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TCU stuns Texas A&M in College Classic

Special to MLB.com

HOUSTON -- What a comeback. Top-ranked TCU, left for dead, scored five runs in the last of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings, and then shocked Texas A&M with a dramatic walk-off in the 15th inning to come away with an 11-10 win at Minute Maid Park.

Ryan Merrill's game-winning single to right-center off Lee May Gonzalez scored Josh Watson from second base to put an end to the five-hour, 54-minute marathon that ended Sunday at 1:57 a.m. CT.

HOUSTON -- What a comeback. Top-ranked TCU, left for dead, scored five runs in the last of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings, and then shocked Texas A&M with a dramatic walk-off in the 15th inning to come away with an 11-10 win at Minute Maid Park.

Ryan Merrill's game-winning single to right-center off Lee May Gonzalez scored Josh Watson from second base to put an end to the five-hour, 54-minute marathon that ended Sunday at 1:57 a.m. CT.

"This was a classic game in a classic tournament," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "What do you say about the games we've had against these guys over the course of time? The fans get after each other, but there's a lot of respect between our program and their program.

"We learned a lot about our team today and we learned a lot about our bullpen."

TCU's comeback ended the second of three days of play in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic that pits the SEC versus Big 12. The Horned Frogs, who failed to score after loading the bases with no outs in the 12th inning, improved to 9-1.

In TCU's five-run ninth inning that tied the game 10-10, the Horned Frogs managed only one hit as five consecutive batters reached base via walks.

Elliott Barzilli had three of TCU's 16 hits. Hunter Coleman had four RBIs for 25th-ranked Texas A&M (9-2). Durbin Feltman (1-0), the last of seven TCU pitchers, got the win. Kaylor Chafin (1-1), who pitched 6 1/3 innings of stellar relief, allowed only one run but was tagged for the loss.

Saturday's three-game total crowd of 21,843, surpassed Friday's attendance of 17,145. The two-day total of 38,988 already betters last year's three-day total of 19,732.

TCU starter Nick Lodolo didn't make it through the top of the first inning. The Aggies scored five times in the inning and left the bases loaded. The big blow in A&M's 31-minute first inning was Walker Pennington's three-run homer that just cleared the left-field wall.

• College Classic information

LSU 4, Baylor 0
Poché, who has won nine games in each of his first three seasons at LSU, got the Tigers back on track after Friday night's 9-6 loss to TCU, when LSU starter Alex Lange failed to make it out of the second inning.

"I think it was [former Orioles manager] Earl Weaver that said momentum is your next day's starting pitcher," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "Poché went out there and pitched the way he has in his last two outings. It was badly needed after Friday."

Poché (3-0) threw a seven-inning no-hitter on Feb. 18 against Army and in his previous outing on Feb. 25, he had a no-hitter broken up in the ninth inning against Maryland. In three starts this season, the senior has allowed no runs and only four hits in 22 innings.

"Coming into Houston, we didn't want to lose games," said Poché, who allowed Baylor (10-1) only three hits. "I wanted to go out and throw as many zeros as possible, and fortunately the offense put up some runs and we got the win."

Greg Deichmann backed Poché with his fifth home run of the season, and Jake Slaughter had three hits. The Tigers (9-2) had 10 of their 11 hits off Baylor starter Montana Parsons (1-1), who lasted 5 2/3 innings.

Leading off the sixth, Deichmann's home run, which landed 10 rows deep into the right-field seats, gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead. LSU had four hits in each of the fifth and sixth innings, scoring two runs in each inning.

Texas Tech 5, Ole Miss 1
An All-America center fielder last year, Tech's Tanner Gardner has been slumping at the plate this season. On Saturday, he made good contact and found the holes.

Gardner's four RBIs, coupled with eight strong innings from Red Raiders starter Steven Gingery, contributed in Texas Tech's win over Ole Miss, which has struggled to score in this tournament.

"I have a bunch of positive guys in the locker room that kept my spirits up," said Gardner, who went 2-for-4 to raise his batting average from .159 to .212. "It's a grind, the game we play and the game we love. You have to play through it and we're not done here. Got to keep pushing."

Gingery (3-0) was masterful, not allowing a run through his first seven innings. The left-hander struck out eight. He allowed five hits and didn't allow a run until consecutive two-out doubles off changeups by Tate Blackman and Ryan Olenek in the eighth inning. The run ended a 16-inning scoring drought by the Rebels (7-3) in the classic after being blanked 4-0 by Baylor on Friday.

"Gingery held the fort down for us," Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock said.

The Red Raiders (10-2) needed a bounce-back game after being clobbered 9-0 on Friday by Texas A&M. The Red Raiders' first three runs were unearned. Ole Miss starter James McArthur (0-1) allowed three unearned runs on two throwing errors in his five innings. The right-hander gave up only two hits.

Schedule for the final day of the College Classic (all times CT):

Sunday
10:05 a.m.: LSU at Texas Tech
1:35 p.m.: TCU at Ole Miss
5:05 p.m.: Texas A&M at Baylor

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston.

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