Baseball team faces defeat

On a day that set attendance records for Lupton Stadium, the Horned Frogs couldn’t match late Cal State-Fullerton runs, falling 7-4 to the Titans on Sunday. The loss decided the weekend series 2-1 CSF, and snapped a 16-series win streak for the Horned Frogs.

“Generally, I thought we competed really well, and while we would have been happier with the win today, but I think we know a little more about our team after today,” said first baseman Matt Vern.

The loss came in front of a crowd of 2,670, which pushed the total attendance for the weekend series to 7,486 — an all-time record for the team. The previous record was set last year in a series with San Diego State totaling 6,989 in attendance.

“I think [the attendance] certainly made our guys feel good about the support that they get,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Our team and our staff is excited, and we hope the fans come back out.”

Fullerton moved to an early 2-0 lead in the first as freshman Greg Holle took the mound for the first time. Holle struggled in his first collegiate inning but found his stride as the game continued.

“I think it is natural to be a little nervous coming out, and I got myself in a bit of a jam and had a couple of tough breaks, but after that I felt fine,” Holle said.

Holle left the game after 4.2 innings, allowing two earned runs.

“A lot of freshmen after that first inning would fold, but Greg [Holle] really showed the kind of pitcher he is going to become,” Schlossnagle said.

The Frogs answered in the bottom of the first with and RBI ground out by Vern, scoring Ben Carruthers from second and bringing the score to 2-1 CSF.

Sound pitching and good fielding took over after the first, with a particularly impressive stretch by Horned Frog catcher Bryan Holaday, who turned an impressive play to get the second out of the third inning, then followed it up by catching CSF second baseman Gary Brown stealing second on the next play.

Brown otherwise had a strong game against the Horned Frogs, driving in CSF short stop Christian Colon in the fifth. Later in the inning, Brown would reach home off the bat of DH Corey Jones, who had 2 RBIs.

“[Gary Brown] is just a tremendous athlete and one of the best freshmen in the country,” Schlossnagle said. “We play [Fullerton] for the next three years, so he’s somebody we’re going to have to deal with for a long time.”

The Frogs rallied back in the bottom of the fifth with a three run inning. After two base hits and a walk, Clint Arnold stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded. Jorgenson struck Arnold in the arm, bringing the score to 4-2 CSF.

Later in the inning with the bases still loaded and one out, Vern sent a line drive to left field, scoring Arnold and Steve Ellington and evening the game at four all. Vern ended the game with three RBIs.

Schlossnagle was not surprised by the team’s resiliency in the comeback.

“We have a competitive club and a club that expects to win, and those are great qualities to have because they will serve you well over time,” Schlossnagle said.

The game would stay deadlocked until the eighth inning when Titan Shevis Shima scored to make it 5-4 CSF.

TCU had a chance to reply in the bottom of the eighth as DH Hunt Woodruff reached third on a fielder’s error. On the next play, however, designated runner Eric Givens was caught in a fielder’s choice and run down on the third base line. The inning ended with Horned Frog left fielder Aaron Schultz tagged out at first.

“We didn’t execute on the play because we didn’t get it in to the outfield,” Schlossnagle said. “The runner did exactly what he was supposed to do.”

Fullerton added two insurance runs in the ninth with a Josh Fellhauer home run and a Jeff Newman steal. Both runs proved unnecessary as the Horned Frogs could not take advantage of two singles from Holaday and Matt McGuirk in the bottom of the ninth. With runners on first and second and no outs, Clint Arnold nearly played savior with a thunderous shot to the left field wall, but it was run down by Fullerton left fielder Jeff Newman. The game ended with Matt Vern striking out, leaving Holaday and McGuirk stranded.

“I think [after this series] our guys believe they can play with anybody in the country, but we got to get better at a lot of things to accomplish what we want to accomplish as a team,” Schlossnagle said.

The team will be in action again Tuesday at 6:30 against Dallas Baptist in Lupton Stadium.

“We’re going to be ready [for Dallas Baptist],” Vern said. “This series is over, and now we’ve just got to go out and win on Tuesday.”