The TCU Horned Frogs used a three-run fifth inning to break open a 2-2 ballgame and cruised to an 8-2 victory over San Diego State Saturday night. Stefan Crichton was solid in four innings of work on the mound as he struck out a career-high seven. Aaron Schultz led the offense with three hits.
In the no-decision, Matt Purke allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. He walked three and struck out five in four innings of work. Stefan Crichton was outstanding in relief as he improved to 3-2 on the season. He tossed four scoreless innings, giving up just two hits. He fanned a career-high seven batters. Andrew Mitchell retired all three batters he faced in the ninth.
A lead-off double by Brance Rivera turned into the Frogs first run of the game. Jantzen Witte dropped down a perfect sac bunt to move Rivera to third and Taylor Featherston hit a sacrifice fly to center to give TCU the 1-0 lead.
San Diego State battled hard and tied the game at one in the bottom of the third. A one-out walk followed by a base hit had the Aztecs in business. Purke got Brandon Meredith to ground out, but a fielding error allowed Tim Zier to score the tying run from second base. Purke left the runners on the corners, retiring the next two batters to keep it a 1-1 contest.
TCU came right back in the top of the fourth to reclaim the lead. Zac Jordan reached on a one-out double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Jerome Pena laced a ball right at the shortstop, but he couldn’t keep his footing and Jordan raced home to give the Frogs a 1-0 lead.
The Aztecs turned a lead-off single into the tying run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Ben Vasko moved to second on a Dillon Bryant sac bunt and moved to third on a ground out. A wild pitch allowed Vasko to score to make it a 2-2 contest.
Three runs came around to score in the top of the fifth to put the Frogs back in control. Rivera reached on a lead-off error. Jantzen Witte scalded a ball to left and Rivera raced to third. On the throw back to the infield, it looked as though Witte would be thrown out, but he worked his way through the run down and escaped the tag of the second baseman and slid in safely to second. Head’s up base running by Rivera saw him scamper home to make it a 3-2 game.
Coats followed the crazy play with a double to plate Witte and moved to third on a fly ball out off the bat of Jordan. Elander worked his way on via the walk to put runners on the corners. The duo executed a perfect double steal to give TCU a 5-2 lead.
TCU added to its lead in the seventh inning, scoring a run on one hit. Coats walked with one out and moved to second on a passed ball. Elander smoked a double to the right field gap to make it a 6-2 contest.
An error in the eighth proved costly as the Frogs turned it into an 8-2 lead. Aaron Schultz reached on a lead-off single. Joe Weik laid down a sac bunt, but the throw to first sailed wide and both runners ended up in scoring position. Two straight ground ball outs from Rivera and Witte drove in the runs.
TCU improves to 24-11 on the season and 9-2 in league play. The Frogs will go for the sweep Sunday beginning at 1 p.m. (CST). Steven Maxwell will be on the mound for the Horned Frogs.
• Brance Rivera has reached base safely in his first plate appearance 19 times this season. He has collected a base hit in 17 of those 19 contests.
• Zac Jordan collected his eighth double of the season. He has 38 career hits and 14 of them are doubles.
• Jason Coats extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first inning base hit.
• Jantzen Witte pushed his hitting streak to 12 games with a base hit in the fifth inning.
• Taylor Featherston’s eighth inning hit was his 200th career base knock.