The Horned Frogs dropped game two of the Fort Worth Super Regional 2-1 to the Aggies on Sunday. The Aggies forced a third game in the series after a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th inning gave them the walk-off win. The winner of Monday’s game will advance to the College World Series.
In front of a record crowd of 7,383 people in his final appearance at Lupton Stadium, Morrison gave the Frogs all they could ask for and more. The righty went 9 1/3 innings and gave up just two runs on seven hits and two walks.
“It was a lot of fun to pitch in that game,” Morrison said. “I could’ve kept going, just being a competitor like that. I didn’t know my pitch count or anything like that.”
Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said it was difficult taking out the senior. Morrison owns the single-season school record for innings pitched with 122.1, ranks second all-time in wins with 36 and owns the career records for innings pitched with 462.1 and games started with 60.
“I would’ve rather taken him out up 8-1,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s been an unbelievable career [for Morrison]. Best pitcher in the history of this school.”
Riley Ferrell took over for Morrison with runners on the corners and one out in the 10th. The hard-throwing righty badly needed a strikeout to preserve the 1-1 tie, but Aggie shortstop Blake Allemand poked a sacrifice fly to left field to win the game for A&M.
“That’s a tough situation,” Schlossnagle said. “Blake did what a great senior does.”
The Frogs could not figure out Aggie starting pitcher Matt Kent all day. The lefty gave up no runs on six hits and two walks in 7 2/3 innings of work. Second baseman Garrett Crain managed the only extra-base hit off Kent: a 1-out double in the eighth that was erased on two groundouts.
“He was doing well with his offspeed [pitches], keeping us off balance,” Crain said. “He doesn’t throw as hard as other guys do, so he has to spot up really well. He did that today.”
The Aggies broke the 0-0 deadlock in the sixth inning. Left fielder Logan Taylor laced a Morrison slider just past the dive of TCU left fielder Dane Steinhagen for a 2-out RBI double. Taylor’s 50 RBIs coming into the game lead the Aggie squad.
“It sucks that that was the pitch that ended up scoring the run,” Morrison said.
The Frogs, who were the visiting team in the game, were able to mount a threat on Kent in the eighth, but A&M head coach Rob Childress brought in right-hander Ryan Hendrix to shut it down.
The Frogs finally answered in the ninth. Two singles and a sacrifice bunt put runners in scoring position for shortstop Keaton Jones with one out. Jones came through with a sacrifice fly to center field to score designated hitter Connor Wanhanen from third, but the tie was all the Frogs would get.
“I felt like our best chance to win the game was to get that extra run in the ninth inning,” Schlossnagle said.
Schlossnagle said he had not decided on a starting pitcher for Monday’s game, but it would “probably” be Alex Young. The junior gave up four runs in four innings during last Monday’s comeback against NC State.
“We’re ready to go,” Crain said. “We have so much confidence in our pitchers.”
First pitch in Monday’s third and final game of the super regional is set for 7 p.m. at Lupton Stadium. But it will be hard to match the record crowd at the ballpark on Sunday.
“It was fun to play in front of all those people,” Morrison said.