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TCU forces winner-take-all game Monday

It wasn't meant to be Sunday night in Forth Worth.

Alexander was saying his prayers and eating his vitamins on Sunday night.
Alexander was saying his prayers and eating his vitamins on Sunday night.
Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight game, NC State got a ninth inning homer, but this time there was no drama. Logan Ratledge's bomb to left made the final a slightly less embarrassing 8-2, as TCU forced a decisive, winner-take-all regional final on a frustrating night for the Wolfpack.

Despite squaring up Frogs' starter Tyler Alexander for a multitude of hard hit balls, the Pack didn't manage a baserunner until Ratledge reached on an error in the seventh. They didn't have a hit until one batter later when Andrew Knizner squirted one into right for a single. Alexander went the distance, walking no one, striking out six, and allowing just three hits and one earned run.

TCU hit plenty of balls hard, and its flairs and soft liners found grass as well, leading to a 12-hit outburst against the nation's second toughest staff to hit. Most of the damage was done against Ryan Williamson, who allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in just 2.2 innings. Cory Wilder was touched for three more runs in six innings but battled through 111 pitches to save the rest of the staff for Monday's rubber match.

For much of early ACC play, it seemed State would outscore opponents in a weekend series only to drop a couple of one-run games and go 1-2. Maybe the same fate awaits the Frogs Monday night.