Frogs win MWC Baseball Championship
May 24, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Clint Arnold went 6-for-6 with five RBI as No. 21 TCU cemented its fifth straight NCAA Regional appearance with a 15-2 victory over New Mexico in the title game Saturday afternoon at the Phillips 66 Mountain West Conference Baseball Championship at Lupton Stadium.
The Horned Frogs (43-17), with the MWC's automatic bid in hand, will learn their postseason destination when the NCAA Regional field is announced Monday at 11:30 a.m. Central.
Arnold, named the tournament's Most Valuable Player, had a pair of doubles and homered as he completed MWC Championship play 12-of-18 at the plate. He had 11 hits in his last 12 at bats. Arnold was just short of TCU's single-game record of seven hits set by Brad Wallace against Maine in 1996. The five RBI were one short of a career-high six last year at UNLV.
TCU has won 14 of its last 15 games and 29 of 34 since April 1. The Frogs have also won five straight conference tournament championships covering two leagues (Conference USA 2004-05; Mountain West Conference 2006-08).
TCU relievers Dillon Farish, Derek VerHagen, Eric Marshall and Cashner combined for six shutout innings as the Frogs' bullpen did not allow a run in 22 innings over five games in the MWC Tournament. TCU relievers surrendered just 14 hits and four walks while striking out eight.
TCU allowed just 12 runs in its five MWC Tournament games.
Farish (1-0) earned the win with his 2 2/3 innings of work. He scattered two hits while striking out one and not issuing a walk.
TCU totaled 19 hits with eight of nine starters recording at least one base knock. Ben Carruthers had three hits.
The Frogs took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first after the first two batters of the inning were retired. TCU loaded the bases on a single, walk and hit batter. On a 3-2 pitch, Chris Ellington delivered a two-run single to right. It was Ellington's fourth and fifth RBI of the MWC Tournament, increasing his team-high season total to 52.
TCU added three unearned runs in the bottom of the second to make it a 5-0 game. Vern led off with a single and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and groundout. He then scored on an error by Lobo shortstop Scott Gracey. Arnold followed with a two-run homer to left, his second of the year, to chase New Mexico starter Will Kerr (3-4).
The Lobos answered with two runs in the top of the third to close within 5-2. With two outs, a walk and hit batter put runners on first and second. Matt Hibbitts then doubled to right, just out of the reach of a diving Chris Ellington, to plate two.
Hibbitts had two hits to lead the Lobos at the plate.
The Frogs added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Carruthers and Steve Ellington singled to put runners on first and second. Arnold then hit a shot into the gap in left center that a diving Kevin Atkinson was unable to handle. Carruthers scored to give TCU a 6-2 advantage.
The Frogs broke open the game with a five-run fifth inning to lead 11-2. Hunt Woodruff's two-run double and run-scoring singles by Carpenter and Bryan Holaday highlighted the inning which also included a Steve Ellington sacrifice fly.
Steve Ellington added another sacrifice fly in the next inning as TCU scored three times in the sixth to provide the final margin. Arnold's two-run double capped the Frogs' scoring.
Kerr lasted just 1 2/3 innings in taking the loss. Only two of the five runs he surrendered were earned. The Lobos used five pitchers.
TCU and New Mexico met for the sixth time in the last nine days. The Frogs swept three games in Albuquerque last weekend to win the MWC regular-season title.
New Mexico (34-25) made its first appearance in a conference tournament championship game since 1992, when it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).