Frogs clench MWC season title with victory over Air Force 19-17

Sophomores Jason Coats and Aaron Schultz played pivotal roles on Friday’s game, helping the Frogs claim victory over Air Force 19-17 and secure the Frogs’ fifth straight MWC regular season title.

The game originally began on March 28 in Colorado Springs.

Jason Coats singled in the tying runs in the top of the ninth and Aaron Schultz drove in the game-winning run in the top of 12th. Matt Purke (10-0) was dealing in relief when the game resumed on Friday. He tossed six innings, allowing a run on five hits with one intentional walk and a career-high 12 strikeouts. Steven Maxwell started the game for the Frogs and gave up four runs on five hits in two innings of work.

Jerome Pena put up a career-day at the plate with six hits and five RBIs. Matt Curry, Bryan Holaday and Jimmie Pharr each hit two home runs in the contest. TCU put up 29 hits in the contest, 10 of which came following the resumption of play.

Taylor Featherston got the ninth inning off to a good start with a double. Curry collected a one-out single to put runners on the corners. A walk to Kyle Von Tungeln loaded the bases for Coats, who delivered the game-tying hit to left field.

Purke made the tie stand, pitching around a one-out double in the bottom of the ninth and a lead-off single in the 10th.

TCU made its hard work pay off as it finally broke through for a pair of runs in the top of the 12th inning. Featherston singled with one out and moved to second on an errant pick-off attempt with two outs. Schultz made the error hurt as he lined a single up the middle, plating Featherston with the go-ahead run. A passed ball and a wild pitch followed, moving Schultz to third. Pena provided the insurance run with a single to center for the 19-17 lead. Purke retired the side in order to lock up the victory.

The back-and-forth battle began on March 28 in Colorado Springs. TCU took the early lead in the first inning, scoring a run on three hits. Curry doubled in Holaday, who had singled with one out in the inning.

Air Force responded with a four-spot in the bottom of the frame. The big blow was a two-run, two-out double off the bat of Ben Ausbun.

The Frogs exploded with eight runs on seven hits in the second to open up a 9-4 lead. Zac Jordan singled in the first run of the inning. Pena’s three-run blast was the first of three straight long balls as Holaday and Curry followed with impressive solo shots. Joe Weik narrowly missed making it four straight as he doubled off the wall. Pharr connected on the fourth home run of the inning, a two-run shot that capped the eight-run inning.

Pena’s third hit of the afternoon extended the Frogs’ lead to six, 10-4, in the third inning.

The Falcons began to mount a comeback with a lead-off home run by Addison Gentry in the third inning. Two errors in the inning allowed another Falcon run to score, making it a 10-6 contest.

Pharr answered in the fourth with his second home run of the game to push the Frogs’ lead back to five, 11-6.

A seven-run bottom of the fourth turned the Frogs’ lead into a two-run deficit, 13-11. K.J. Randhawa delivered the go-ahead hit as he singled in a pair of runs with two outs in the inning.

Back-to-back home runs by Holaday and Curry got the game tied at 13 in the fifth and Eric Marshall put a zero on the scoreboard in the bottom of the frame to hold the tie.

TCU put up a two-spot in the top of the sixth to regain its lead, 15-13. Pharr collected his third hit of the afternoon and scored on a long home run off the bat of Featherston.

Again, Air Force had an answer as it picked up three runs to retake the lead, 16-15. Garrett Custons came through with a two-out double that plated two runs. TCU escaped the inning without any further damage as the defense gunned out Gentry at home trying to score from first.

Upon resumption of the suspended game, the Falcons pushed across a run to take a 17-15 lead. Blair Roberts singled home Alex Bast, who had led off the seventh with a double to right.

Both teams put up zeros in the eighth inning, setting up TCU’s ninth-inning rally.

With the victory, TCU improves to 38-10 on the season and clinches the MWC title with a 17-4 record.