TCU proved their recent run of success more than legitimate over the weekend as they swept the No. 4 Longhorns in Austin. Thanks to the lights out pitching from their one-two punch of Finnegan and Morrison Thursday and Friday, TCU carried the momentum though Saturday and were able to mount a comeback and sweep their first series against the Longhorns in twenty years.
The Frogs got all the runs they needed in the fifth inning that began with a lead-off double by Jerrick Suiter. A perfect sacrifice bunt by Keaton Jones led to an RBI single by Garrett Caine that put the Frogs up 2-0. Cody Jones collected an RBI himself to make the game 3-0 in favor of the Frogs.
But the night was all Brandon Finnegan. Through his 8 scoreless innings of work, Finny fanned 11 Longhorns, allowing only 4 hits and one walk. Riley Ferrell was also lights out and picked up his 7th save on the year.The junior Southpaw's 11 strikeouts, mostly thanks to his filthy slider, made it 83 for Finnegan on the year, which ranks 2nd nationally.
In what was TCU’s third-consecutive shutout, Preston Morrison dazzled once again as the junior struck out seven in 7 innings of work, giving up only four hits and three walks. Riley Ferrell continued to be lights out as well and picked up his 8th save of the year, striking out two in the process. Morrison was able to pitch out of a few jams, most notably in the fist where Texas got the tying and go-ahead run on first and second after Morrison gave up a hit and a walk. Thankfully Morrison’s Greg Maddux-flow forced Collin Shaw to ground out to end the inning, which was pretty much the story for the Longhorns all weekend.
TCU’s offense was a little spread out in Friday’s contest, scoring in the 1st and 7th innings. The first inning run came off an RBI single from Jerrick Suiter, scoring Boomer White, who always seems like he’s one base, to put the Frogs up 1-0. Thanks to the shutdown pitching from Morrison and Ferrell, the one run in the first was all the Frogs would’ve needed, but an RBI triple (checks notes, yes TRIPLE) from Kevin Cron, who also had 3 hits in the game, put the Frogs up 2-0 in the before the 7th-inning stretch.
When we previewed and chatted about the series, the final game of the series was the one that was going to be the biggest worry for the Frogs. In the two months, TCU’s been pretty hit or miss in the third game of series, but Tyler Alexander was in top-form Sunday. The lefty from Southlake may have not gotten the win, but gave up only one run in his 5 innings of work.
Trey Teakell was dazzling as well Saturday. Texas may have scored first, which ended up being their only run of the weekend, but Teakell, who picked up the win, stayed strong after coming in for Alexander in the 6th, striking out 2 while only giving up one hit and a walk.
Riley Ferrell, who picked up his ninth save of the year in the game looked a little tired after two dominating performances in the previous two games in Austin. But Ferrell was able to escape the scare Texas put up in the bottom of the 9th as TCU picked up their second Big 12 sweep in program history and their first sweep against Texas since 1994. You know, the year Forrest Gump beat out Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption for best picture.
TCU’s offense kept Texas in check all game, but finally cashed-in in the 7th thanks to some help from Jerrick Suiter, Dylan Fitzgerald, who tied the game at 1 with an RBI-double, and Garrett Craine who put TCU ahead 2-1 with an RBI-single. The Frogs got an insurance run as Fitzgerald hit an opposite field double to make the game 3-1 going into the bottom of the 9th.
For lack of better analogy, and more timely a few weeks ago, I compared TCU’s surge to that of Kentucky basketball’s this year. Perhaps a better one would be to compare it to just about every baseball movie in the history of time. TCU’s turned around what was looking to be another disappointing season in the Big 12, to one of brilliance.
The offense still hasn’t reached its full potential, but with Finnegan and Morrison pitching like they are, the offense has found a way to grind around it and it’s been beautiful. The one-two punch of Finnegan and Morrison securing wins like this will prove its true worth come Regional and Super Regional time.
As for as the non-quantitative stuff goes, the feeling in the dugout seems overwhelmingly positive and it seems that someone stood up and took upon the leadership role that the team was missing early in the season. Whatever, or whoever the x-factor TCU’s had in the dugout knows as well as we do that while the Texas sweep was undeniably huge, it’s but a stepping-stone for larger things on the horizon.
The sweep was great, but now it’s time to get back to work.
Cy Young(s): Preston Morrison and Brandon Finnegan:
Between them they had 18 strikeouts and no earned runs in two days.
MVP: Riley Ferrell
Not talked about enough by anyone and kicking the Longhorns in the mouth while they were down, Ferrell was lights out in the crucial closing inning of each game, collecting 5 strikeouts over the weekend.
Because I Can: Dylan Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald had a solid weekend overall, but it was his heroics in Saturday's game that allowed TCU to get their first sweep in Austin in twenty years.
C'Mon Man: Augie and Texas' Offense
By The Numbers
- TCU now has an RPI of 18
- The Frogs got their 2nd Big 12 sweep and their first on the road
- Boomer White has now gotten on base in 13-straight games
- The last time TCU swept Texas was April 1994
- Saturday’s game was the 20th time this season in which TCU’s held their opponent’s to one or fewer runs
- Texas ended TCU’s scoreless pitching streak at 27 innings
- TCU’s 9 shutouts are the most they’ve had in a single season since 1975.
- On Thursday, Finnegan got his 6th time this season, bringing his total to 95 for the season