Frogs Show Poise Down Stretch in 6-5 Win
June 9, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Talk about poise under pressure.
In the biggest game of the 2014 season, the TCU Horned Frogs showed their mettle in coming from behind Monday to beat Pepperdine, 6-5, in Game 3 of the Fort Worth Super Regional to earn their second bid to the College World Series in five seasons.
The Frogs trailed the West Coast Conference Waves by a run heading into the top of the ninth.
"It (our demeanor) almost didn't change," said TCU first baseman Kevin Cron, who homered earlier in the contest. "We were fired up all day long. That's kind of been the story of our season. Everybody knows what their job is. Someone finds a way to get it done when it matters. We always give ourselves the best chance to win. We have been executing at a high level and it's been paying off."
TCU's Garrett Crain led off the inning and took Pepperdine closer Eric Karch to a full-court before driving the ball up the middle for a base hit.
Jerrick Suiter, who got down in the count 0-2, delivered an infield hit to set the table for Dylan Fitzgerald, who, in the seventh pitch of the at-bat, tied the score with a double down the right-field line.
"That's our whole offensive mentality. We just try to find a way to put the ball in play and battle and spoil a good pitch and wait until we can get one we can handle," TCU catcher Kyle Bacak said.
With one out and runners on second and third, Bacak produced the game-winning suicide squeeze on a 1-0 pitch.
"I told our pitching coach to go out there (to the mound) and talk about that," Pepperdine head baseball coach Steve Rodriguez said. "I just didn't know when it was going to be. I told them they are joining to squeeze this thing in. He laid it down perfectly."
The bunt, which went up the third-base line, scored Suiter.
"Coming up to the plate I really wasn't thinking about it," Bacak said. "I was just ready to hit and then after he threw a slider for a ball on the first pitch I was pretty sure he was going to throw it again and I got the squeeze sign. He threw a slider and I got it down."
"We bring our closer in and I know they don't have a lot of power so they are going to have to get some hits in order to beat us and they were able to do it. They beat us with our best guy," Rodriguez said.
TCU closer Riley Ferrell, who the entered the game in the eighth, pitched a scoreless ninth to improve his record to 2-1, but it came with a little drama.
The Waves led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and the runner moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and then to third on a ground out.
Ferrell fanned Byran Langlios with a 97-mph heater to end the game.
"When I got that first strike I knew it was going to be over," Ferrell said. "I knew it was going to get the guy out."
The Frogs open the CWS Sunday at 2 p.m. with Big 12 foe Texas Tech.