TCU improved to 6-1 on the season with a cardiac-inducing win over Nebraska on Sunday afternoon, 5-3. Doubles from David Bishop and Gray Rodgers helped the Frogs, while an incredible defensive effort put them over the top.
Brett Walker pitched seven solid innings, earning his second win of the season, while Marcelo Perez and River Ridings came on in relief to close out the victory. Ridings recorded his third save of the season.
For the third time in the series, TCU got out in front first. Elijah Nunez worked his way on base in the bottom of the first with a bunt single, and moved to second when Luke Boyers walked. Brayden Taylor moved Nunez to third with a hard hit sacrifice fly to deep center, and Nunez came around to score on a single to right from David Bishop.
TCU could have gotten a second run in the inning, but a base running mistake from Bishop cost them. Gray Rodgers hit a deep fly ball to center that would have scored Luke Boyers on a tag, but Bishop tried to tag up and go to second base.
He was thrown out, and the run coming across didn’t count. Instead, the inning ended with TCU up 1-0.
Nebraska, who had put runners in position to score at various points throughout the weekend, finally brought home a runner in scoring position in the top of the third. After a leadoff double from Brice Matthews, Leighton Banjoff singled to center, tying the game up at 1-1.
It was the first time all weekend the game was tied at something other than 0-0.
That being said, the tie was short-lived. TCU reclaimed their lead in the bottom of the third, thanks to more clutch hitting from Gray Rodgers.
With two outs and Brayden Taylor on first, Rodgers doubled down the left field line to score Taylor and give the Frogs the 2-1 lead. The senior second baseman had a good weekend overall, finishing 4-11 at the plate with 3 RBI, 1 run scored, and 2 doubles.
The Frogs added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Nunez led the inning off with a triple to the wall in center field, and just a few pitches later Boyers singled him home. TCU wasn’t finished though, as Brayden Taylor ripped a pitch down the first base line for a double, scoring Boyers and pushing TCU’s lead to 4-1.
That would end the day for Nebraska’s starter, Dawson McCarville.
It did not, however, end TCU’s inning. With Taylor standing on second, Nebraska’s lefty reliever Emmett Olson let a pitch get away from him, allowing Taylor to advance to third. Rodgers took the next pitch and drove it sharply to the shortstop, bringing Taylor home and giving Gray his second RBI of the day.
Nebraska got one back in the top of the seventh, with Brice Matthews hitting a solo home run to left off of Walker. Just a few pitches prior, the umpire called time as Walker began his windup, resulting in no pitch.
Kirk Saarloos came out of the dugout to have a word with the home plate ump, as time seemed to be called a little late.
After the home run, Walker finished the inning quickly and without incident.
Marcelo Perez came on to pitch the eighth for TCU, and gave up one run on a sacrifice fly before settling down and getting out of the inning.
After a quiet bottom of the eighth, River Ridings came on to try and close things out for the Frogs. He quickly gave up two singles, putting Huskers on first and second with no outs.
A big strikeout of Brice Matthews helped matters, and Ridings got left fielder Gabe Swanson to pop up to second base for the second out.
The next batter hit a ball sharply back at Ridings, who couldn’t field it cleanly, and the bases were loaded with two outs. Ridings managed to get a ground ball hit to Taylor at third, and Taylor made the throw over to Bishop to end the game.
It was a close play, and upon replay looked like the runner was safe by a hair. Nonetheless, the umpire called him out, and TCU hit their handshake line as an irate Nebraska head coach sprinted on to the field, throwing his hat at the feet of the first base ump.
Watch the full postgame conversations with Kirk Saarloos and Brett Walker below: