The ‘Go-Go’ Frogs stole four more bases Friday night, but it was a hot night from TCU’s pitchers that ultimately earned them a 2-1 extra innings walk-off win over Siena in the opening round of the Fort Worth Regional.
“The key to the game was how we played defense,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We had to make a bunch of plays.”
“Close games are the funnest ones to pitch in,” Finnegan said. “Had bad luck but we got the win. That’s all that matters.”
After 11 innings and nearly four hours of limited scoring and tense action, sophomore Boomer White got Cody Jones across home plate to keep his team in the winners bracket.
“I wasn’t gonna get beat by another fast ball,” White said.
White finished the game with three hits, a run and drove home the game-winning RBI in his six at-bats.
“You don’t wanna play with fear to lose,” White said. “In a way, we can use [this] to fuel us more.”
White also gave the Frogs their first hit of the game with two outs in the first, mustering a deep double in left field. Cron then drilled a hard single past second base, which allowed White to score.
Cron stole second on the ensuing at-bat, but Garrett Crain struck out and the Frogs led 1-0 at the end of the first.
TCU wouldn’t score again until the end of the game.
“Both starting pitchers did a great job,” Siena head coach Tony Rossi said. “It was a tough way to lose, but we’ve been in games like this all year long.”
Keaton Jones and Kyle Bacak were stranded at first and second base in the bottom of second.
To start off the bottom of the third, Odell grounded into the hands of Siena’s Vincent Citro but Matt Gage missed the ball on the ensuing throw, giving Odell the single.
White then popped up a single to the middle of center field before Cron hit a ball straight into the hands of Siena’s Mike Allen. Once again, the Saints missed the critical throw though, giving the Frogs loaded bases with no outs.
Crain then struck out and Jerrick Suiter was up to bat with the bases loaded. The Big 12 Championship’s MVP lined out to third base though, allowing Siena to register a double play, which promptly ended the inning.
Keaton Jones made it all the way to third base in the bottom of the fourth off a wild pitch and balk.
Cody Jones was later walked and managed to steal second with two outs in the inning. Jones, who had two steals in the game, has a team-high 27 this season.
Odell popped one up to the shortstop on the ensuing at-bat to strand both runners at second and third.
Through the first four innings, TCU left seven batters on base with six in scoring position.
Finnegan allowed his first hit of the game to Siena’s John Rooney but kept Rooney stranded at second with two more strikeouts. Finnegan finished the game with 11 strikeouts.
In the top of the sixth, Saints catcher Dave Hoffman led off with a double, but Finnegan responded by retiring three straight to keep Siena off the board.
By the eighth inning, the Frogs still led 1-0, but weren’t mustering much of anything on offense. Siena’s Matt Gage retired eight straight Frog batters.
Ortiz singled through the right side before Hoffman hit a triple to bring him home, tying the game at 1-1. Ferrell then came in as Finnegan’s relief pitcher.
Hoffman, a native of Niskayuna, N.Y., finished the game with a double, a triple and an RBI.
Ferrell struck out the ensuing batter before Keaton Jones made an impressive play in the infield to end the inning at 1-1.
“That’s just been him his entire career,” Schlossnagle said.
“I got a text from a guy from Tulane who said, ‘When did Derek Jeter transfer to TCU?’ I don’t know if he’s that but he’s certainly as good a defensive shortstop as I’ve coached. His value is shown today.”
After Cron flied out to center field in the bottom of the eighth, Crain surprised Gage with a bunt to reach first. Crain would later steal second to give the Frogs their third of the night.
Suiter then singled right past Siena’s shortstop to put runners on the corners with one out in the inning. Unfortunately for TCU, Fitzgerald grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to keep his team off the board.
Coming into Friday night’s matchup, the Saints ranked sixth in the nation in turning doubles.
Siena opened the ninth inning with their fifth hit of the game. Ferrell bounced back once again by striking out two straight Saints batters. Ferrell struck out six in the win.
Brian Fay then grounded into Crain’s glove and TCU had a chance to dash the dreams of the upset-minded Saints.
To start off the bottom of the ninth, Keaton Jones hit one straight to Martis, but Siena’s shortstop missed the throw to first base. Jones reached first base twice off errors.
Bacak then completed a sacrifice bunt to move Jones into scoring position at second base.
Once again, TCU couldn’t get its runner across home plate as Cody Jones and Derek Odell were retired on ensuing at-bats to put the game in extra innings.
By the 10th inning, TCU was 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position, but had struck out a combined 15 batters. The Frogs finished with a total of 17 strikeouts, which is a season-high.
Ferrell struck out two more in the top of the 10th after a fly out right field. Once again, TCU had a chance to put Siena away.
There was still plenty of baseball left to play.
Matt Quintana came in to relieve Gage and White hit one straight into his glove to kick off the bottom of the 10th. Gage allowed only one run on six hits and 129 pitches.
“Cannot compliment Siena enough for their performance,” Schlossnagle said. “Matt Gage is for real.”
Quintana later hit Cron with a pitch to put the big man at first, but Crain struck out looking to give the Saints’ their second out.
Suiter was later walked to, once again, put the Frogs in scoring position. Fitzgerald then put himself in a 0-2 hole early in the ensuing at-bat.
The senior from Santa Ana, Calif., ultimately struck out to end the inning. He was 0-for-5 on at-bats Friday night.
Redshirt junior Trey Teakell pitched in relief of Ferrell to start the 11th inning.
Teakell retired Martis on the first at-bat of the inning, but Citro then hit a chopper to Keaton Jones.
Allen mustered up a sacrifice hit to move Citro to second before Esquerra grounded out to give the Frogs another chance at winning the game.
After a pair of quick outs, Cody Jones was walked. He then stole second to get in scoring position.
Quintana later walked Derek Odell off a 3-2 count, giving White the opportunity to put the game away.
Boomer White has two hits and a run on five at-bats. If anyone can end this game, it’s him. #TCU
— Jordan Ray (@JRaySports) May 31, 2014
White did just that.
With a 2-2 count and two outs in the inning, White drilled one up the middle to score Jones and give his team the win at 10:23 p.m.
“The crowd got pretty loud pretty quick,” White said. “It was cool.”
With the win, TCU will face Sam Houston State tomorrow night in a battle of Friday’s winners. Preston Morrison will get the start for the Frogs.
“Bottom line, we’re 1 and 0,” Schlossnagle said. “They don’t give style points for wins.”
The Saints will fight to keep their season alive against Dallas Baptist at 2:30 p.m.
“We’ll be okay,” Rossi said. “We’ve been here before.”