No. 16 TCU falls 6-3 to No. 2 Rice
June 3, 2007
HOUSTON, Texas - No. 16 TCU had its chances in the late innings to pull off the come-from-behind victory, but couldn't get the big hit as the No. 2 Rice Owls held on for the 6-3 victory. TCU stranded six runners over the final three innings. The Frogs, who got solo home runs from seniors Keith Conlon and Steven Trout, will face Baylor Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Rice jumped out to the early 1-0 lead as it took advantage of a lead-off walk to Brian Friday. Chris Johnson (11-3) got a big strikeout with Friday on second, but an infield single by Tyler Henley put runners on the corners for Joe Savery. He laced the ball to left field to plate the first run of the game. Johnson settled down and retired the next six batters he faced.
In that stretch, the Frogs were able to knot the game at one. Conlon broke a string of four straight retired by Rice starter Ryan Berry with a long home run to left field.
The Owls had an answer as they took advantage of the wet field conditions to open up a 2-1 lead. Jared Gayhart doubled with one out in the third and scored on a two-out single from Savery.
Berry found his groove again following Conlon's home run and set down nine of the next 10 batters he faced. The Owls continued to build on their lead, tacking on two more runs in the fifth inning on a two-run home run to right field from Gayhart.
Steven Trout cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth as he got a hold of a Barry offering with a solo home run to right field to make it a 4-2 game.
Again, the Owls had an answer as they pushed the lead back to three with a run in the sixth inning. A lead-off walk ended Johnson's evening as the Frogs called on Donald Furrow. He retired the first batter he faced as Diego Seastrunk sacrificed Aaron Luna to second. A wild pitch moved Luna to third and a walk to Jess Buenger put runners on the corner. Jordan Dodson singled to plate Luna. Brian Friday walked to load the bases. Tyler Lockwood came on and retired pinch-hitter Adam Zornes on one pitch to end the inning.
In the seventh, the Frogs had a great chance to crawl back into the game. Conlon gutted out an infield single, but pinch-runner Corey Steglich was erased on a fielder's choice. Trout followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. Ben Carruthers took a pitch off the elbow to load the bases, ending Berry's night. An errant throw by the third baseman on a Hunt Woodruff ball made it a 5-3 game. Rice closer Cole St. Clair did his job and got the inning-ending double play to keep it a 5-3 game.
TCU had another golden opportunity in the eighth, as the Owls committed their second error of the game, but St. Clair battled back getting Matt Vern to ground out to end the inning.
Danny Lehmann broke up a string of seven straight retired by Lockwood with a solo home run to lead off the ninth inning to make it a 6-3 ball game.
Again TCU mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth and again St. Clair was able to wiggle off the hook. Trout walked and Carruthers singled to bring the tying run to the plate. Woodruff drove the ball to deep center field, but Henley tracked it down for the first out of the game and St. Clair retired the final two batters to end the game.
Johnson took just his third loss of the season. He went five innings, allowing five runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out two. Lockwood tossed 3 1/3 innings, surrendering just the one run on one hit, walked two and struck out three.
The Frogs fall to 47-13 on the season.