Errored Out

Good pitching and solid defense can go a long way in tournament baseball play. WVU got a good bit of it and TCU got none in the Mountaineers' 10-3 win on Friday.

The Horned Frogs committed a stunning nine errors and saw starter Brandon Finnegan get knocked from the box in the second inning as the Mountaineers evened their record to 1-1 in Pool Two of the Big 12 Baseball Championship. The Horned Frogs fell to 1-1 after rallying to knock off Oklahoma State on Thursday.

TCU's nine miscues were a tournament game record, breaking the previous record of six. The Horned Frogs nearly equaled the entire tournament record of 11 in just one game.

If ever the term "comedy of errors" applied, it was to this game in general and the West Virginia seventh inning in particular. After the first two Mountaineers were retired in that frame, the next three WVU batters reached due to error or being hit by a pitch. After Ryan McBroom cleaned up with a two-run double, Brady Wilson also reached on an error before the carnage mercifully ended.

In all, TCU added four hit batters and three wild pitches to the conglomeration, which mercifully ended after three hours and 22 minutes. TCU also contributed six walks, four hit batters and three wild pitches to the nightmare contest.

Before the game degraded, West Virginia got off to the good start it needed, and provided starter Harrison Musgrave with a 2-0 lead before he threw his first pitch. With runners on second and third, TCU committed its first gaffe of the night on a grounder to second, which scored Bobby Fleming. Ryan McBroom then hit into a force play which scored Jacob Rice to give WVU a 2-0 lead after a half-inning of play.

Musgrave proceeded to strike out the side in the bottom of the first, and promptly got more support in the second. Fleming was again involved, singling to score Taylor Munden and Matt Frazer, giving the Mountaineers all the runs they would need.

TCU finally got to Musgrave in the fifth, scoring on a leadoff triple and a groundout, but WVU responded with three runs in both the sixth and seventh. This was when the Horned Frog errors really started to pile up, as Munden got aboard on a boot at third base, then moved to third on an error by Derek Odell on a sacrifice bunt. Fleming and Rice both walked, forcing in a run, and Tuntland followed with a single to plate another. The final run of the inning came on a double play, but the Mountaineers were clearly in control with a 7-1 lead.

TCU's Paul Hendrix got one of the runs back with a solo homer in the sixth, but WVU's three additional runs in the seventh ended any thoughts of a late Frog rally.

Musgrave was again workmanlike, going seven strong innings to get the win. He allowed two earned runs, five hits and two walks, but struck out five and didn't let the Horned Frogs string together hits for a potential big inning. Ryan Hostrander pitched the final two innings, giving up one run.

Flemint had two hits and two RBIs while scoring three times, while Rice was 2-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. McBroom maximiazed his one hit, driving in three runs on a two-RBI double and getting another on a groundout.

In order to advance to Sunday's championship game, the Mountaineers must defeat Oklahoma State and have TCU defeat Kansas on Saturday.

West Virginia closes out pool play on Saturday with a game agaisnt Oklahoma State. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m Eastern/4:00 p.m. Central.

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