Frogs claim third straight tournament title with 9-6 victory over BYU
May 27, 2006
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The 2006 TCU Horned Frogs became the first team in TCU history to claim both the regular season and tournament titles as they topped the BYU Cougars 9-6 on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. It is the third straight conference title and their second outright under Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle. Chad Huffman was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player leading a pack of five Horned Frogs that earned all-tournament honors. With the tournament title, the Frogs are assured of their third straight trip to the NCAA Regional Tournament.
Pitcher Brad Furnish, designated hitter Steven Trout, catcher Andrew Walker and outfielder Ryan Pack were also named to the all-tournament team. The Frogs are just the third team to sweep their way through the tournament to win the title.
For the third straight game, the Frogs surrendered a first inning run. After retiring the first batter of the game, Marcos Villezcas slapped a first-pitch single through the right side. A walk to Ben Saylor moved Villezcas to second and he scored on a Jeff Hiestand base hit to right field. TCU starter Sam Demel battled back and stranded the runners as he retired the final two batters of the inning.
The Cougars made it a 2-0 game with a two-out home run by second baseman, Stetson Banks. With the wind blowing out, Banks got the ball up and the wind blew it out over the left field fence.
The Horned Frogs battled back to take their first lead of the game as they put up a four-spot in the bottom of the second. Austin Adams was hit by the pitch to lead off the inning, but BYU starter Matt Jensen retired the next two batters and looked close to getting out of the jam. Andrew Walker nixed that idea as he dropped a single into left field, moving Adams to third. Corey Steglich jumped on the first pitch he saw and tripled off the left field wall, knotting the game at two. Ryan Pack followed suit with a first-pitch swing, driving it over the fence in right center to give the Frogs a 4-2 lead.
Saylor cut the lead in half in the top of the third. After the first batter of the inning grounded out, Saylor hammered a 2-2 offering from Demel over the right field fence to make it a 4-3 contest.
Four more two-out runs made it an 8-3 contest for the Frogs after six innings. Walker led off the inning with his second hit of the game. A wild pitch from Jensen moved Walker to second and a Steglich groundball advanced Walker to third with one out. A great play by the third baseman kept Walker at third, but Bryan Kervin came through with a two-out base hit to left field to make it a 5-3 game. Steven Trout walked on four straight pitches to bring Chad Huffman to the plate. For the third straight contest, Huffman drove a ball out of the park to give TCU an 8-3 lead.
The Cougars got two of the runs back in the top of the seventh. Casey Nelson and Stetson Banks reached to open the frame. Demel gave way to Donald Furrow. A shallow fly ball kept the runners at first and third. A groundout off the bat of Villezcas made it 8-4 and a two-out single from Saylor pulled BYU within three, 8-5.
Demel improved to 6-5 on the year with the win. He tossed six innings for the Frogs, allowing just five runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four. Furrow worked the remaining three frames, allowing just one run on four hits on a day that saw wind gusts reach at least 50 mph. He struck out two and walked one to earn his second save of the year.
TCU battled back, getting one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning. Matt Carpenter singled to start the inning and moved to third on a Walker one-out double. Steglich drove a sacrifice fly to right center, plating Carpenter with the Frogs ninth run of the game.
BYU's ninth inning rally fell three run shorts. Back-to-back doubles from Hiestand and Saylor pulled the Cougars within one, but Furrow got Kasey Ko to ground out to Kervin at short and his toss to Huffman at first ended the game.
The Frogs are one of the hottest teams in the country as they have won 10 straight games. The win moves the Frogs record to 38-21 overall on the season heading into regional action next weekend. TCU will find out where it will play on Monday morning when the selection show airs on national television.