Frogs drop heart breaker in series finale
March 5, 2006
FORT WORTH, Texas - No. 21 TCU saw its ninth-inning rally come up a run short in Sunday's 4-3 loss to Florida Atlantic in the series finale. Andrew Walker hit a ball sharply up the middle, but it ricocheted off Owls reliever Mike Crotta right to the second baseman, who turned the game-ending double play. Brad Furnish struck out 11 in the loss.
Pinch hitter Jerid Buttell walked to lead off the ninth inning and Chad Huffman collected a pinch-hit single to put two on with nobody out. A bad throw to third by the pitcher on a bunt from Steven Trout allowed Buttell to score with the third run of the game. Crotta came in and intentionally walked Bryan Kervin to load the bases, then induced a fielder's choice and double play to help the Owls avoid the sweep.
The Owls had taken the lead in the first inning, scoring a run on two hits. Tyler Stevens reached on a one-out single and moved to second on a balk. He stole third base and raced home on the errant throw to the bag to give FAU the early lead.
Furnish and Owls starter, Brandon Cooney matched each other pitch-for-pitch through the next two innings before the Frogs broke through in the seventh. Cooney struck out the first two batters in the seventh but lost control of the strike zone, walking the next two batters. Cooney gave way to Mike Salivar, who walked the only batter he faced to load the bases. Keith Conlon saw four straight balls from Chris Eberhart to drive in the go-ahead run.
The lead would not hold as the Owls got to Furnish, scoring three times on four hits in the top of the eighth inning. Mike McKenna drove in the go-ahead run and Mario Duarte gave the Owls a two-run cushion with a safety squeeze. Omar Arif came in and closed out the inning, getting Anthony Albano to ground out.
Furnish went 7.2 innings in the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits. He walked just one batter and struck out 11. Arif turned in another strong performance, pitching 1.1 innings. He surrendered just one hit and struck out one.
TCU (8-6) will wrap-up a season-long home stand on Tuesday night when they play host to the Oklahoma Sooners. Game time is slated for a 7 p.m. first pitch. Shawn Ferguson will take the mound for his first career start.