By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
ARLINGTON — TCU fell to Oklahoma State in an elimination game Friday, 8-4. With the loss, the Frogs have been eliminated from the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament.
TCU was without coach Kirk Saarloos, who was serving the first game of a two-game suspension for lingering a bit too long on the field after being ejected from TCU’s 5-3 to Texas on Thursday. Associate head coach Bill Mosiello served as coach Friday.
Saarloos will serve the second game of his suspension during TCU’s opening game in the NCAA Tournament, whenever and wherever that takes place.
“It’s not a big deal, no one even talked about him missing,” Mosiello said. “We just do what we do. Certain coaches have their responsibilities, so nothing really changes. We just miss him because we love having him around.”
The Frogs might have lost more than just a game Friday, though. TCU was on the cusp of being named a regional host for the NCAA Tournament, projected to be the 13-seed by D1 Baseball. With the loss, TCU’s resume might not be strong enough to justify being a regional host. If they don’t host, the Frogs will likely be the No. 2 seed in the College Station region.
That being said, the Big 12 is the third-best conference in the country when it comes to RPI, and the fact that TCU was the regular-season champion goes a long way to building a case.
Mosiello spoke after the game about how he believes TCU has done enough to host.
“To me, how are you not the host? Third-best RPI league, most years it’s two,” Mosiello said. “We win it outright. We should be a host. But it’s not for me to say.”
TCU scored twice in the first to jump on top of Oklahoma State. Elijah Nunez singled to lead off the inning and moved to third on a double from Brayden Taylor. Nunez then came around to score when Kurtis Byrne grounded out to second base. Taylor scored moments on a Bobby Goodloe single to right field.
The Frogs added another run in the second on a two-out rally. Garrison Berkley walked, stole second base and scored on a single to center field by Nunez.
Riley Cornelio struggled to get outs in his abbreviated outing. He was pulled in the third inning in the midst of a four-run inning for the Cowboys. Cornelio gave way to Caleb Bolden, who allowed Oklahoma State to push across the final two runs of the inning.
TCU tied things up in the third when Goodloe drove in his second run of the day with a double into left field.
The game remained knotted at four until the fifth inning, when Oklahoma State once again brought four runs across. All four runs were charged to Bolden. Austin Krob, Augie Mihlbauer and Luke Savage combined for 4 2/3 scoreless innings pitched for the Frogs, keeping TCU within striking distance down 8-4.
The issue, though, was TCU couldn’t muster any offense. The Frogs managed just one hit and two runners over the final six innings while striking out 10 times.
“I think in the first couple innings it was all about getting timely hits,” shortstop Tommy Sacco said. “We just weren’t putting it together in the later innings. … When you look at [Oklahoma State] they got those timely hits, so that’s all it came down to.”
TCU now awaits its fate. The NCAA selection show is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday on ESPN 2.