By JASON ELMQUIST
OKLAHOMA CITY — In the twilight hours of Thursday's opening round of the Big 12 Conference Championship, Texas Christian University rallied from four down — including a six-run rally in the ninth — to upset second-seeded Oklahoma State 8-4 in the early morning hours of Friday at Bricktown Ballpark.
The tournament was delayed three hours in the morning due to weather, with the opener finally starting at 12:35 p.m. — which originally made it appear as though OSU will start until close to midnight. However, the first two games were just over two hours each to help push the start time to the final game to 9:09 p.m. but the final out recorded until 12:35 a.m.
After the two teams swapped scoring threats in the first inning — and TCU coming up short of another threat in the top of the second — Oklahoma State made good on its opportunity. The Cowboys put up four runs on TCU ace Preston Morrison, who leads the Big 12 in ERA at 1.22 held OSU scoreless in 8 1/3 innings in the game earlier this year. Morrison was pulled after 3 2/3 innings — his shortest outing of the year — after giving up the most runs in a game for the TCU right hander.
An inning after setting the OSU single season record for sacrifice bunts (17), freshman second baseman Donnie Walton finally broke the scoreless tie.
The Cowboys loaded the bases with a double by Robbie Rea, a walk by Jarrett Higgins and an infield single by Saulyer Saxon — the latter two coming with two outs. As the Cowboys have gotten all year, they received a clutch two-out hit on a shot by Walton just over the leaping shortstop to plate Rea and Higgins.
Tanner Krietemeier kept the inning going by finding the gap for a two-run double to score Saxon and Walton.
After that, TCU reliever Trevor Seidenberger clamped down on Oklahoma State, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out seven. He went the final 5 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
The Horned Frogs got one of the runs back in the top half of the third thanks to an error by Hursh on a pickoff attempt to first — which allowed the runner, who had reached on single, to advance to third. A sacrifice fly to right allowed the runner to walk home.
TCU scratched another run across in the sixth off relief pitcher Jon Perrin, who started the sixth in place of Hursh who went five innings with one unearned run on four hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Perrin gave up a two-out single after giving up a single and a walk and was replaced by Vince Wheeland, who recorded the final out of the inning on a pop up and retired eight straight batters before giving up back-to-back hits and a walk.
Junior transfer Brendan McCurry came in to close out the game in the ninth after Wheeland loaded the bases with one out. McCurry gave up a bloop single to center to allow two runs across to tie the game. After a wild pitch, OSU gave an intentional walk to load the bases for the force play. The next batter was hit by a pitch to score the go-ahead run. TCU added three more runs on single through the right side of the infield and an infield single.
Seidenberger struck out the Cowboys in order in the bottom half of the ninth to clinch the huge comeback.
The OSU has work to do now in the second day of pool play. The Cowboys will take on Kansas, who beat West Virginia 7-2, at 7:30 p.m. Friday.