The opening game of the Fort Worth Regional between Dallas Baptist and the University of Oklahoma wasn’t decided until the tenth and final inning, as the Patriots upset the favored Sooners 3-2. It was clear TCU wanted no such late-inning drama in their game with Oral Roberts.
The Horned Frogs stormed out of the gate on offense early, scoring five runs in the first two innings, including four in the second inning alone. Joe Weik got the Frogs on the board with a strong single in the first, and added another RBI the following inning.
The Frogs put away the game for good in the bottom of the sixth win an additional three runs and a two run homer by Brett Johnson in the eighth. They finished with 12 hits, and went on to win by a score of 10-2. They will now face the victorious Patriots on Saturday.
The Frogs also flashed the leather on defense, highlighted by an incredible leaping catch and double play throw-out at first base by Brance Rivera which robbed an Oral Roberts player of a home run that would have made it a 5-2 game in the sixth inning.
Head coach Jim Schlosshnagle said he wanted to start true freshman Andrew Mitchell to save Matt Purke and Kyle Winkler for the following games in the regional. Mitchell did his best to prove he deserved to pitch in a big game. In his first ever postseason game, Mitchell dominated the Golden Eagles, surrendering only two hits and seven shutout innings. Equally impressive was Mitchell’s efficiency. He only needed 67 pitches to get through those seven innings.
He also had a huge game against BYU in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, and was a big reason why they were able to make it to the championship game against New Mexico.
Also impressive in the game was the smart running in general by the Frogs. It was clear the speed of TCU on the basepaths caused the Golden Eagles pitchers to think twice before delivering, for fear of stolen bases. When they saw the opportunity, runners weren’t afraid to steal or take an extra base when needed.
While it certainly was a great showing by the Frogs, it was a game a preseason No. 1 team in the country should easily win. What remains to be seen is if the Frogs can overcome a relatively disappointing regular season overall and head back to the Super Regionals for the third consecutive season.
Dallas Baptist has proven to be a tough match for the Horned Frogs. They faced the Patriots twice this season, losing on both occasions. The Patriots proved how tough an out they are after beating an Oklahoma team that blew out the Frogs earlier in the season.
While the Frogs can lose the next game and stay alive in the regional, a win will put them in great position to most likely head to Houston in the Super Regional to face Rice, if they win their regional as expected.
Hopefully, Schlossnagle will give the ball to Matt Purke on Saturday, as Kyle Winkler has been by far the Frogs most consistent pitcher this season, and will be needed in a closeout or elimination situation, depending on how Purke leads his team to victory. While we may not know yet who will pitch tomorrow, we do know that TCU did what it needed to do: win.