TCU was very much in danger of dropping a conference series for the first time this season, as they trailed West Virginia big on the road through the first seven plus frames. But a two-out rally in the eighth made things interesting, as the Frogs pushed five across in the frame on the strength of two hits, six walks, and error, and a wild pitch.
Things started slowly for the Big 12’s leader, as they seemed to be carrying last night’s loss with them through the early goings. Nick Lodolo, who has been so good in his last several starts, struggled Saturday, surrendering three runs on three hits and walking three Mountaineers while getting just three outs - his worst outing since his start against Texas A&M, when he left in a big hole as well (but we all know how that turned out). Trey Morris followed Lodolo, and wasn’t a whole lot better, as WVU scored three more runs on six hits over the next three innings. Both Lodolo and Morris allowed long balls to the Eers, who had been the best long ball hitters in the conference to this point.
But TCU can hit it out of the park as well, and catcher Evan Skoug especially has been on a tear, making Frog fans dig deep into their pocketbooks over the course of his big weekend to send in those #mashformicah pledges. He put two over the wall Saturday after hitting one deep into the Frogs’ bullpen Friday night, cutting the WVU lead to 6-2 with his solo shot in sixth, after Luken Baker’s RBI single in the fourth put TCU on the board. Still trailing big heading into the eighth, the Frogs loaded up the bases as Wade, Warner, and Skoug all walked. With ducks on the pond and Luken Baker at the plate, the Eers went to the pen and Sigman, who did his job, inducing a double play from the big stick in the Frog lineup in just one pitch. With two down, Watson took one for the team, reaching on a hit by pitch. Loaded up once again, Nolan Brown came up with the big hit, singling through the right side to bring two home. With Watson at third, Brown stole second, and Josh scooted home on a wild pitch to but the deficit to one, 6-5. Ryan Merrill was next and he walked as well, advancing to second and moving Brown to third on a failed pickoff attempt. That opened the door for Connor Wanhanen, who came through in impressive fashion, doubling to right center to give the Frogs a 7-6 lead.
Schlossnagle went to the pen once again, calling on freshman Jake Eissler. He started things with a strikeout, but after surrendering a one out single and a stolen base, TCU decided to take no chances, bringing in closer Durbin Feltman. Feltman, who inherited a 2-2 count, made quick work of the first hitter he faced, striking him out, and got a groundout to end the eighth.
Looking for a little insurance in the top of the ninth, Skoug delivered once again, putting one over the centerfield fence to stretch the TCU lead to 8-6. Feltman got in a little trouble in the bottom of the ninth, surrendering a lead off walk and falling behind the second batter he faced. But he settled in and got three straight outs, earning the save, his 18th in 18 opportunities over the past season plus.
Skoug, Baker, Brown, and Wanhanen had two hits a piece, knocking in all seven runs between them. TCU walked seven times and struck out nine, using up most of the Mountaineers’ bullpen and putting them in a difficult situation for Sunday’s rubber match when it comes to finding the arms for 27 outs. The Frogs, meanwhile, will turn to Brian Howard, looking to avoid dropping a Big 12 series for the first time all season. The Frogs regain their two game advantage in the standings and avenge last night’s walk off dog pile with seven unanswered today. First pitch on Easter Sunday is set for 11:00am CT.