Execution Leads No. 11 TCU To 9-4 Victory
March 7, 2009
FORT WORTH, Texas - The No. 11 TCU Horned Frogs used the long ball early, then relied on small ball as they claimed the series victory with a 9-4 win over Wichita State Saturday afternoon. Matt Vern and Ben Carruthers homered in the first three innings and Corey Steglich drove in three runs in the late innings to guide the Frog offense.
"We knew going into the weekend with the way that the wind was blowing that we were going to have to really do a good job of executing the short game to score," remarked head coach Jim Schlossnagle. "Although we hit a few home runs early, we won the game by executing our skill game."
For the second straight game, the Horned Frogs jumped out to an early lead. In the second inning, Jason Coats drew a walk with one out. After a balk and a ground out moved Coats to third, Vern delivered again, slugging his third home run of the season into the wind and just over the left field fence for the 2-0 lead.
In the third, Carruthers launched his first home run of the season over the left field fence to extend the Frog lead to 3-0.
A perfect execution of the double steal by a pair of freshmen built the lead to 4-0 after four. Coats singled followed by a base hit up the middle off the bat of Taylor Featherston. A weird play on a fake throw to first by the catcher, Cody Lassley, proved fateful as Lassley accidentally released the ball and as it rolled throw the infield, Coats raced to third to put runners on the corners with two outs. With Bryan Holaday at the plate, both runners broke and Shocker starter Charlie Lowell was unable to get the ball to home plate in time, allowing Coats to slide in safely.
After holding the Shockers in check through five innings, Hoelscher found himself in a jam in the top of the sixth after two one-out walks. Clinton McKeever doubled to the left center gap, clearing the bases and making it a 4-2 contest.
The Frogs went to the bullpen, calling on Trent Appleby with one out in the sixth. He fanned Lassley for the second out and got Taylor Brown to line out to end the inning with no further damage.
"I was really proud of the way our guys competed," said Schlossnagle. "Hoelscher gave us a good start and Appleby and Merck did their job as well."
The Shockers pulled within one as they scratched across a run in the top of the seventh. Will Baez drove in Ryan Jones with a two-out single to make it 4-3.
TCU responded in a big way as the first five batters reached base in the bottom of the inning. Vern walked to lead off the inning, ending Lowell's (2-1) afternoon. Bryan Holaday executed a perfect slash play, drawing the first baseman in and lacing a ball down the right field line to put two on with nobody out. Steglich came through with a bases clearing triple to make it a 6-3 game. Carruthers drove him in with a double and moved to third on a bunt single off the bat of Carpenter. A balk by Max Hutson made it an 8-3 game.
They tacked on another run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single from Steglich, driving in Featherston who was hit by the pitch leading off the inning.
Wichita State picked up a run in the ninth, but it would be all they got as Kaleb Merck shut the door, striking out Chris O'Brien to end the game.
Hoelscher improved to 2-0 on the season. He allowed just two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings of work. He struck out four and walked two. Appleby allowed a run on two hits in 2 2/3 innings. Merck struck out two in his lone inning of work.
The Frogs will go for the sweep on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. Kyle Winkler is scheduled to make his second start of the season.