Editor’s note: This story was revised for accuracy at 7:46 p.m. Thursday.
A top-25, I-35 showdown ended in heartbreak for the Horned Frogs on Wednesday night as they dropped a 2-1 squeaker to Baylor University in a game that came down to the last strike.
Senior pinch-hitter Hunt Woodruff had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth with a man on second and two out, but he found left fielder Adam Hornung’s glove in shallow left field to end a pitcher’s duel with the wind blowing toward home plate at Lupton Stadium.
A high Taylor Featherston throw that brought first baseman Matt Vern off the bag in the second inning proved to be the difference in the game, which saw just 11 hits between the two teams.
“We’ve played some really good teams to this point, and that was the best pitching we’ve seen across the board,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “On a typical Lupton Stadium night with the wind howling in, we had a couple balls that on a different day in a different park might have gone out of the ballpark.”
A Horned Frog offense that has averaged close to 10 runs per game this season was silenced until Matt Carpenter scored on a Logan Verrett balk in the bottom of the eighth to set up a tense ninth. Two balks were called in the game, drawing an irate Schlossnagle out of the dugout twice during the game.
Baylor starter Aaron Miller was excellent for the Bears, giving up just three hits and striking out three in five innings of shutout baseball.
TCU starter Steven Maxwell went 4 and 1/3 innings, giving up one earned run on a Hornung bloop triple to right field with two outs in the first that escaped Chris Ellington’s outstretched glove. Baylor leadoff man Brooks Pinckard scored from third on the play after bunting for a base hit, stealing second and advancing on a fly ball.
“I felt like I made most of the pitches that I threw, things just didn’t go my way,” Maxwell said. “I just really hate to lose more than anything.”
TCU loaded the bases in the bottom of the first on three straight walks with one out, but a Jason Coats strikeout and Taylor Featherston ground ball stranded all three runners.
After Baylor pushed another two-out run across the second, both teams put up zeroes until the eighth. Horned Frog relievers Trent Appleby, Kaleb Merck and Erik Miller combined for 4 2/3 innings of shutout baseball.