baseball-d1 flag

Eric Vander Voort | | June 19, 2015

Finally a win

College World Series: TCU bests LSU

OMAHA, Neb. -- Something was missing from Preston Morrison’s crowded résumé.

He is the nation’s active leader in wins (37) and innings pitched (469.1), has a sub-2.00 career ERA, and was crowned by TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle as “the best pitcher in the history of the school, bar none.” But in eight previous starts in his four years at TCU, Morrison had yet to record a win in the postseason.

Thomas: UVa win sets up Finals rematch with Vandy
Vander Voort: Towns sparks UVa to another win in June
GAME 13: Virginia 5, Florida 4 Box Highlights
Gilberto: Veteran Vandy squad returns to CWS Finals
Vander Voort: TCU's wild tournament ride ends
GAME 12: Vanderbilt 7, TCU 1 Box Highlights
Vander Voort: UVa can draw from experience after loss
Sellner: Florida's offense continues to click
GAME 11: Florida 10, Virginia 5 Box Highlights
Vander Voort: TCU continues to ride Energy Train
GAME 10: TCU 8, LSU 4 Box Highlights
Gilberto: Florida's Alonso redeems himself with homer
Sellner: Gators hold steady approach for Virginia
GAME 9: Florida 10, Miami 2 Box Highlights
Gilberto: The story behind TCU's Jones' thumb guard
Vander Voort: Wiel's blast the difference in pitcher's duel
GAME 8: Vanderbilt 1, TCU 0 Box Highlights
Sellner: LSU regains swagger, avoids elimination
Vander Voort: Behind the scenes with organist Pawlak
GAME 7: LSU 5, CSU Fullerton 3 Box Highlights
Gilberto: MLB All-Star Cordero returns to CSF bullpen
Vander Voort: Waddell, Sborz combine for gem
GAME 6: Virginia 1, Florida 0 Box Highlights
Gilberto: Canes' Heyward steals show in CWS arms race
GAME 5: Miami 4, Arkansas 3 Box Highlights
Sellner: Vandy walks off in 20 hours of baseball madness
GAME 4: Vandy 4, CSU Fullerton 3 Box Highlights
Vander Voort: Morrison nabs first postseason win
GAME 3: TCU 10, LSU 3 Box Highlights
Gilberto: Bottom of the lineup sparks UF offense
GAME 2: Florida 15, Miami 3 Box Highlights
Sellner: Pinero's aggressive running crucial in UVa.'s win
GAME 1: Virginia 5, Arkansas 3 Box Highlights
CWS teams share their superstitions and traditions
Vander Voort: Commodores focused, comfortable
Sellner: Benintendi living up to own expectations
Gilberto: Teams aim to keep continuity heading into CWS
Winfield reflects on experiences ahead of CWS
Meet the CWS field: How they got to Omaha
Interactive Printable Highlights
That changed on Sunday afternoon, as Morrison was the winning pitcher in No. 7 national seed TCU’s 10-3 blowout win against No. 2 LSU in the College World Series opener for both teams.

“It is very exciting,” Morrison said of getting the W, though he deflected its significance in favor of the team's mission. “I think the most important thing for me is getting another step closer to our ultimate goal, which is a national championship.”

It’s been a long-time coming for Morrison, who was a walk-on with no guaranteed roster spot at the beginning of his career in Fort Worth. He earned that spot by posting a 9-2 record in 22 appearances (11 starts) with a 2.08 ERA. As a sophomore he lowered his ERA to 1.51 and even further to 1.32 as a junior. Despite his collection of Big 12 and national accolades, all 40 rounds of the 2014 MLB Draft passed without Morrison hearing his name.

Things are coming together better for Morrison now. He was selected in the eighth round last week by the Chicago Cubs, he’s finally in the win column in the postseason, and most importantly -- his Horned Frogs are advancing with a win in the first weekend of the College World Series for the second consecutive year. TCU will play the winner of Sunday’s Vanderbilt-Cal State Fullerton game on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

“You’re looking at a TCU hall of famer, and I think a guy that can pitch in the big leagues, no doubt about that,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s a rocking chair pitcher -- it means I can just sit back in a rocking chair and watch him go.”

Sunday’s battle was one of the more highly anticipated games on this year’s Omaha slate, with Morrison matching up with Tiger sophomore ace Jared Poche’. The pairing lived up to the hype early, as Morrison faced 11 batters through three scoreless innings while his counterpart was perfect heading into the fourth. That’s when it all fell apart for Poche’ -- and when Morrison turned it up another level.

TCU spotted Morrison a 6-1 lead in the next two frames, taking advantage of mistakes, specifically errors on throws to first by Poche’. Morrison, after giving up two hits at the start of the fourth, then shutdown LSU’s potent and deep lineup.

LSU's self-inflicted wounds

LSU starter Jared Poche' was perfect through three innings on Sunday. As it turned out, it was the simplest of plays that proved to be his undoing.

TCU's Cody Jones led off the fourth by rolling one back to Poche' just to the right of the hill, forcing the southpaw to plant his front foot on the bump before sailing the ball clear over first baseman Chris Chinea's head, putting Jones on third.

Sometimes baseball can be a cruel sport. That much was evident on the very next batter when the ball found Poche' again when Jeremie Fagnan fisted one back to the mound. After looking Jones back to third, Poche' threw high and wide to first once again to pull Chinea off the bag and allow Fagnan to reach.

Both runners came in to score in the frame and put the Horned Frogs up 2-0.

Both the runs were technically unearned in Poche's line. He took the loss, lasting only 4.1 innings and allowing six runs (three earned), six hits and striking out three to go along with two walks.

Things didn't get any easier for Poche' and the Tigers in the fifth. After a pair reached with one out, a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position. A walk loaded the bases for Jones, whose grounder to third was botched by LSU's Connor Hale, erasing a potentially inning-ending double play. Instead, everyone was safe and a run scored.

Poche' hit the next batter to force in another run as TCU built a 6-1 lead by the time the fifth ended.

LSU finished the game with four errors.
-- Stephen Sellner,

He did not allow another baserunner, retiring the next 12 batters before exiting after the seventh inning with TCU up 10-1. The ball left the infield just twice in that stretch, on two routine fly balls.

“I had to adjust a little bit after that one-run inning,” Morrison said. “They were kind of going after me earlier in the count than we had planned for. Made an adjustment, and it worked out.”

As TCU kept loading on the runs, LSU didn’t have a chance. Morrison finished five hits and one earned run in seven innings. He struck out five and walked none. Of his 89 pitches, 63 were strikes.

“That’s what he’s done his whole career,” LSU shortstop Alex Bregman said. “He’s the winningest pitcher in TCU history for a reason. He’s a competitor. We got a lot of weak contact. He lived off the barrel, towards the end of the bat, and we didn’t get him up in the zone enough today.”

It’s not that Morrison hadn’t pitched well in the postseason before Sunday. While the title of “winning pitcher” in a game proved elusive, he had put his team in great position to win several times. Five of his previous eight tournament starts were no-decisions, including a game in the Super Regionals against Texas A&M where he had given up just one run and exited the game in the 10th inning. The Aggies ended up winning on a sacrifice fly. He also was the starter in last year’s 22-inning game against Sam Houston State.

In the 2014 College World Series, his only other start in Omaha, Morrison went 7.1 innings and struck out 10 in an opening-weekend win against Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs quickly fell behind after his exit, but rallied to win 3-2.

“He’s pitched great in the postseason throughout his entire career,” Schlossnagle said. “He just hasn’t had a whole lot to show for it, because when you’re in the postseason, you’re facing another great pitcher. … I’m just excited to get the chance to see him pitch again.”

The Horned Frogs have eight seniors, and Morrison is one of the main figures in the dugout and clubhouse. When the team needs a boost in extra innings, he may not be able to pitch he’s doing whatever it takes -- even if that means having to balance the rest of the team’s hats on his head.

“He’s so even-keeled, nothing affects him, bad or good,” third baseman Derek Odell said. “He’s got that confidence which gives us confidence behind him to make plays. I speak for all the infielders when I say that there’s no one we’d rather have on the mound in a big situation than Preston Morrison. He’s your guy.”

Division I
Baseball Championship
June 17 - 28, 2023
Charles Schwab Field Omaha | Omaha, NE

Subscribe To Email Updates

Enter your information to receive emails about offers, promotions from and our partners