OKLAHOMA CITY – The No. 23 and three-seed University of Oklahoma baseball team lost, 9-4, to two-seed and No. 6 TCU in an elimination game at the Big 12 Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Thursday afternoon. The Sooners look toward the NCAA selection show, which will take place Monday at 11 a.m., with an overall record of 34-22, while the Horned Frogs move on to play Friday in OKC at 40-15
Oklahoma posted four runs in the ninth, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Horned Frog lead. TCU starter Jared Janczak (8-0) kept OU off balance from the jump, throwing 5.0 innings of three-hit shutout baseball. The All-Big 12 First Team member struck out eight and walked just one before giving way to Charles King who went 3.0 innings, giving up just one hit. Jake Irvin (Bloomington, Minn.) (6-2) got the start and the loss for OU, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up four Horned Frog runs.
TCU opened the scoring with three runs in the second inning. The Horned Frogs strung together two singles and two walks to plate their first run. The Sooners then got a scare when leadoff man Austen Wade drilled a liner off the lower leg of Irvin. Irvin stayed in the game, but that infield single plated a second run and left the bases loaded with just one out. OU's starter walked in a run on the next batter but managed to induce a grounder from Big 12 Co-Player of the Year Evan Skoug that resulted in an inning-ending 2-3-2 double play. Irvin went on to coax a second inning-ending double play from Skoug in the fifth.
Oklahoma came within inches of cutting into the lead in the fourth when senior Austin O'Brien (Owasso, Okla.) flied a ball to deep left field. O'Brien's would-be home run was brought back into play by a spectacular leaping grab from TCU left fielder Josh Watson and the Sooners went quietly through the remainder of the inning. OU threatened again in the fifth inning, stringing together back-to-back two-out hits from Kyle Mendenhall (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Brandon Zaragoza (Moore, Okla.), but again failed to push across any runs.
The lead grew to 4-0 in the sixth with some Horned Frog small ball. Second baseman Cam Warner led off with a single and was then pushed to second by a sacrifice bunt from centerfielder Nolan Brown. A single from third baseman Elliott Barzilli moved Warner to third where he would then score on a wild pitch from Sooner reliever Connor Berry (Sugar Land, Texas).
In the seventh Skoug pounded a one-out double into the right center gap to plate leadoff man Austen from second and stretch the TCU lead to 5-0. Skoug came in to score when a throwing error from OU's Zaragoza allowed Brown to reach safely. Brown then swiped second and came in to score on an RBI single from Barzilli to make it 7-0 TCU after seven.
Three walks in the eighth set the table for a two-RBI single from Warner that capped the damage for TCU.
The Sooners' runs all came in the ninth. TCU reliever Austin Boyles gave up a leadoff double to Blake Brewster (Moore, Okla.) then walked the bases full to set up an RBI single from Mendenhall. Jake Eissler entered for TCU and on his first pitch, Zaragoza singled to right center to plate two more Sooners. An RBI walk from Thomas Hughes (Norman, Okla.) chased Eissler and put Oklahoma within five with the bases loaded and one out. TCU closer Durbin Feltman came on and got two quick outs to earn the five-run save.