Matt Gage and the Saints delivered an inspiring performance Friday night
May 31, 2014
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Boomer White lined a single to center with two outs in the bottom of the 11th scoring Cody Jones with the game-winning run as #16/10 TCU escaped with a 2-1 win over Siena Friday night in front of a sellout crowd of 4,120 at Lupton Stadium in the Fort Worth Regional of the NCAA Baseball Championship.
"I guess you saw it was a pretty good ballgame," Siena coach Tony Rossi said. "Both starting pitchers did a great job and for the most part both bullpens did a great job to stay in [the game] that long. I thought our kids did a good job, and it was a tough way to lose a game."
Siena will face No. 2-seed Dallas Baptist, which lost 2-1 to Sam Houston State earlier in the day, in an elimination game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Matt Gage delivered the performance of his life for the Saints, allowing just one run in nine innings of work, and making big pitch after big pitch when the stakes were the highest. He struck out five, and posted eight straight shutout frames after giving up back-to-back two out hits in the first.
Siena tied the game 1-1 in the eighth on Dave Hoffmann's one-out triple into the right field corner. Andres Ortiz, who singled through the right side to lead-off the inning, came around to score the equalizer.
TCU threatened to take the lead back in the bottom of the eighth, but Gage induced an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners and one out.
Mike Allen singled to lead-off the ninth for Siena, but moved no further after Riley Ferrell struck out two of the next three men he faced.
TCU pitchers struck out a season-high 17 Siena hitters. Starter Brendan Finnegan has 12 strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work. Finnegan was pulled in favor of Ferrell following Hoffmann's game-tying triple.
Gage dug-in to work past a throwing error in the bottom of the ninth, getting Cody Jones to ground out and Derek Odell to fly out with a runner on second.
Matt Quintana relieved Gage in the 10th and stranded two runners, striking out Fitzgerald to end the threat. Vicent Citro beat out a high chopper with one out in the top of the 11th and was sacrificed to second, but Justin Esquerra grounded to short off reliever Trey Teakell who was improved to 6-0 on the season.
Quintana set down the first two men he faced in the bottom of the 11th, but walked Cody Jones and Odell to bring TCU's top run-producer to the plate.
White's winning hit came on a 2-2 count, one pitch after he barely checked his swing on a slider in the dirt. Siena centerfielder Dan Swain fielded the ball cleanly on three hops, but his throw to the plate sailed over Hoffmann's head as Cody Jones crossed the plate with the winning run.
Siena was trying to become the first MAAC school to win a game in the NCAA Championship since Manhattan won twice in 2006. TCU avoided becoming the third national seed to lose Friday (Florida State and Louisiana Lafayette). The Horned Frogs move on to face Sam Houston State in the winner's bracket Saturday at 8 p.m. despite leaving 14 men on base and nine in scoring position.
The Saints will have to rebound quickly from the disappointing loss, but they've proven to be resilient all season. At this point, nothing would be surprising.
"We've been in games like that all year long," Rossi said. "We will come back tomorrow and keep working hard. We've been in the loser's bracket before."