TCU Baseball escaped Tuesday night with a thrilling extra innings victory over Incarnate Word. Entering the day 1-5 in its last six games since winning the away series over Oklahoma State, the Frogs needed to get back on track ahead of the stretch run. While Incarnate Word proved to be far from a “get right” opponent, perhaps the emotional finish can provide the momentum needed to propel the squad through the final weeks of the season and into the post season.
TCU got off to a hot start in the first, with both small ball and the long ball. Eli Nunez led off the game with a walk, eventually forcing an error on his steal of third that allowed him to score the game’s first run. David Bishop began his monster day with a single to bring Bobby Goodloe to the plate, and he sent a souvenir to the General Admission fans in right field.
Goodloe would later add to his RBI tally with a 3rd-inning sac fly; aside from his hot bat, he was a defensive wizard all game with diving stops and rally killing double plays.
The Cardinals took a run back in the 2nd with a series of base hits, but a no-out bunt attempt was fielded by TCU starter Caedmon Parker who threw out the lead runner at third. Parker got out of the jam and worked clean through the 4th inning. His fortunes turned in the 5th as UIW took advantage of a pair of errors and a pair of hits to score a pair of runs and load the bases. Augie Mihlbauer inherited the bases loaded non-out situation, trading the tying run for an out, but working out of the danger without further damage.
TCU brought on Brett Walker for a mid-week bullpen opportunity to chew through a few innings, which he did going 3 innings with 4 strikeouts. However a lead off triple in the 8th eventually came home to give the Cardinals the late lead.
David Bishop’s heroics started in the bottom of the 8th with a lead off double, advancing to 3rd on a Goodloe sac bunt. TCU Catcher Michael Petrie drew a 4-pitch walk and speedster Sam Thompson replaced him on the base path. Luke Boyers delivered a clutch liner to right field that rolled to the fence, scoring the game-tying and go-ahead runs with the triple.
TCU was now leading 6-5 going into the 9th inning, with Austin Krob taking over on the mound looking to close out the game. Krob’s first pitch put the tying run on base via a slow roller down the 1B line that Krob was unable to field, then an errant pick-off attempt put the runner in scoring position. The Cardinals again attempted the sacrifice bunt to move the runner to 3rd: the bunt was right to Krob, who fielded and threw to 3B; the umpire emphatically signaled for the out, but video review would show that the runner was clearly in safe ahead of the tag. Krob gets the first out with a grounder to 3B, but after falling behind 3-0 to UIW’s Wilson Ehrhardt, who had already torched TCU pitching with a triple and a double, Saarloos called for the intentional walk to load the bases and ending Krob’s evening. Luke Savage was brought on to shut the door with one out and the bases loaded. He forced a grounder to short that Tommy Sacco slung to Rodgers at 2B, but Rodgers was hit with the takeout slide just as he released the throw to first and the throw flew well high. Instead of a game ending double play, the Cardinals now had the lead. The umps took an extensive look at replays to determine whether the slide should be interference, but it was decided that the slide was fair play.
Into the bottom of the 9th, trailing by a run, the Frogs needed a rally. Elijah Nunez started it off with his third walk of the game, and moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. It was David Bishop with the clutch 2-out, 2-strike single that sent Nunez flying home to send the game into extra innings.
Drew Hill was brought on to pitch the extra frames and was absolutely filthy - working 3 ground outs and 3 Ks for 2 perfect innings to keep the game tied. In the 11th, it was again Nunez reaching base and advancing on a wild pitch. Sacco sent a bouncer between short and third; with Nunez running on contact, the Cardinal shortstop tried to gun him down at third, but Nunex beat out the throw. After Sacco steals 2nd, UIW decided to intentionally walk Gray Rodgers to load the bases for David Bishop with no outs - a curious decision, as Bishop had been 4-4 to that point. The TCU 1B promptly made the Cardinals pay, as he crushed the first pitch into the dancing bullpen in left field and was mobbed at home plate
TCU improved to 29-18 on the season and is now 3-0 in extra inning games. The Horned Frogs will go on the road to Lawrence, KS for their final Big 12 series of the regular season. TCU is looking to hold onto the #2 spot in the conference standings, while needing some help to catch Oklahoma State for the top spot.
- David Bishop: 5-5 (2B, HR) 3 R, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB
- Bobby Goodloe: 2-3, 1 R, 3 RBI
- Elijah Nunez: 1-3, 3 R, 3 BB, 1 SB
- Drew Hill: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K