The Frogs were coming off a weekend where they went 1-2 in the 2014 Houston College Classic. The Patriots, on the other hand, came into the game riding a four-game winning streak.
The game’s run-time of 5 hours and 29 minutes shattered the previous school record of 4 hours and 44 minutes, which was set at the same time as the record for longest game in terms of innings played. That 15 2/3 inning contest occurred in April 2013 against Baylor.
Junior pitcher Jordan Kipper (1-1) turned in five innings of three-run ball in his third start for the Frogs (8-4, 0-0 Big 12). The TCU bullpen gave up just one unearned run in 10 total innings of work.
Kipper gave up a lead-off single in the first, but he induced a 6-4-3 double play-grounder and another groundout after that to get out of the jam.
The Frogs threatened early in the bottom half of the first.
Junior center-fielder Cody Jones led-off by working a walk after falling behind 0-2 to DBU’s Jay Calhoun (0-0). Jones then stole his 10th bag of the season, and senior outfielder Dylan Fitzgerald followed by getting hit by a pitch to put two men on for sophomore outfielder Boomer White.
But the Frogs wouldn’t capitalize. White lined one right at DBU second-baseman Camden Duzenack, who then flipped it to shortstop Trevin Sonnier for a double play. Fitzgerald was then caught stealing to end the inning.
TCU took the lead in the bottom of the third when Calhoun began the inning by walking junior second baseman Connor Castellano and junior shortstop Keaton Jones.
Senior catcher Kyle Bacak laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, but Cody Jones struck out swinging the next at-bat. DBU then changed pitchers, bringing in left-hander Sean Stutzman.
With two outs, Stutzman threw his first pitch past catcher KJ Alexander, allowing Castellano to score. Fitzgerald then grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Kipper found himself in a bases-loaded, one-out jam after giving up two singles and a walk. However, he induced a popup from the six-hole hitter Alexander and a groundout from third baseman Nash Knight to end the frame.
TCU would score again in the bottom of the fourth. With runners at second and third and one out, junior designated hitter Jerrick Suiter left the game after apparently sustaining an injury during a swing.
Freshman Walker Pennington replaced Suiter in the at-bat, inheriting a 3-2 count, and chopped a ball over the pitcher Stutzman’s head to score White from third. Castellano then grounded out to end the threat.
The Frogs scored an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 3-0. With runners on first and second, Cody Jones laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the catcher Alexander bobbled the ball and couldn’t make a play.
After a Fitzgerald strikeout, White hit a deep sacrifice-fly to left to score Keaton Jones but the Frogs’ lead wouldn’t last long.
In the top of the sixth, DBU led off with a single from first-baseman Mike Wesolowski. Center fielder Austin Listi followed that up by driving a 3-2 pitch over the left-field fence for a 2-run home run.
A single from the next batter, Daniel Salters, ended Kipper’s night.
Redshirt junior Trey Teakell replaced Kipper, but the right-hander allowed two more DBU runs to cross the plate (both unearned, one charged to Kipper) in the inning.
After a base-hit put runners at first and third, Teakell made a throwing error to first on a pickoff play. Salters scored from third, and the runner at first, Justin Wall, advanced to third. Wall then scored on a passed ball, giving DBU a 4-3 lead.
Teakell was just the first of five TCU relievers used, a group that also included junior Travis Evans, sophomore Riley Ferrell, freshman Brian Howard and redshirt freshman Brian Trieglaff. DBU used seven relievers.
TCU had an opportunity to score in the bottom of the seventh but couldn’t put something together. Two errors by the shortstop Sonnier put Frogs at first and third with two outs, but junior Kevin Cron struck out on three pitches.
The Frogs came back to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Cody Jones drew a four-pitch walk and then stole second, his 11th swiped bag of the year and second of the game.
Fitzgerald struck out swinging for the second out, but White, who went 2-6 on the night and is now hitting .360 for the season, lined a double down the third base line to score Jones from second.
That would end up being the Frogs’ only hit with runners in scoring position all night. Their struggles from early in the game continued into extra innings.
The right-handed Ferrell came into pitch the ninth, but ended up throwing through the 12th inning. He retired the first nine hitters he faced and struck out a career-high six batters. His fastball touched 99 miles per hour.
It looked like TCU could win it in the bottom of the 13th. But with the bases loaded and no outs, DBU right-hander Cory Taylor induced an infield fly from Fitzgerald and a 4-6-3 double-play from White to end the inning.
Finally, in the bottom of the 15th, TCU caught a break. Bacak reached first when the shortstop Sonnier booted a groundball. Cody Jones and Fitzgerald then struck out and grounded out, but a throwing error by the third-basemen Knight allowed Bacak to score.
Coincidentally, Bacak also drove in the winning run in last year’s 14 2/3 inning-game against Baylor.
By the end of the night (12:04 a.m.), TCU had left 16 runners on base, a stat that is becoming an issue for the Frogs. In their three games in Houston last weekend, the Frogs left a total of 28 runners on base.
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle acknowledged that scoring is an issue but believes that the issue will resolve itself.
“I have full confidence in our coaching staff,” Schlossnagle told the Fort Worth-Star Telegram. “My belief is that it will eventually happen.”
The Frogs are set to play 11 of their next 13 games at home. They’ll open a three-game series against Michigan State on Friday at 6:30 p.m. from Lupton Stadium.