Well, the Frogs love to make us fans sweat in the postseason. In a dramatic, 10-inning thriller TCU beat NC State 9-8 to advance to the super regionals next weekend against Texas A&M. If you, like me, thought that TCU couldn't possibly top the drama of last year's 22 inning marathon against Sam Houston State; then how wrong we were.
TCU started out the game looking completely lost through the first few innings. It appeared that the team was completely wiped out after a dominant and emotional Sunday where they fought their way back from a 1-1 record in the tournament to force a decisive game 7 against NC State.
In the 3rd inning NC State scored 3 runs and was knocking balls off the fence left and right. The Frogs went in order in two of those first 3 innings. In the 2nd and 4th innings we managed a few base runners, but couldn't string anything together. In the 4th NC State homered to take a 4-0 lead. TCU got on run back in the bottom of the 4th as Odell scored to make it 4-1 after a one out single followed by a fielders choice and an RBI single by Keeton Jones. Young was pulled from the game to start the 5th. Teakell came on and threw a great 3 innings keeping the NC State hitters at bay. NC State seemed to thrive against our power pitchers all weekend and the change of pace pitching from Teakell was keeping us in the game.
In a move I don't really understand, Schloss pulled Teakell to start the 8th and Ferrell came in to try to finish the job. I don't know what happened to the Ferrell that we all know and love but he gave up a hit to the first batter, then committed an error, falling flat on his back trying to field a bunt by the next man he faced. At this point NC State had two on with no outs. Ferrell struck out the next batter he faced and then began a stretch which saw him hit a batter, allow a two-RBI single and throw a wild pitch which allowed both runners to move into scoring position. Guillory came in to pitch for Ferrell and allowed two more runs to score with two wild pitches before getting an line out and a ground out to end the 8th.
Things looked awfully bleak going into the bottom of the 8th, but that's when TCU started to #workthecut. I talked a little bit about this in the game thread which you can find here. What followed was a a crazy sequence of two hits, three errors, a balk, a passed ball, four walks and three pitching changes by NC State. By the time it was over TCU had scored 6 runs, all unearned, on those 2 hits and trailed by only one run. Trieglaff came on for Guillroy to start the 9th and retired the side in order in the top of the ninth.
Then, things got even crazier. Odell opened up the 9th with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice by Brown and made it to third on yet another balk by NC State's pitching staff. Then, Keaton Jones struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher allowing Odell to score the tying run. By this time NC State had exhausted their entire bullpen and Curt Britt, who started game one of the regional for the Wolfpack, was on the mound. He even took an at bat for NC State in the 10th.
Trieglaff retired the side in order again in the 10th and Frogs came to bat with a chance to put the game away. Pinch Hitter Evan Williams, who was in for Stienhagen, got a lead off single and Big XII player of the year Cody Jones came to the plate. Williams then made it to second on a throwing error by Curt Britt and Cody Jones walked to put two on with no outs. Fagnan sacrificed both runners over before another pinch-hitter, Barzilli, came up with the game-winner; a walk off single that squirted past the NC State second-baseman into right field.
In the end, the Frogs pitching depth did end up being the deciding factor in the game. It just wasn't exactly in the manner we expected. Either way, the Frogs survived a hard-fought victory tonight, never gave up and advanced to the super regional next weekend against Texas A&M. For at least one more week, #ToadToOmaha lives on.