An error in the eighth inning helped No.7 TCU to plate two runs and defeat Texas Tech 3-2 in game three of the 2014 College World Series Sunday.
Both starting pitchers tossed a gem going at least seven innings. TCU starter Preston Morrison racked up 10 strikeouts with Texas Tech starter Chris Sadberry countering with five. Each of them allowed one earned run.
TCU lead-off hitter Cody Jones plated the first and the final run of the game. Jones hit a double in the first and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Boomer White.
Neither team would cross the plate for the next six innings as pitching and defense took center stage.
Texas Tech would eventually knock Preston Morrison out of the eighth inning after Stephen Smith produced a one-out single. Zach Davis replaced Smith on the base paths and Anthony Lyons pinch-hit for Bryant Burleson as the first batter facing Riley Ferrell (W, 3-1). Lyons hit a single to left allowing Davis to make it to third. While Davis advanced to third, left fielder Boomer White bobbled the ball and Lyons ran to second.
Tyler Neslony became the next man to step up to the plate. Ferrell started Neslony out with an 0-2 count. Neslony drilled the next pitch to right field. It was deep enough to become a sacrifice fly, but right fielder Dylan Fitzgerald struggled to make the running catch at the warning track. The ball bounced off his reached out arm and then the right field wall. Davis and Lyons scored easily to give the Red Raiders a 2-1 lead. Neslony made it to third with a triple.
With one out and a runner on third, Texas Tech started searching for insurance runs. Eric Gutierrez hit a ground ball back to Ferrell.
Neslony decided to come home and found himself caught up between third base and home plate. TCU catcher Kyle Bacak applied the tag and the Horned Frogs found their way out of the inning by striking out Adam Kirsch.
Tech put the ball game in the hands of Jonny Drozd (L, 7-1) and replaced Lyons, who is an outfielder, at second base with Alec Humphreys. Keaton Jones started the TCU eighth with an infield single.
Kyle Bacak applied the sacrifice bunt to move Jones to second. Cody Jones came up to bat and hit a single up the middle Humphreys stopped the ball in order to keep Keaton Jones from advancing further, but then threw to first and the throw was off target. Keaton Jones tied the game up and Cody Jones advanced to second.
With the game tied, Drozd regrouped and forced Derek Odell to fly out to left keeping Jones at second. The next batter, Boomer White, hit an RBI single to left field allowing Jones to come in and score the go-ahead run.
Texas Tech would not go quietly though. After a Ryan Long strikeout, Tim Proudfoot hit an infield single. Devon Conley could not move him over though after popping up a bunt to Ferrell. With two outs, Hunter Redman hit a ground ball towards third base. The ball rolled under the glove of Odell and the Red Raiders stayed alive. With runners at first and second and two outs, Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock sent up Todd Ritchie to pinch-hit for Zach Davis. Ritchie started out with a 2-1 count and then hit a groundball to shortstop. Keaton Jones fielded the ball, threw to first base and clinched the victory for TCU.
TCU advances to the winner's bracket game 7 p.m. CDT Tuesday. Texas Tech will play an elimination game 2 p.m. Tuesday. Their opponents will be determined by the outcome of the Sunday nightcap featuring Ole Miss and Virginia.
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