Game 1 between No. 3 TCU and No. 6 Texas didn’t disappoint.
The crowd was into the game from start to finish. Both teams had their moments. It came down to the final pitch. There’s not much else you could ask for in a matchup against the Big 12’s top baseball teams.
Well, unless you’re TCU as it was on the losing end of a 5-4 game at Lupton Stadium.
“It was a good ballgame,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We just unfortunately came out on the wrong end of it. That’s two heavyweight teams, two heavyweight programs. We’ll get back at it tomorrow.
“The atmosphere was amazing. The fans were awesome. They were into every pitch. They were the highlight of the night for sure for our program.”
TCU (33-11, 15-4 Big 12) dropped to 3-4 in one-run games. The Frogs can still clinch a share of the Big 12 regular-season title by winning the next two games. Texas, meanwhile, improved to 37-11, 14-5.
The star of the game for Texas was center fielder Mike Antico. He hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning, and also made a run-saving catch to end the seventh inning.
In the seventh, TCU tied the game at 4-4 on a two-out single by Hunter Wolfe. The Frogs were threatening when Wolfe moved into scoring position after Luke Boyers reached on a hit by pitch. Frogs shortstop Tommy Sacco then roped what appeared to be an extra-base hit into the gap only to see Antico snag it with a diving catch to end the inning.
With two outs in the eighth, Antico launched a solo home run over the right-center field fence off TCU reliever Drew Hill. That proved to be the difference in the game.
TCU got the potential game-tying run into scoring position with less than two outs in the eighth and ninth innings, but didn’t capitalize. Texas reliever Tanner Witt pitched out of a jam in the eighth, while Aaron Nixon shut down the ninth after TCU had two batters reach.
TCU left 11 runners on base.
“They got one more swing than we did,” Schlossnagle said. “We didn’t put the ball in play, but they have good pitchers. Nixon and Witt are really good. They’ve got high-end stuff, swing-and-miss stuff, so it’s not as easy as it looks.”
TCU starter Russell Smith allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts over four innings. Reliever Charles King allowed two runs on four hits over 1 2/3 innings, while Hill allowed one run over three innings in taking the loss. River Ridings recorded the final out for the Frogs’ pitching staff.
TCU and Texas will play the middle game of the three-game series on Saturday afternoon. First-pitch is set for 2 p.m. The Frogs will start left-hander Austin Krob against Longhorns right-hander Tristan Stevens.
TCU first baseman Gene Wood exited the game with a shoulder injury, and Schlossnagle did not sound optimistic about Wood playing this weekend.
“We’ll have to get it checked. I’d have to assume he’s out for the weekend,” Schlossnagle said. “He separated his shoulder, it went out and came back in. That’s a tough one.”
Wood had an RBI single in the first inning, his only at-bat of the night. Conner Shepherd served as his replacement.
Wood entered the game batting .280 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs.
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