It appeared early that the Frogs and Rebels would engage in an old fashioned pitchers duel, as Ole Miss’ Brady Feigl and TCU’s Jared Janczak traded 1-2-3 opening frames. But TCU got to work quickly in the second, with Luken Baker smacking a leadoff single to start things. He was out at second a batter later on a Josh Watson chopper, but after Feigl hit Nolan Brown with a pitch, Cam Warner came through with a one-out double to score the game’s first run. A wild pitch allowed Brown to come home easily, and Humphreys would finish off a three run frame with a two out single that scored Cam.
Ole Miss was looking to answer in the bottom of the inning, as Cole Zabowski ripped a lead-off single to left. But Janczak would fight back to strike out the side and end any threat the Rebels were looking to bring. The Frogs couldn’t string anything together in the top of the third, as Luken Baker flied out to left and Watson went down swinging after a one-out Evan Skoug single. JJ went right back to work in the bottom of the inning, opening things up with another strikeout, his fourth consecutive. After a ground out to Ryan Merrill at short, leadoff hitter Tate Blackman dribbled one to third, and beat out the throw after Barzilli corralled it. Olenek followed with a walk, and Janczak was in trouble for the first time in the game, with Colby Bortles (brother of Blake) stepping to the plate. But JJ did what JJ does, getting Bortles to strikeout looking to end the inning.
In the fourth, we saw the ups and downs of Nolan Brown, as TCU’s centerfielder opened things up by beating out a slow roller to second. But after Warner hit one hard - but right at the defense - Brown got picked off by Feigl at first. It would become a big play, as Ryan Merrill sent one to the seats two pitches later for a solo shot, and to give TCU a 4-0 lead. The home run was Merrill’s first of the year, and continued his hot hitting from earlier this morning. Ole Miss looked like they might make some two-out magic happen in the bottom of the fourth after Will Golsan ripped a single to left, but a perfect throw by freshman catcher Zach Humphreys got him at second on a steal attempt to end the frame.
The Frogs went quietly in their half of the fifth, as Wade and Barzilli hit back to back balls to nearly the same spot at short and Skoug went down swinging for out number three. The teams would trade zeroes until the sixth, when Luken Baker smashed one off the wall in deep center for a triple, scoring a batter later on Watson’s soft grounder. Things were quiet until the eighth, when Janczak finally started to fade just a bit. After issuing a walk, the Frogs went for a quick pickoff of Blaum at first, but the throw was wild and got away from Baker at first. With Blaum on second, Blackman ripped a single to left, chasing Janczak from the game. He finished with ten strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work, allowing just five hits and walking two. It was an impressive, and much needed outing, for the righty, who filled a the huge gap created by last night’s/this morning’s bullpen taxing affair. Ryan Burnett was next to the mound, inheriting the runner at first and a four run cushion. He got his first out on a one pitch pop-up, but a batter later, Colby Bortles absolutely blasted one off the train tracks in left to make it a 5-3 game. A strikeout looking of pinch hitter Michael Zabroswki ended the frame, but the Frogs were on the ropes with just an inning to play.
After TCU went in order in the top of the ninth, Schloss made the call for Durbin Feltman to finish things off. Feltman, who retired four Aggies earlier this morning and got the win right around 2:00am, came back out looking for a traditional three out save, and he delivered in typical Feltman fashion, blowing the Ole Miss hitters away with heat and getting a trio of easy outs, the final one settling fittingly in Ryan Merrill’s glove, who may well be the weekend’s MVP.
For TCU, the win is as, or more, impressive than last night’s - the emotion that goes into an extra-inning comeback like that can be draining, and for the Frogs to bounce back and send a good Ole Miss team packing just a few hours later speaks to their fortitude. It also means a sweep at the Shriners College Classic for a second straight year, this time going through three ranked SEC teams on the way.
TCU will need to rest and regroup before facing a good DBU team at Lupton on Tuesday, and then will pack their backs to head out west for three against UC Irvine and a one-off against Long Beach. But for one night at least, they can enjoy entering the ring with the target squarely on their backs, and coming out on top.
Interviews with winning pitcher Jared Janczak and Coach Schlossnagle can be seen below.