Zach Humphreys was the hero Sunday afternoon for TCU Baseball, as the sophomore catcher came through in the bottom of the 13th to walk off the Golden Gophers with a two out single that gave the Frogs a 5-4 victory.
The game, that began Friday night after a several hour long delay, was halted with two down in the top of the third due to weather. It is the sixth time this season that TCU has had a game delayed or cancelled due to rain/storms, and ended up forcing the cancellation of the scheduled finale of the three game set.
Things started well for TCU Saturday night, as they jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead through two innings. The Frogs put up a three spot in the bottom of the first, as Connor Wanhanen started off the offense with a leadoff single. After Humphreys drew a walk and Luken Baker K’ed, Josh Watson laced a single through the right side to plate two. He scored on AJ Balta’s base knock a batter later, and TCU had a 3-0 advantage. They added to their lead in the bottom of the second, as Coby Boulware turned a triple into a score thanks to an error. It appeared the four runs would be more than enough, as Nick Lodolo cruised through his first 2.2 innings in a bounce back performance. After last week’s struggles, the sophomore allowed just two hits, struck out five, and walked one in his abbreviated start Saturday.
But the night’s rest revamped the Golden Gophers, while TCU struggled to get their offense going when play resumed. Haylen Green got the ball to start things off, and was solid in closing out the third and pitching around a pair of walks in the fourth. But Minnesota forced the issue in the sixth, clawing back into the game with a pair of runs thanks to three hits and a hit by pitch. Green put the leadoff man on with the plunking, and was charged with both runs after he allowed two singles and Charles King gave up a double in relief.
Another run of errors allowed the Golden Gophers to get within one an inning later, as an error and wild pitch put a runner in scoring position without a hit. King served up a base hit, and Eissler took his place to end the scoring. But Minnesota tied things up off of Eissler in the eighth, as the leadoff single came around to score after Durbin Feltman took over.
Feltman deserves a ton of credit for his performance Sunday, as the TCU closer put in yeoman’s work over 3.1 innings, his longest appearance of the season, and I believe, of his career. Feltman scattered four hits, struck out four, and walked none over 51 pitches, keeping the Frogs alive and keeping the pen relatively fresh. Caleb Sloan relieved him and worked around a pair of base hits, and Trey Morris got the final two outs of the 13th to set TCU up for the winning innings.
In the 13th, Tristan Hanoian got on base thanks to a one out walk, and Conner Shepherd followed with the same. After Coby Boulware struck out, Connor Wanhanen worked a full count walk, leaving Hanoian just 90’ from victory. Enter Zach Humphreys, who had been the final out of the 11th, but made the most of his opportunity two innings later with a single to right center to plate the game-winning run.
Despite going ten innings and 19 hours between runs, TCU got a crucial win to even up a series they really need to win. They also did so despite just ten hits against 15 Ks, partially with the help of 10 walks drawn. Only Josh Watson and Boulware had two hits on the day(s), and Baker had a rare hitless day with two Ks, but did reach safely twice thanks to a pair of walks.
The Frogs will look to continue their series win streak as they play the rubber match this afternoon with Sean Wymer on the bump.