In a rare result in a season full of comeback victories, the No. 9 Texas Longhorns scored in the eighth and ninth innings, but sophomore right-hander Kamron Fields couldn’t get an out in the bottom of the ninth as the No. 22 TCU Horned Frogs rallied back for a walk-off victory with three runs in Fort Worth at Lupton Stadium.
In what is becoming a rather typical performance, Texas only had one extra-base hit and had to manufacture both runs as it scattered nine hits across the game against TCU ace left-hander Nick Lodolo. The big junior struck out nine, walked two, and only gave up one run.
Lodolo got some help, too, as center fielder Johnny Rizer robbed Texas sophomore designated hitter Zach Zubia of a home run in the fourth inning on a spectacular play.
A single by junior center fielder Duke Ellis got things going with one out in the eighth inning against Lodolo. Junior right fielder Austin Todd bunted for a single and freshman Eric Kennedy advanced Ellis to third on a fielder’s choice, then Ellis stole home on a double steal.
The following inning, a walk, wild pitch, groundout, and sacrifice fly from senior catcher Michael McCann gave the Longhorns a 2-0 lead with a chance to close out an important conference road game.
To that point, sophomore right-hander Bryce Elder, the best starting pitcher for Texas, had matched Lodolo pitch for pitch — he’d struck out four and only given up five hits while working around four walks.
He hit the first TCU batter to start the ninth, prompting head coach David Pierce to call for Fields from the bullpen. Fields walked the first batter he faced, then gave up two wild pitches to allow a run. Following another walk, Fields gave up two singles, with the game-winning hit coming on a popup that Kennedy took a poor angle towards and inexplicably fell in front of Kennedy and behind the infielders.
In Fort Worth, they call that #LuptonMagic.
Given how well Texas has closed out games this season, there’s no particular concern moving forward, but there is extra pressure on the other two weekend starters, Blair Henley and Coy Cobb, to out-pitch their counterparts and salvage at least one games from this series.
The Longhorns will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. Central on ESPNU.