TCU Rallies For 5-3 Victory Over Air Force; Picks Up Win No. 40
May 16, 2010
FORT WORTH, Texas - The fourth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs rallied for three runs in their final two at-bats to collect their 12th series win of the season with a 5-3 victory over Air Force Sunday afternoon. Erik Miller made his first career start and pitched five solid innings. Jerome Pena collected his ninth home run of the season in the win.
Miller surrendered just two runs on four hits in a career-high five innings pitched. The sophomore did not issue a walk and struck out three. Tyler Lockwood (6-2) picked up the win in relief, allowing just a run on two hits in three innings of work. Kaleb Merck pitched a perfect ninth inning to tally his third save of the season.
Miller and Air Force starter Sean Carley went toe-to-toe as they kept the offenses off balance. Miller faced just one batter over the minimum through the first four innings and Carley settled in after issuing a lead-off walk to Brance Rivera in the first, facing just two batters over the minimum.
Air Force struck first, picking up a pair of runs on three hits. Garrett Custons got the scoring started with a solo home run to left to lead off the fifth inning. Matthew Roberts followed with a base hit up the middle. A sacrifice and a ground out moved Roberts to third and he scored on a two-out single by Nathan Carter to stake the Falcons to a 2-0 lead.
The Frogs battled back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs on a pair of hits. Taylor Featherston doubled down the left field line. Aaron Schultz worked a walk and the duo executed a perfect double steal to put the tying runs in scoring position. Jantzen Witte delivered a sacrifice fly to cut the lead in half and Rivera lined a single up the middle to tie the game at two.
Two errors in the sixth inning proved costly as the Falcons once again regained the lead. K.J. Randhawa walked to lead off the frame and moved to second on a sacrifice. Addison Gentry reached on an infield single. An errant throw allowed Randhawa to race home to put the Falcons up 3-2. Lockwood worked around another error, stranding two runners on base as he got Matthew Roberts to fly out to end the inning.
In the seventh, the Frogs took advantage of a shaky Falcon bullpen, scoring a pair of runs without the benefit of a hit. Featherston was a part of the rally as he worked a lead-off walk. A wild pitch put Featherston on second with one out. Pinch hitting, Zac Jordan worked the count full and eventually drew the walk. Rivera was plunked by a Ben Bertelson offering to load the bases with only one out. Bryan Holaday demonstrated patience at the plate as he drew the bases-loaded walk to tie the game at three. Jason Coats battled new pitcher Jack Hourin and came through with the sacrifice fly that put the Frogs in front 4-3.
The Falcons wouldn't go quietly as Blair Roberts lined a singled up the middle. Pena made a diving stop on a ball hit up the middle and turned it into an inning-ending double play. The junior translated the momentum into a long home run with one out in the bottom of the eighth to give the Frogs some breathing room with a 5-3 lead.
Merck sat the side down in order in the ninth to lock up the victory.
TCU improves to 40-11 on the season, the fourth straight season the Frogs have reached that plateau. Having already wrapped up its fifth-straight league title, TCU finishes the conference portion of the schedule with an 19-5 record. The Frogs are next in action on Tuesday night as they travel to San Antonio for a meeting with UT San Antonio. First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 6 p.m.