TCU Outlasts Charlotte, 20-15
May 10, 2003
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - TCU set season highs with 20 runs, 21 hits and five home runs and wound up needing every bit of offense it mustered as the Horned Frogs survived an eight-run ninth inning by Charlotte to take a 20-15 decision over the 49ers Saturday afternoon at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.
With the victory, TCU (32-18, 19-7 C-USA) moved within a half-game of first-place in Conference USA, pending the result of league-leading Southern Miss' contest versus South Florida late Saturday afternoon.
The Horned Frogs exploded from the gates, scoring six runs in the first inning and five more in the second to grab an 11-0 advantage. TCU sent 10 men to the plate in each of the stanzas and first baseman Jared Lundeen (Fountain Hills, Ariz./Burnsville, Minn.) homered twice in the frames to stake the Frogs to the big lead.
Charlotte (20-24, 10-13 C-USA) began to chip away with two runs in the bottom of the second and one in the third, cutting TCU's lead to 11-3.
An RBI single by Nate Thomas (West Palm Beach, Fla./Kings Academy) in the fourth and a solo home run from Mike Settle (Fort Worth, Texas/Country Day) in the fifth stretched the Frogs' advantage to 10 at 13-3 after four-and-a-half innings.
The 49ers came back again for three runs in the bottom of the fifth, leaving the Horned Frogs ahead by a score of 13-6.
TCU seemingly put the game away with by plating seven more runs over the last three innings, including a five-run eighth, to take a 20-7 lead.
Nevertheless, Charlotte refused to go away as they scored eight runs and loaded the bases with just one out in the bottom of the ninth. However, TCU reliever Ryan Grafe (Austin, Texas/Lanier) was able to induce a game-ending double play to finally quell the 49er threat and seal the Horned Frog victory.
Easily the most effective pitcher of the afternoon for either squad, TCU's Chris Osentowski (Garland, Texas/Richardson Berkner) allowed just one run on four hits over 3.2 innings of relief to pick up the win and nudge his season record back above .500 at 5-4.
Leading the Horned Frogs' outburst at the plate were Lundeen and catcher Justin Hatcher (Fort Worth, Texas/Country Day). Lundeen went 3-for-3 at the plate with the two homers, a double, four RBI and four runs scored. Hatcher collected a team-high four hits while driving in four and scoring three more. Charlotte starter Justin Brown gave up nine runs (eight earned) in just 1.1 innings to fall to 4-2 on the campaign.
With the weekend series even at a game apiece, TCU and Charlotte will play the rubber match of the three-game set Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT (Noon CDT) at Fieldcrest Cannon Stadium.