TCU fans delivered in a big way Friday night at Lupton Stadium in the opener of a Big 12 series between the third-ranked Horned Frogs and the No. 8 Texas Longhorns.
They were on their feet in the late innings, slapping their hands on empty seats (there weren’t many) and generally giving the Longhorns the business.
Texas responded by holding on for a 5-4 victory to stay within striking distance of the first-place Horned Frogs in the conference’s regular-season title race.
The Longhorns can move into a tie for first in the Big 12 with a victory in Game 2 of the series today in Fort Worth. Scheduled pitchers are Tristan Stevens for Texas against TCU left-hander Austin Krob, who played for the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio last summer.
A third game is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.
After the Longhorns built a 4-2 lead after five and a half innings, the Horned Frogs responded with single runs in the sixth and seventh to tie it.
That’s when the Texas bullpen took charge. Tanner Witt (two innings) and Aaron Nixon (one) pitched shutout ball the rest of the way. Nixon closed the door with two TCU runners on base and with the fans howling.
He threw a wild pitch, allowing Brayden Taylor to advance to third and Zach Humphreys to second. But from there, Nixon started throwing nasty sliders to end the game, striking out TCU star Phillip Sikes and getting Gray Rodgers on a fly ball to left.
TCU 15-4, 33-11
Texas 14-5, 37-11