Data shows Frogs’ comeback was virtually impossible

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    Just how unpredictable was TCU’s miraculous comeback against North Carolina State on Monday? Well, if you like statistics: very, very unlikely.  
     
    Down seven runs in the bottom of the eighth, the Horned Frogs needed more than a few gifts to have a chance of advancing to next weekend’s Super Regional tournament. They got a few: six unearned runs on three errors, four walks, a balk and just two hits.
     
    The Frogs then tied the game in the ninth and won it in the 10th.
     
    If you like graphs, here’s one for you. When the bottom of the eighth started, the Frogs’ win expectancy (a team’s probability of winning a game based on certain factors and game situations) was virtually zero. Check out what happens throughout the rest of the game.
     
    Even after the Frogs scored six runs in the eighth, there was still only about a 15 percent chance that they would win the game, according to the data. After the Frogs tied it up to head to extra innings, TCU’s win probability spiked to more than 50 percent.  
     
    The NC State pitching staff has struggled with putting runners on all year – Wolfpack pitchers walked 274 batters in 534.1 innings – but it was still hard to foresee the colossal collapse that ensued in the late innings. It was about as unpredictable as a 2-out, 2-run homer off Riley Ferrell.
     
    As great as the data is, the graphing system doesn’t consider context. Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said it best: the fact that this happened in a regional tournament, against an above average pitching staff, made it even more unpredictable. Things like this happen during the regular season – not in the playoffs. The system would be even better if it took into account NCAA statistics and history, but let’s just enjoy it for what it is.
    The Frogs take on Texas A&M in the Super Regional tournament at Lupton Stadium starting on Saturday.