TCU Rallies For Thrilling 3-2 Victory Over Air Force
April 2, 2011
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.
On having Matt Purke start the ninth inning:
TCU Pitcher Matt Purke
TCU Catcher Josh Elander
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