TCU Triumphs Over Oklahoma 4-3 in 11-Inning Thriller
March 25, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas - Jared Lundeen's (Fountain Hills, Ariz./Burnsville) 11th-inning single was misplayed by Oklahoma center fielder Reggie Willits, allowing TCU's Justin Hatcher (Fort Worth, Texas/Brewer) to score from first base to give the Horned Frogs a 4-3 comeback victory over the Sooners Tuesday evening at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field. By earning the win in its longest game since Feb. 8, 2000, TCU (17-11, 5-1 C-USA) stretched its winning streak to four games.
Hatcher got the 11th-inning rally started for the Frogs with a one-out single up the middle of Oklahoma reliever Jarod McAuliff (1-2). Lundeen, making his first plate appearance since Feb. 9 due to a broken hand, followed by roping an 0-1 pitch into center field. Charging in on the line drive, Willits misplayed the hop and the ball went all the way to the fence and Hatcher easily beat the throw to end the game.
The contest would not have even gone to extra frames if not for the ninth-inning heroics of Hatcher and first baseman Chris Neuman (Fort Worth, Texas/Western Hills). Trailing 3-2 with one out in the ninth, Hatcher began the TCU comeback with a double to right field. A batter later, Neuman singled up the middle, scoring Hatcher from second to knot the game at 3-3. The RBI was Neuman's 10th in four games and his 24th of the season.
Despite the late-inning fireworks at the plate, the story of the game were both team's pitching staffs, highlighted by the performance of the TCU bullpen. Five Horned Frog relievers combined to pitch five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and walking one to give the Frogs the opportunity to make the late rally.
Ryan Grafe (Austin, Texas/Lanier), who gave up eight runs in just two-thirds of an inning versus OU on March 4, earned the victory by striking out two Sooners a scoreless inning of work.
Offensively, Hatcher and Terry Trofholz (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) were the only Frogs to register multi-hit efforts against Oklahoma pitching. Hatcher went 2-for-5 and scored the tying and winning runs, while Trofholz went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The loss was the seventh-straight for Oklahoma, as the Sooners dropped to 11-10 on the season.
The 11 innings of play marked TCU's longest game since they fell to UT-Arlington 3-2 in 11 frames on Feb. 8, 2000. The last time the Frogs had won a game that went 11-plus innings was on April 7, 1999 when they recorded a 10-8 victory over UTA.
TCU will look to extend its winning streak to a season high-tying five games when it begins a critical three-game C-USA series versus Houston on Friday evening. First pitch for the Dedication Game of Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field begins at 6:30 p.m.