TCU Clinches Title In Wild 2-1 Victory Over Utah

Nick Frey threw six innings and struck out five.

Nick Frey threw six innings and struck out five.

May 15, 2011

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FORT WORTH, Texas - A two-out wild pitch allowed Jason Coats to race home with the championship-clinching run as No. 8 TCU defeated Utah 2-1 on Senior Day at Lupton Stadium. The victory locked up the Horned Frogs sixth straight regular season Mountain West championship and the eighth straight conference crown.

Nick Frey, Trent Appleby and Stefan Crichton did yeoman's work on the mound to help the Frogs secure the victory. Frey set career highs in innings pitched with six and strikeouts with five. He allowed just one run on six hits and issued two walks (one intentional). Appleby dolled out one intentional walk and struck out three in his two innings of work. Crichton (6-3) retired all three batters he faced in the ninth to earn the win.

The bullpen did a fantastic job keeping the Utes off the scoreboard the final three innings, retiring nine of the last 10 batters in the game. The only base runner was C.J. Cron, who the Frogs elected to intentionally walk with two outs in the eighth. A balk put Cron on second, but Appleby was able to work out of the jam, striking out Shaun Cooper to end the inning.

TCU's offense came through in the bottom of the ninth as it scored a run on a walk and a base hit to win the game. Coats drew a walk on a 3-2 count to open the frame. With two outs, Taylor Featherston kept the inning alive with a line drive single to center that allowed Coats to race all the way to third. On the very next pitch, Ute reliever Ben Mordini unleashed a wild pitch. Standing at the plate, Jerome Pena waved home Coats to give the Frogs a 2-1 win.

Utah had opportunities to take the early lead in the game and eventually did in the fourth inning on a two-out solo home run by Cooper.

The Utes first opportunity came in the second when they had two on with nobody out. Frey got Cody Guymon to bounce into a double play then induced a lazy fly ball to right off the bat of Trey Nielsen to end the inning.

Michael Beltran led off the fourth inning with a base hit, but Frey got Cron to ground into the 5-4-3 double play. That turned out to be a huge play as the next batter, Cooper, smoked a home run to left to make it 1-0 Utah.

TCU saw a couple opportunities to score go by the wayside, but was finally able to tie the game in the fifth inning. Pena doubled off the wall in right center with one out. A ground ball off the bat of Kyle Von Tungeln baffled the second baseman and Pena was able to race home with the tying run.

The Horned Frogs improve to 36-15 overall and 17-3 in league play. TCU will wrap up its regular season home schedule Tuesday night when it hosts Oral Roberts. Game time at Lupton Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.

Game Notes:
• TCU's regular season championship gives them a championship of some kind in each of Jim Schlossnagle's eight seasons on campus. The Frogs won the Conference USA Postseason Tournament crown in 2004 and 2005 and have laid claim to all six regular season titles since joining the Mountain West Conference in 2006.
Joe Weik extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
• TCU improved to 3-1 in games that Nick Frey has started this season.
• Both Jason Coats and Josh Elander saw their hitting streaks end today.
• The Horned Frogs are 21-6 since the start of April.

Postgame Quotes:
TCU Senior Second Baseman Jerome Pena
On being a senior and clinching the conference today:

"I was soaking everything in and taking all that I could away from the situation."

On winning the series without the regular starting rotation:
"It has allowed our freshman pitchers to grow up tremendously, it is amazing how much they have matured over the past couple of weeks when we needed them to step up and they did a phenomenal job."

On Nick's performance:
"He has done a great job in back to back starts now with Tuesday's game against Baylor and today. He was able to keep us in the game today."

TCU Freshman pitcher Nick Frey
On being a freshman in this big environment:

"I had all night to prepare for this game and came out knowing what to expect. I tried to go through it and focus on every pitch. The inning they were able to get two on I just kept telling myself to focus and was able to get two punch outs."

On pitching on senior day:
"It feels good now after being able to pitch like I did, but it did add to the things I tried not to think about while I was pitching."

 

 


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