It was the top half of the eighth inning when TCU’s All American closer Riley Ferrell surrendered four runs, three earned, as NC State took an 8-1 lead to the bottom half of the inning.
But like Ferrell, North Carolina State’s bullpen came unraveled after several walks, balks and defensive miscues cut the Wolfpack lead to just one run.
In the ninth, NC State’s pitching woes continued. TCU tied the game when Senior Derek Odell scored on a passed ball, sending the game to extra innings. In the 10th inning Elliot Barzilli, a late game pinch-hitter, singled passed the diving second baseman Ryne Willard to bring Evan Williams home from third, giving the Frogs a 9-8 victory.
The win sends TCU (47-12) to the super regional round of the NCAA Tournament where the Frogs will host Texas A&M on Saturday.
TCU found themselves in a 4-0 hole after four innings when starting pitcher Alex Young was pulled for Trey Teakell. Young surrendered a RBI singl to shortstop Logan Ratledge in the third inning that was nearly caught by outfielder Dane Steinhagen against the wall. After a groundout scored Jake Fincher, right fielder Bubby Riley hit a towering home run to right-centerfield in the fourth inning.
A Keaton Jones RBI single cut the Frogs’ deficit to three run in the bottom half of the fourth inning, but that was all the scoring the Lupton faithful saw until that wild eighth inning changed everything.
After Ferrell surrendered four runs in the top half of the inning, TCU rallied behind a NC State meltdown on the mound.
Two hits were all the Frogs needed to score six runs in the bottom half of the frame, as NC State committed three errors. In the final three innings TCU scored on five hits, five walks, two balks, two passed balls and four NC State errors.
Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said the Wolfpack did the Frogs a couple favors in the final innings.
“There were a lot of things that were handed to us throughout the course of those innings,” he said.
Schlossnagle made sure to compliment the TCU crowd’s enthusiasm in the late innings.
“Normally the play has to inspire the crowd, but tonight the crowd inspired the players,” Schlossnagle said. “We’re very thankful.”
NC State head coach Elliot Avent said the TCU crowd may have impacted the game.
“I’d like to think it didn’t rattle my team,” Avent said. “But there were some things and some calls. Might have.”
Avent was critical of the balk calls that helped lead to the Frog’s late inning comeback.
“I did not like it all, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “He said he saw a flinch.”
Schlossnagle also expressed his confidence in Ferrell going forward.
“He’s the best pitcher to ever step on this campus in that role,” Schlossnagle said. “Nobody’s perfect. Everybody goes through slumps. Whenever we play again, if the game is on the line, you can bet Riley Ferrell will be pitching.”
Winning pitcher Brian Trieglaff said it’s tough to watch Ferrell, a teammate and roommate, struggle.
“Luckily we were able to pick him up and win a ballgame,” Trieglaff said after throwing two shutout innings in the ninth and tenth innings.
TCU will host Texas A&M beginning Saturday June 6 for super regional play. With two wins, the Frogs would advance to their second consecutive College World Series.
But for now, Barzilli and TCU will enjoy this win.
“Just to see my teammates who battled out the whole game … It was just a great feeling,” he said.