OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – TCU showed again that it knows how to win close games.
The Horned Frogs beat Big 12 rival Texas Tech 3-2 in the College World Series on Sunday for their fifth win in six one-run games in the NCAA tournament.
This time Boomer White drove in the go-ahead run against Tech closer Jonny Drozd in the bottom of the eighth inning after TCU had fallen behind in the top half.
“That’s the kind of baseball we’ve played all year,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I’m not telling you I’m comfortable with it, but these guys are. They don’t panic a bit. It’s just, hey, let’s put together some good at-bats and see what happens. I just try to stay out of the way.”
TCU (48-16), the No. 7 national seed, advanced to a game Tuesday against Virginia, a 2-1 winner over Mississippi on Sunday night. Texas Tech (45-20), in the CWS for the first time, will play Ole Miss in the afternoon.
“It’s a tough, tough way to lose your first game up here,” Red Raiders coach Tim Tadlock said. “At the same time, we won’t look back, and we’ll get ready to go on Tuesday.”
Big 12 pitcher of the year Preston Morrison made TCU’s 1-0 lead hold up until the eighth inning, striking out a career-high 10 and allowing five singles. Schlossnagle called on closer Riley Ferrell (3-1) after Morrison gave up a sharply hit single to Stephen Smith. Anthony Lyons followed with a pinch-hit single, and Tyler Neslony tripled to the right-field wall for a 2-1 lead.
“I knew once we got a couple runs… I mean, we have the utmost confidence ever in Jonny,” Neslony said. “So it gave us a little momentum, but that’s about it.”
Drozd took over for starter Chris Sadberry to start the eighth. Keaton Jones scored from second when second baseman Alec Humphreys, who had just entered the game, overthrew first after stopping Cody Jones’ grounder up the middle. Jones went to second on the play and came home on White’s two-out base hit to left.
“I knew if I could get it out of the infield, Cody was going to score,” White said. “He threw it up there, and I stayed on it just enough to get a good piece of it.”
The Red Raiders threatened in the ninth on Tim Proudfoot’s infield single and an error that allowed Hunter Redman to reach with two out. The game ended when Todd Ritchie grounded out.
TCU beat Texas Tech for the third time in five meetings this season and improved to 9-4 in one-run games. Six of them have come since May 30.
The Frogs opened regionals with a 2-1, 11-inning win over Siena and then needed 22 innings to beat Sam Houston State 3-2. All three of their super-regional games against Pepperdine were decided by a single run.
TCU scored on White’s sacrifice fly in the first inning against the Red Raiders, and then the duel was on between Morrison and Sadberry. Sadberry gave up three hits, walked two and struck out five before giving way to Drodz.
The Frogs came in with the nation’s best ERA (2.19), and their bullpen came into the game having allowed two runs in 28 1-3 innings.
Schlossnagle was asked if he believed prevailing in all these close games means his team could be one of destiny.
“That’s hard to say,” he said. “Teams with really good starting pitching and a good closer can win baseball games. If that’s destiny, I’ll take it. If you get hot and you play the best, then you can be the national champion.”
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