Frogs take first game of San Diego State series 11-4

The TCU Horned Frogs scored eight times in the middle innings to break open a tight game and cruised to the 11-4 victory over San Diego State Friday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Jason Coats was 3-for-5 on the night with three RBIs. A fifth inning single gave Coats his 200th career hit.

Kyle Winkler improved to 6-1 on the season. He surrendered two runs on four hits in six innings of work. The junior issued three walks and struck out four. Tyler Duffie allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. He gave up a pair of hits, walked three and struck out one. Erik Miller allowed a pair of hits in 2/3 of an inning. Tony Rizzotti pitched a scoreless ninth with two walks and a strikeout.

With two outs in the first inning, Taylor Featherston battled back from a 0-2 count to work a walk. A passed ball moved him to second and he scored easily on a double off the bat of Coats to give the Frogs the early 1-0 lead.

A lead-off double from Tim Zier turned into the tying run as the Aztecs perfectly executed the small ball game. Pat Colwell sacrificed Zier to third and Brandon Meredith delivered the sacrifice fly to right that tied the game at one after one inning.

Jantzen Witte led off the third inning with a base hit and the Frogs turned it into a run as they took a 2-1 lead. Featherston grounded out to move Witte to second and Coats delivered his second RBI-hit of the night to drive in the run.

TCU sent nine men to the plate in the fifth and pushed across four runs as it opened up a 6-1 lead. Witte led off the frame with a double and moved to third on a passed ball. Featherston worked a walk to put runners on the corners and Coats singled through the right side to drive in his third run of the game. Josh Elander dumped a double into right field to drive in Featherston. A walk to Jerome Pena loaded the bases. Zac Jordan was hit for the second time in the game to drive in another run. Joe Weik capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to center.

The Aztecs scratched across a run in the bottom of the fifth. Cody Smith led off the fifth with a bunt single. With one out, Winkler issued a walk to Zier and the pair executed a double steal. Colwell bounced a grounder to second to drive in the run. Winkler then froze Meredith at the plate for the final out, keeping it a 6-2 ballgame.

The Frogs put up another four spot in the top of the sixth inning to break the game wide open. Witte led off the frame with a single and scored on a triple by Featherston. A wild pitch plated Featherston with the second run of the inning. Back-to-back walks followed and Jerome Pena drove them in with a triple to center to make it a 10-2 contest.

San Diego State picked up its third run of the game in the seventh inning. A lead-off walk to Smith led to the run as he scored on a two-out single from Meredith.

Pena tripled with one out in the eighth inning and scored to make it an 11-3 game on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Jordan. The Aztecs got the run back in the bottom of the inning on a base hit by Kyle Hayes to account for the 11-4 final.

TCU improves to 23-11 on the season and 8-2 in league play. The two teams will square off in game two of the series Saturday night at Tony Gwynn Stadium. Matt Purke will take the mound in a game scheduled to start at 9 p.m. (CST). He will face the Aztecs’ Cole Swanson.

Game Notes:

• Jason Coats extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

• Coats tallied three RBIs in the game. He now has a team-leading eight multiple RBI contests this season.

• Jantzen Witte pushed his hitting streak to 11 games. Additionally, he has reached base safely in 20 straight contests.

• Jerome Pena has reached base safely in 16 straight contests.

• Prior to tonight’s contest, Pena had just two career triples. He tripled in back-to-back at-bats tonight. That tied a school record done multiple times, most recently by Keith Conlon vs. BYU on May 25, 2007.

• TCU scored in double figures for just the sixth time this season.

• Kyle Winkler turned in his ninth straight quality start this season. He has gone six or more innings in all nine of his starts this season. He improved to 25-5 in his career.