Big 12 Baseball Tournament 2016: WVU vs. TCU Score, Reaction

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2016

TCU infielder Luken Baker (19) celebrates his solo home run with his teammates in the tenth inning against West Virginia in the championship game of the NCAA college Big 12 conference baseball tournament in Oklahoma City, Sunday, May 29, 2016. TCU won 11-10 in ten innings. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The West Virginia Mountaineers overcame an eight-run deficit, but it was to no avail, as the TCU Horned Frogs won the 2016 Big 12 baseball tournament championship game, 11-10, in 10 innings Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Horned Frogs designated hitter Luken Baker provided the difference in the game, slugging a solo home run over the left field fence to put TCU in the lead in the top of the 10th.

The Big 12 shared a replay of the homer:

Big 12 Conference @Big12Conference

Baker bomb! @TCU_Baseball's Luken Baker smashes his 4th HR of the #Big12BSB Champ to put the Frogs ahead, 11-10. 🏆⚾️ https://t.co/StGNEUmGHT

Baker finished the tournament 15-for-22 with four home runs and 11 RBI, per Big12Sports.com. The conference announced the freshman was the tourney's most outstanding player.

Right-hander Durbin Feltman pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the 10th to secure the victory. The freshman reliever was excellent over the final three innings. He faced 11 batters, allowing zero hits and two walks while striking out four.

TCU Baseball provided a replay of the game's final out and the team's celebration:

TCU Baseball @TCU_Baseball

BIG 12 CHAMPS!!!! #GoFrogs #Big12BSB https://t.co/GJ7cHJ4P0G

247Sports' EerSports.com shared Mountaineers fans' reactions to Sunday's roller-coaster title game:

EerSports.com @EerSportsDotCom

Every #WVU fan right now. https://t.co/aR44rw9KNd

The loss was a tough result for West Virginia, which was two outs away from an improbable come-from-behind win. TCU shortstop Ryan Merrill hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth to score left fielder Josh Watson and tie the game at 10-10.

Before that, the Horned Frogs had seen an 8-0 lead evaporate in the span of three innings. West Virginia scored three runs apiece in the third and fourth innings to make it a two-run game, and the Mountaineers tacked on four more in the fifth to go ahead 10-9.

Even more impressively, their offensive onslaught in the fifth largely came with two outs, which was a trend for the team over the course of the game. The Mountaineers went 6-for-15 with two outs and 7-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Shortstop Jimmy Galusky and designated hitter Kyle Davis both hit two-run doubles in the bottom half of the fifth to complete West Virginia's comeback. Not only did Davis put his team in the lead, but he also set a Big 12 tournament record for the most RBI in the process, per the conference's Twitter account:

Big 12 Conference @Big12Conference

Kyle Davis' Championship record 14th RBI gives @WVUBaseball a 10-9 lead heading to the top of the sixth! #Big12BSB https://t.co/FVhGGNsH5d

Right-hander Blake Smith was unable to pick up the save. He allowed back-to-back singles to Watson and Horned Frogs center fielder Dane Steinhagen to open the ninth, and then Merrill sent the game into extra innings. Smith was also responsible for Baker's game-winning home run, which came with one out in the 10th.

TCU's Big 12 championship game triumph will have significant ramifications with regard to the NCAA tournament. As D1Baseball.com's Kendall Rogers noted, West Virginia could've made life difficult for teams on the fringe of the tournament picture:

Kendall Rogers @KendallRogers

NO Stolen bid out of the Big 12. WVU loses to #TCU. Everything breaking bubble teams' way so far today. https://t.co/oKulh78fPb

The Mountaineers had an automatic tournament berth within reach going into the ninth. Instead, they'll have to hope their resume is good enough to get them an at-large bid. In his most recent projection on May 24, though, Baseball America's Jim Shonerd didn't have WVU among his 64 tournament teams.

Meanwhile, TCU cemented what was already a near-certainty. The Horned Frogs were going to make the NCAA tournament no matter the result of Sunday's game. The only question now is whether they'll play host in the regional round.

Postgame Reaction

West Virginia coach Randy Mazey gathered his team on the field immediately after the game and wasn't dwelling on a difficult defeat, per WVU Baseball:

WVU Baseball @WVUBaseball

"You have no idea how proud I am. You threw your hearts on the field. I've enjoyed this last month as much as ever." https://t.co/pbMkx1251r

Mazey discussed the comeback after the game, per the Big 12:

This is a team that hasn't given up. As a coach you say that all the time. You encourage them to never give up. To have a team that actually never gives up, that's a fun team to coach. I'd hate to stop coaching these guys. I'd hate for the season to end just on the sole reason I love being around them. It's a great character group, a great chemistry group. They're a bunch of great baseball players. They're fun to be around. I would hate for it to stop now.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle discussed where he believes both teams should be headed for the NCAA tournament, per Baseball America's Teddy Cahill:

Teddy Cahill @tedcahill

Just spoke with TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle. He said he believes his team is a deserving host and West Virginia is a regional-caliber team.

"We been playing better and better baseball since the end of the Baylor series," said Baker, per the Big 12. "The coaches have told us, 'Our best baseball is still just ahead of us.' I feel like we are starting to play better baseball."


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.