TCU Rallies For Thrilling 3-2 Victory Over Air Force

April 2, 2011

Final Stats

FORT WORTH, Texas - Trailing 2-1 heading to the ninth inning, Josh Elander delivered a big double that gave the TCU Horned Frogs a thrilling 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Air Force Saturday afternoon. TCU scored three runs in its final two at-bats to tally its 16th win of the season.

Heading to the eighth inning, the Frogs were starting at a 1-0 deficit. Brance Rivera opened the inning with a base hit to left. Aaron Schultz dropped down a two-strike bunt to move Rivera to second. Taylor Featherston blooped his second hit of the afternoon into right field and Rivera raced home with the tying run, sliding in just ahead of the tag to tie the game at one.

With one swing of the bat Jon McMahon lined his first home run of the season just over the left field fence to open the ninth inning, restoring the Falcons lead, 2-1. The long ball ended a tremendous outing by Matt Purke that saw him allow just two runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked three and struck out six in his longest outing of the season. Andrew Mitchell (2-0) came on and retired the final three batters of the inning to set up the Frogs ninth inning rally.

Jerome Pena battled to a 3-2 count and took a pitch off the elbow to open the inning. A passed ball moved Pena up to second. Joe Weik delivered another two-strike hit to left field to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Elander lined a Stephen Colangelo offering off the wall in left field to tie the game. Pinch runner Kyle Von Tungeln raced around the bases and an error in left field allowed Von Tungeln to score the game-winning run.

Air Force had jumped out to the early 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. McMahon doubled with one out. A base hit by Patrick Lobo was bobbled and McMahon was able to score, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

The Falcons had watched two opportunities to take the lead go by the wayside in the second and third innings as Purke was able to work out of the jams. In the second, with the bases loaded and one out, Purke got Matt Thorne to bounce into the inning-ending 5-4-3 double play. Another bases loaded situation in the third was wasted as Purke got Garrett Custons to foul out to end the inning.

TCU had base runners in six of the first seven innings, but only sent five hitters to the plate in one of those frames. Falcon starter Sean Carley was able to keep the Frogs off balance, getting key outs until running into trouble in the eighth.

With the victory, TCU improves to 16-9 on the season and 4-1 in league play. The Frogs will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Steven Maxwell will take the mound and face Air Force's Michael Ceci.

Postgame Quotes:
TCU Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
On the game:
"It was a great game. I thought Matt Purke was probably about 80-85% of who he can be. He had good velocity, three walks. He is starting to arrive, and you saw what Andrew Mitchell can do as well. We didn't do a couple things well today; we didn't seem to get lucky on a couple potential home runs. I think with what we have been through, we definitely deserved to win that game."

On having Matt Purke start the ninth inning:
"I thought he was pitching well, and we decided to go hitter by hitter. In hindsight it isn't the right decision, but he wanted to stay in the game."

TCU Pitcher Matt Purke
On his performance:
"I felt like I had more stuff today than I have had. I was able to maintain velocity the whole way through the game, I had good energy. It was a tight game but I feel like I have found what I need to find and it's all up from here."

TCU Catcher Josh Elander
On the teams win:
"It feels good to execute throughout the game. It makes a big difference when you are pitching well, fielding well and hitting well. All you have to do is execute; I see no reason why we can't win these one run games like we did all year last year."

Game Notes:
Brance Rivera's hitting streak reached 26 games with his base hit in the eighth inning. It's only the third time, Rivera has waited until his final at-bat to extend his hitting streak.
Aaron Schultz's 11 game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-3 day at the plate.
Matt Purke tossed eight innings, his longest outing of the season. His previous high was six innings at Texas Tech on March 6.
• The one-run victory is TCU's first of the season. The Frogs were previously 0-7 in one-run games this season.
Jason Coats extended his hitting streak to six games with a 1-for-4 day at the plate.



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