The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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TCU uses ninth inning rally to spark 11-10 comeback victory over A&M in 15-inning thriller


HOUSTON – At times it seemed certain each team would lose, yet somehow, some way, Texas A&M and TCU found ways to keep the game going when it was at its closest to ending.
But the near-six hour thriller ended when Ryan Merrill mashed a double into the gap in right centerfield to bring home Nolan Brown from second, giving the No. 15 Aggies (9-1) a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to the No. 1 Horned Frogs (9-1) in 15 innings.
The chess match – over.
Checkmate purple, again.
“What do you say between the games we’ve had with those guys over the course of time,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said about the marathon match. “It’s a classic game in a classic tournament… Anytime these two teams get together, pretty sure it’s got a chance to be a zoo. That’s what happened.”
TCU reliever Sean Wymer was flawless during the extra frames, tossing five perfect innings after entering in the tenth, fanning nine of 15 batters he faced.
“He’s kind of been a pick to click for us,” Schlossnagle added about Wymer’s phenomenal relief performance. “We’ve kind of seen him in a set up-type role. Wymer was outstanding.”
In total, the A&M hitters were 0-for-18 in six extra innings, striking out 10 times and only had one base runner in that span when Jorge Gutierrez reached first a two-out walk in the 15th, but was stranded after Austin Homan struck out for the fifth time of the night on the next at-bat.
“We started getting away from our approach,” A&M first baseman Joel Davis, who went 2-for-6, said. “We tried to play hero ball instead of just staying with our approach that got us the 10 runs in the first place.”
Kaylor Chafin was phenomenal as well in relief for A&M, but was charged with the loss after being pulled following Brown’s lead-off single in the bottom of the 15th. Nonetheless, Chafin was superb for the Aggies, tossing 6.1 innings on two days’ rest, striking out seven and got A&M out of two dooming situations.
“He couldn’t have been any better,” A&M head coach Rob Childress said. “He went for us Wednesday in the start, came back tonight and went 83 pitches. He’s had an amazing week for us.”
Just when it appeared the Aggies had the game in hand up 10-5 heading to the bottom of the ninth, the Frogs had other plans. TCU induced five walks to begin the frame, as one run was walked in, and the Frogs scored another on a wild pitch by Kyle Richardson, who slipped during his release. Austin Ingraham plated another run two batters later to cut the Aggies’ lead to two. Elliott Barzilli then lined a two-out grounder at George Janca, but the third baseman saw the ball go beneath his glove and into left field, scoring two to tie the game at 10.
Chafin – the third pitcher of the inning for A&M – forced all three outs, striking out a trio of hitters to send the game to extras. Chafin fanned Evan Skoug looking to end TCU’s attack, and the Frogs’ winning run was stranded at third.
A&M added what appeared to be key insurance in the top of the ninth, as Hunter Coleman laced a liner all the way to the right field corner for a two-RBI double that scored Braden Shewmake and Walker Pennington.
Coleman was just 2-for-7 at the plate on the evening, but drove in four critical runs. Coleman’s double in the ninth may have actually hurt A&M, as Childress elected to pull Corbin Martin after 1.1 solid innings in favor of Cason Sherrod, who walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases for TCU in the ninth before being pulled.
“Hunter Coleman hits a double and extends the lead out of a save situation,” Childress said. “Probably should have left [Corbin] in the game. I had already told him to decompress and we were going to go to Sherrod in the save situation, we extend the lead with two outs. Corbin’s decompressed mentally cause I told him he’s out of the game… You always second guess yourself as a coach at the end of the night when things don’t work out.”
TCU had a chance to win the game in the 12th after loading the bases with no outs, but A&M held a miraculous defensive stand, with Nick Choruby coming from centerfield to be a fifth infielder for the first out, followed by Chafin striking out rown and forcing Cam Warner to fly out to left to end the inning – keeping the game alive for A&M.
“We put in that play during practice, had Choruby come in and take ground balls,” Davis said about the Aggies’ fielding shift. “Does it happen every time like that? No, but to have that work like that, it definitely gives us a lot of charisma.”
The Aggies wasted no time establishing a lead, etching five runs in the top of the first. The outburst began on a throwing error as Evan Skoug tried to pick-off a leaning Logan Foster at first, but short-armed the throw which went between the legs of Luken Baker and into right field foul ground, scoring Choruby from second base.
Walker Pennington followed two batters later with a three-run homer that snuck over the elevated left field fence and into the Crawford Boxes. Homan brought in Blake Kopetsky from second in the nine-hole after lining one back at Kodolo.
The freshman southpaw’s night was over after facing Homan having faced the entire A&M order and threw a whopping 40 pitches.
TCU cut into A&M’s early lead in the bottom half of the first, as Baker lined one over first down the right field line to score Skoug from second.
Baker appeared to have a good chance of cutting into the lead even more in the third with runners on first and second and one out. A&M’s starter Stephen Kolek rang up the super slugger swinging on the pay-off pitch, however, and catcher Coleman gunned down Austen Wade trying to steal third to end the inning – ending any momentum building for TCU.
A&M put up another crooked number in the fifth as Braden Shewmake led-off with a standup triple that rolled to the right field corner. Davis brought him home on the next at-bat after smoking a ground ball that hopped over the second baseman Warner who was playing up in the grass. Coleman plated Davis from third three batters later on an infield single hit deep into the hole at short.
The Frogs chipped away at the Aggies’ lead in the sixth, putting up a two spot in the frame. Warner hit a slow chopper back at A&M reliever John Doxakis towards third, but the left-hander was unable to spin around in time and make a throw home which allowed Baker to score from third. Warner came around two batters later and scored on a passed ball.
The Aggies posted one run in the following frame, however. Coleman brought home Davis from third for the second time on the night after grounding into a hard-hit fielder’s choice to second.
The Frogs retaliated in the bottom half of the seventh, though, on a giant error. Brown hit a routine grounder into left field, but the ball went straight under Pennington’s glove and rolled all the way to the wall, scoring two.
A&M returns to action tomorrow afternoon when they wrap up play in Houston against Baylor (10-1). First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. and the game will be aired on FS2.

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