Two teams who experienced an unexpected turn last night, although of very different natures, squared off this afternoon. TCU, fresh off their stunning ninth-inning comeback win over Oklahoma State; West Virginia, suffering from an unexpected beatdown at the hands of the Jayhawks.
Today was not like yesterday.
The Mountaineers drew first blood. With one out in the first, Billy Fleming stroked a double to the gap in left center; he moved to third when Jacob Rice rapped a single back through the box. A ground ball off the bat of Ryan Tuntland got away from Paul Hendrix, scoring Fleming; Ryan McBroom drove in a run on a fielder's choice right after, giving West Virginia a 2-0 lead.
Fleming was again involved in the second, when with two outs and runners on second and third he laced a single into left, doubling the lead.
Harrison Musgrave was unharmed until the bottom of the fifth inning when Keaton Jones tripled into the left-center field gap. Kyle Bacak ended an eight-pitch battle with a groundout to third, which was sufficient to score Jones with the Frogs' first run.
The Mountaineers responded to that with alacrity, teeing off in the sixth. Taylor Munden reached on an error by TCU third baseman Jantzen Witte, and when Billy Boyd tried to bunt him over everyone was safe -- and took an extra base on an error. That was it for TCU starter Trey Teakell, who was replaced by Justin Scharf.
And then things got really bad. Fleming drew a walk to load the bases. Rice walked, pushing Munden across. Tuntland singled over second, everyone moved up a base and Boyd scored. Scharf did induce McBroom to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, but Fleming scored to make it 7-1. After walking Brady Wilson and hitting Matt Frazer with a pitch, Scharf -- apparently injured -- headed for the showers in favor of Tejay Antone, who managed to get out of the inning.
With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Hendrix jacked the first home run of the tournament into the left field bleachers. It was a solo shot, and all the Frogs would muster in the inning.
Horrid fielding let the Mountaineers load the bases with two outs in the seventh; McBroom doubled in two more runs, and another scored on the Frogs third error of the inning. TCU committed a total of nine errors on the day, and you just can't win like that.
The Frogs added a run in the bottom of the eighth, but way too little too late.
As the only team in the pool that hasn't lost yet, Kansas is now in the driver's seat in Pool Two, although we'll cover this in more detail after the nightcap later. TCU will face Kansas tomorrow night at 7:00 CT; West Virginia meets Oklahoma State in the afternoon game at 4:00.