OMAHA, Neb. -- TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle could've used a slightly less stressful Father's Day, but he'll take another dramatic victory, this time a 3-2 win over Texas Tech to advance to the winner's bracket in the College World Series.
As Schlossnagle waited outside the press conference room for righthanded starting pitcher Preston Morrison following his club's win over the Red Raiders, he ran his hands through his hair, saying in passing, "Boy, I wouldn't mind a 7-2 game at some point."
Unfortunately for Schlossnagle and the Horned Frogs, TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha isn't exactly conducive to big leads, or even scoring seven runs in most instances. But while Schlossnagle, players and most coaches would prefer not to play high-intensity, close contests, those type of affairs often create the best memories.
See TCU's own Road to Omaha as a perfect example. In the Fort Worth Regional against Sam Houston State, the Frogs were up against a wall on several occasions in a contest that went 22 innings. But in the end, they took care of the Bearkats in dramatic fashion and went on advance to an NCAA Super Regional a day later.
Then, heroics once again took center stage in the Fort Worth Super Regional finale against Pepperdine. The Frogs and Waves traded games, setting the stage for a dramatic series finale. Pepperdine had a 5-4 lead over the Frogs heading to the ninth inning of that contest (TCU was the visiting team), and the Waves had one of the top relievers in the country on the mound in Eric Karch.
Somehow, the Frogs just found a way to score two runs, take the lead, and let righthanded reliever Riley Ferrell do the rest in the bottom half of the inning to advance to Omaha.
Going very much by the script, the Horned Frogs found themselves in a familiar situation against Texas Tech on Sunday, a team that took two of three from them at home in Fort Worth earlier this season, even handing Morrison his worst start of the season, four runs allowed on six hits in just two innings of work.
But on this afternoon, TCU junior righthanded pitcher Preston Morrison put together yet another dominant start for the Horned Frogs, leaving the game after 7 1/3 innings and a leadoff single in the eighth inning with his club leading the Red Raiders 1-0.
Outstanding TCU righthanded reliever Riley Ferrell scuffled to begin his outing, allowing another single to put two runners on, while the big blast in the inning came via a two-RBI triple up against the right field wall by Tech's Tyler Neslony, giving the Red Raiders, suddenly, a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning.
Guess what? TCU responded in the bottom of the frame with two runs of its own, the first on a throwing error by Texas Tech's Alec Humphreys, the go-ahead run coming via an RBI single by electric outfielder Boomer White.
Texas Tech threatened in the top of the ninth inning, but Ferrell buckled down and closed things out.
"The way I can explain it [the comebacks] is every team in the College World Series is pretty resilient," Schlossnagle said. "You can't get here without having that as a characteristic as a team. Our guys, we've played in so many close games.
"I'm not telling you I'm very comfortable with it," he continued. "But these guys are. And they don't panic a bit. It's just let's put together some good at-bats and see what happens. And honestly, I try to stay out of the way because they're very comfortable playing in close games."
With the one-run win over the Red Raiders, TCU has now won five of its six NCAA postseason contests by one run. Seemingly lost in the story line was another impressive performance by sure-handed righty Preston Morrison.
Schlossnagle surprised some people the day before the CWS by announcing he was starting Morrison against the Red Raiders. Morrison's last start against the Red Raiders didn't go particularly well. But today, he was very sharp. He sat his typical low-to-mid 80s with his fastball, utilized a changeup and also showcased a curveball that sat in the 60s.
Overall, Morrison, who went undrafted in last week's Major League Baseball draft, partly because of a high price tag, struck out a season-high 10 batters, walked two and allowed just a run on five hits in 7 1/3 innings.
"The day we scored some runs on him, we really found some holes and hit the ball there," Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock said. "Today, they were well positioned, and got outs when they needed them. He wasn't particularly that sharp that day, but today, he did a really good job early ... and really, the whole time.
Schlossnagle isn't real sure if he believes in teams of destiny, but his Horned Frogs, after yet another dramatic victory, sure are giving him a reason to.
GAME AT A GLANCE
Player of the day: Preston Morrison, rhp, TCU
Turning point: With Texas Tech carrying a 2-1 lead to the bottom of the eighth inning, TCU began the frame with a single from Keaton Jones. Then, after a groundout, the Frogs brought home a run on an infield single and error by Tech second baseman Alec Humphreys. Boomer White then made Tech pay for that error with an RBI single to take a 3-2 lead. At that point, it was Riley Ferrell's turn to close things out.
Did you know? TCU has played 11 neutral site contests this season, and is now 9-2 in those games this season.