TCU made it a clean sweep, winning four games in five days with nary a loss, and ended Oklahoma State’s hope for a championship double-double with a 7-1 victory Sunday that earned the Horned Frogs’ their first Big 12 Baseball Championship.
It was TCU’s first Big 12 championship, but the team’s seventh under head coach Jim Schlossnagle. And for the 13th time in 18 seasons,tThe Big 12 regular-season champion and top-seed in the postseason tournament has not gone on to win the conference postseason tournament.
Freshman left-handed starter Tyler Alexander went the distance and allowed Oklahoma State one run on just four hits in logging his ninth win of the season. Alexander faced the minimum in six of the nine innings, and the Cowboys managed just six base runners the entire game.
At one point this season, Alexander was pulled from the starting rotation, but he worked his way back into a starting role and has helped the Horned Frogs put together the league’s best pitching staff.
“It was phenomenal what he did,” Schlossnagle said. “He commanded all (of his) pitches, but he has done that ever since we put him back in the rotation.”
“I like pitching in the limelight. I like when it’s a big game,” Alexander said in the postgame press briefing
Oklahoma State starter Michael Freeman issued three one-out walks in the fourth, and TCU right-fielder Dylan Fitzgerald made him pay, stroking a two-run single that broke up a 1-1 tie and put the Horned Frogs out in front for good. TCU scored twice more in the fourth and added insurance runs in the fifth and eighth to close out the scoring.
The Cowboys were playing their third game in a 24-hour period and sixth game in five days. They had to win two games from fifth-seeded Texas on Saturday just to make it to the championship game on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Sunday’s championship matchup was just the fourth time that the top two seeds have met in the tournament title game. Both teams have been awarded regional sites in the NCAA Baseball Championship, which gets underway later this week.
TCU dominated the Big 12 Baseball Championship All-Tournament Team, with six Horned Frogs’ players named to the team: second baseman Garret Crain, outfielder Cody Jones, designated hitter Jerrick Suiter, who also was the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, and pitchers Alexander, Jordan Kipper and Preston Morrison.
Three Oklahoma State players were selected to the All-Tournament Team: catcher Bryan Case, first baseman Tanner Krietemeier and shortstop Donnie Walton.