woke up the Woo Birds, and when Keaton Jones sacrificed him to third, it seemed that TCU was on the precipice of breaking things open. A Garrett Crain single would push a run across the board, and he would advance to second on a wild pitch, before Evan Skoug moved him to third on a single. Dane Steinhagen would come up with one out and two on with a chance to be the hero - and he would deliver a run scoring single to right field. With two on an one out, the much maligned Derek Odell almost totally broke things open, but his line drive hung up just a little to long for the outfielder, and he would be retired. The Frogs would only push across the two runs on four hits, but with the game now tied, it was all but over.
Morrison would come back in the top of the seventh with an absolute shut down inning - striking out Ducoff swinging and McLean looking, and the stage was set for some late game heroics. Nolan Brown, who would be the hottest hitter in the lineup if not for the ridiculousness that is Cody Jones, opened up the 8th with a single, and then the aforementioned Jones got on base with his second walk of the game. The Bears changed pitchers, bringing in Nick Lewis, who had the wildest set of warmup pitches I have ever seen, and sure enough, he airmailed one early to allow the runners to advance. The runners would hold at second and third, until with two outs, the mighty Evan Skoug came up in a bit spot. Skoug, he seems to swing for the fences at every pitch he sees, took a couple of massive hacks, but couldn't quite connect. He would finally put the bat on the ball for a weak grounder to first, and looked to be thrown out easily. But, as the crowd whipped in to a frenzy, the ump called interference on the catcher, Skoug was safe, and Brown's run was counted. Oh the irony, as was pointed out by @Con_Man95 on Twitter, of Baylor losing the lead on an interference call ;). It was magical.
Though that would be all for the Frogs on offense, who would leave the bases juiced in the inning, it was all that was needed. Morrison would exit after allowing a walk in the eighth, giving way for Trey Teakell, who would make quick work of the Bears with three easy outs. TCU would go quietly in their half of the eighth, but it wouldn't matter, as the sight of Riley Ferrell jogging out to the mound sucked any life out of the Bear's team. Ferrell more than delivered - he faced three batters, he struck out three batters, and managed to record pitches as high as 95 mph and low as 77. That's just not fair.
Ferrell threw 12 pitches and only two balls - the one Bear who fouled a pitch off should be pretty proud of himself - to notch his seventh save of the season and 25th of his career. Morrison allowed first inning runs, just the second time a TCU pitcher has done so this season, but came back strong to earn the win, the 29th of his career, which is the second most wins in school history. Offensively, Cody Jones remains perfect verses the Bears this season - after collecting four hits last night, he notched two more this afternoon to go with two walks, and also scored a run. Defensively, TCU played their ninth errorless game of 2015, and Keaton Jones was an absolute vacuum at short - it seemed every ball that was hit was hit to him, and he showed off his glove work and a strong arm on multiple occasions as he racked up outs in his 200th career game as a Frog. K Jones and Brown both have hitting streaks of six games, and Skoug reached for the 12th consecutive contest.
TCU has guaranteed themselves another series win, but goes for the sweep Sunday at Lupton - looking for their 10th straight win at home. And let's be honest, we really, really, really want the sweep. Frogs move to 13-2 on the year and send BU to their ninth straight loss. Alex Young is the projected starter for the Frogs, while Austin Stone will look to continue the solid pitching for the Bears. The game will be televised on FSSW, so if you can't make it to the Fort, be sure to tune in.