The Frogs one win away from College World Series after 3-1 victory

The Frogs one win away from College World Series after 3-1 victory

Freshman TCU pitcher Matt Purke (14-0) wasn’t rattled by the Disch-Falk burnt orange and purple dotted crowd, leading TCU to a 3-1 victory over Texas to take a 1-0 series lead in the Austin Super Regional.

TCU won its 11th straight as Purke’s 11 strike-outs were enough to out-duel Texas starting right-hander Cole Green (11-2); the Frogs gave the Texas home crowd little to get excited about Friday. Purke held the Longhorns to three hits in 7 2/3 innings.

TCU will look to sweep the Longhorns Saturday at noon, which would give the Horned Frogs their first NCAA College World Series berth. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Purke turned what could have been a game-time collapsing atmosphere for an opposing pitcher into an emotional forklift-dealing Texas their first home defeat since March 30. It was huge.

“I’m an emotional pitcher, I feed off emotion and to go out there and be able to do that just gets everybody fired up,” Purke said. “My first international (pitching) experience I threw against Cuba down in Venezuela. they don’t like us very much, and the situation was loud and crazy just like it was today.”

Luck was the difference in the game, at least according to Longhorns head baseball coach Augie Garrido.

“Both teams played almost the same game; the separation was in one inning, and in that inning the luck factor became apart of it ,” Garrido said. “From their side of it they were very opportunistic and that’s what this game is all about when it is played at such a high level.

“They converted their bunts to get their runners in scoring position, they scored on productive outs, and on the wild pitch (in the sixth inning). That’s just good college baseball. “

Luck didn’t explain Purke’s 11 strike-out performance, nor did it explain Lockwood’s 17-pitch relief role, as he recorded his sixth save of the season.

TCU took an early lead 1-0 on Texas starting right-hander Cole Green (11-2) after first baseman Matt Curry and designated hitter Joe Weik found holes in the infield to put runners on first and second. Head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle was true to his word, giving the go for third baseman Jantzen Witte to move the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt.

“We just had some balls there in the middle innings that on that turf they normally don’t get through, and we took advantage of opportunities that we had scoring runners from third base,” said TCU head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle. “You have to execute. You have to get a (sacrifice) fly to put the ball in play, and we were able to do just enough of that today.”

Center fielder Aaron Schultz pushed a fly ball far enough for a sacrifice RBI, giving TCU the lead in the second inning.

TCU couldn’t perfect the small ball in the third after second baseman Jerome Pena was thrown out at second after right fielder Brance Rivera whiffed on attempted slash or bunt.

Rivera knocked a hard grounder that skipped past ‘Horns third baseman Kevin Lusson to put one Frogs’ runner on base with one out.

Texas second baseman Jordan Etier was the first Texas hitter to figure Purke out, knocking a single to center field for a base hit. Etier stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw from catcher Bryan Holaday.

With the Disch-Falk crowd finally stirred, Purke kept his composure and coaxed a ground out from Texas left fielder Cohl Walla to keep TCU up 1-0.

Despite Holaday’s error and Texas’ two stolen bases, Schlossnagle said Holaday was a clear cut Johnny Bench Award winner because of the simple fact that he’s a winning catcher.

Texas right fielder Kevin Keyes hit a line drive to center for Purke’s second hit allowed. After Purke fell behind in the count to designated hitter Russell Moldenhauer 2-0, The Frogs infield met Purke at the pitching mound as the 7,312 strong orange-clad crowd attempted to get under Purke’s skin.

Purke took the pep talk to heart, striking out Moldenhauer looking.

Purke disposed of third baseman Kevin Lusson, striking him out looking, and shortstop Brandon Loy hit a soft grounder to end the inning.

Purke heard the boos reign in; Lusson briefly turned around to argue with home plate umpire Nelson Graham after striking out looking-the crowd made sure Lusson knew they had his back on the perceived missed call.

Frogs’ shortstop Taylor Featherston was hit by a pitch to reach base in the sixth inning and Holaday walked to put two Frogs’ runners on base with no outs.

The Frogs’ continued to try and manufacture scoring opportunities as Coats layed a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to third and second with one out.

Green began to unravel, throwing a wild pitch after catching his cleat on the mound to bring Featherston home and advance Holaday to third.

Green allowed another walk, putting to put runners on the corners. Designated hitter Joe Weike smacked a RBI sacrifice fly to right field to pad the Frogs’ lead to 3-0. That was all the runs TCU would need as Purke lowered his ERA to 3.23 Friday.

Witte’s two-out single was enough for Garrido to pull Green and put in right-hander Stayton Thomas to face Frogs’ center fielder Aaron Schultz.

Texas right fielder Justin Keyes jacked a ball to left field that was carried out by the wind, cutting TCU’s lead to 3-1 in the seventh inning.

Texas threatened in the eighth inning with two runners on with two outs, and right-hander Tyler Lockwood came in for Purke with two outs. Texas shortstop Brandon Loy hit a grounder back to Lockwood ending the inning.

Lockwood finished the game for TCU in the ninth, recording his sixth save of the season.

“We needed a big hit right there (in the eighth inning), and the percentages on that when you only get one shot at it is pretty hard way to play,” Garrido said. “The game turned out the way it should have because we couldn’t control the things that happened. We couldn’t overcome it because of (Purke and Lockwood’s) pitching.”

Photos by Design Editor Julie Susman