TCU takes down Rebels in second game

The NO.7 Horned Frogs extended their season-long winning streak to six games with a 9-3 win over UNLV Friday night at Lupton Stadium.

Pitching in the place of the injured Matt Purke, Frogs starter Erik Miller bounced back after a forgettable outing against Oklahoma last week to get his third win of the season. Miller was strong, going seven innings and giving up only two earned runs on six hits. The junior struck out a career-high nine batters in the victory.

Miller gave up two runs to start the sixth inning, but head coach Jim Schlossnagle stayed with his starter to get the Frogs out of the jam. Miller limited the damage by striking out two in a row to end the inning.

“They showed faith in me which really put some confidence back in me,” Miller said.

Schlossnagle said he was pleased with Miller after such a rough outing the last time he took the mound.

“His performance was phenomenal,” Schlossnagle said, “especially at a time when we really needed it.”

Center fielder Aaron Schultz put the Frogs on the board with a RBI double in the second inning. Freshman first baseman, Brett Johnson, extended the lead with a double in the gap to bring Schultz around. The hit was Johnson’s first double of his career.

UNLV cut the lead in half in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly by Brandon Bayardi.

In the top of the sixth, UNLV’s Travis Feiner started things off by reaching base on a strikeout that turned into a wild pitch. The Rebels then got RBI singles from Trent Cook and Ryan Scott to take a 3-2 lead.

The Frogs responded with a big inning of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Taylor Featherston led off with a double to left. After a wild pitch sent Featherston to third, left fielder Jason Coats delivered a RBI infield single to tie the game at 3-3. The hit extended Coats’ hitting streak to 19 games and marked his ninth consecutive game with a RBI.

After loading the bases, pinch-hitter Joe Weik was hit by a pitch, bringing Coats home to retake the lead 4-3. Zac Jordan followed Weik with a double to left that scored two more runs for the Frogs.

With a three-run lead and runners on second and third, Schlossnagle called for a rare double suicide squeeze bunt by Brance Rivera. The risk paid off, scoring two more runs and extending the lead to 8-3.

“It’s a play that is very high risk, but very high reward,” Schlossnagle said. “When you execute it successfully, it’s a big blow to the other team.”

The Frogs tacked on another run in the seventh to extend the lead to 9-3.

Frog relievers Nick Frey, Teddy Nowell and Kyle Starratt came on in relief to get the final six outs of the game.

The win improves TCU’s record in the month of April to a blistering 13-2 and overall record to 28-11, (12-2 MWC).

The Frogs will look to finish off the series sweep of the Rebels in tomorrow’s game three. First pitch is set for noon.