Baseball: TCU beats Oklahoma 4-3, wins fourth straight

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    The three digits flashing underneath the Lupton Stadium scoreboard Tuesday night told it all.

    100.

    “I’ve definitely never seen anybody throw that hard,” TCU’s Derek Odell said of Oklahoma reliever Damien Magnifico. “You blink, and it’s gone.”

    Odell must not have blinked.

    The true freshman singled off Magnifico in the eighth inning to start a two-run, game-tying rally, then singled again in the ninth off of Steven Okert to drive in Brance Rivera and give the TCU baseball team a 4-3 win over Oklahoma.

    For the Horned Frogs, it was their first win over OU since April 17, 2007. Since then, TCU has lost eight straight to the Sooners, who held a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.

    That’s when the Frogs got to Magnifico, who threw a scoreless seventh inning on eight pitches, five of which were thrown exactly 100 miles an hour.

    But Magnifico wouldn’t record an out in the eighth.

    Odell, pinch-hitting for shortstop Keaton Jones, singled to centerfield to leadoff the inning. Kyle Von Tungeln and Josh Elander followed with singles of their own to load up the bases and force Magnifico out of the game.

    His replacement, Steven Okert, couldn’t hold the Frogs, walking Coats and giving up a double play groundout to Jantzen Witte that tied the game at 3-3.

    TCU needed some help in the ninth.

    Rivera reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second base on a throwing error, setting up Odell, who lined a base hit to leftfield to win the game.

    TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said Odell's performance Tuesday night was just a glimpse of what the Frogs had expected after signing the Canyon native.

    "For whatever different reasons, whether it be off-the-field issues in the fall or things in the spring, he hasn’t really gotten to show who he is," Schlossnagle said. "I think he’s got a chance to be an elite player for us and you obviously saw two really good swings. One against a righty throwing 100 and one against a lefty throwing 93.”

    The Frogs’ offensive outburst in the final two frames was a change of pace to the game’s first seven innings when the TCU bats were held to just four hits and one run, an RBI double from Witte in the first inning.

    Oklahoma starter Dillon Overton kept the Frogs in check, throwing six innings and giving up just one run on four hits. Overton, a sophomore lefty who kept it between 90 and 92 miles an hour, struck out seven TCU batters.

    “[Overton] is as good of a lefty that’s rolled on our mound in a while," TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "That guy’s going to pitch in the big leagues for a long time.”

    Overton out-pitched Preston Morrison, the Frogs’ starter, who before Tuesday had the 10th-lowest ERA in the country (1.34). Morrison threw four innings and gave up three runs.

    Brandon Finnegan, who threw two scoreless innings in relief of Morrison Tuesday night, was originally scheduled to start, but was scratched after Morrison texted Schlossnagle on Sunday night asking to pitch, the coach said. Morrison will still be available to start this Sunday, Schlossnagle said. 

    The win was TCU's fourth straight after sweeping Manhattan over the weekend. More importantly, though, the Frogs' offense showed it can perform against a high level of pitching, something it hasn't done at times this season, Schlossnagle said. 

    “For us, we haven’t swung the bat all that great, I thought we put together competitive at-bats from the middle of the game on," Schlossnagle said. “We absorbed body blows all night and kept coming back."

    The Frogs (27-15) will be back in action Friday against New Mexico (26-19) at home.