Frogs defeat BYU 12-5 at first game of MWC Tournament

The TCU Horned Frogs lived to see another day in the MWC Tournament with a 12-5 victory over BYU Thursday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium. TCU was led at the plate by Josh Elander’s three RBIs and Joe Weik’s three hits.

Andrew Mitchell (5-1) turned in seven solid innings of work for the Frogs. He allowed five runs on five hits, walked three and struck out seven. Teddy Nowell earned his first save of the season with two scoreless innings of work. He allowed three hits and struck out two.

TCU sent nine men to the plate in the first inning and plated three runs to take the early lead in the game. With one out, six straight Frogs reached base. Jantzen Witte started the rally with a base hit. Jason Coats was hit by a pitch and Weik singled to load the bases. Elander put the Frogs on top with a base hit. Taylor Featherston singled to drive in another run and Brett Johnson was hit on the foot to make it a 3-0 game.

BYU got one of the runs back in the top of the second as Ryan Bernal jumped all over the first offering of the inning for a solo home run to right center. Mitchell settled in and sat down the next three batters to keep it a 3-1 contest.

In the third, the Frogs regained their three-run advantage. Elander walked, stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Johnson came through with a two-out RBI single to left that put the Frogs up 4-1.

The Cougars answered with a run of their own in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit back to two, 4-2. Bernal singled with two outs and scored on a long double off the bat of Austin Hall.

TCU broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four times on four hits to take an 8-2 lead. Weik singled to lead off the inning and scored on an Elander home run to make it 6-2. After two quick outs, Jerome Pena worked a walk to start another rally. Kyle Von Tungeln singled to right to put two on for Brance Rivera, who came through with a triple to left center.

Mitchell ran into trouble in the seventh as he struggled to find the strike zone, loading the bases on three walks. Stephen Wells made the walks hurt as he drove in two with a two-out single. TCU failed to execute a run down and Dane Nielsen stole home to make it an 8-5 game.

The Frogs put a four-spot on the board in the eighth to give them some breathing room with a 12-5 lead. With two outs and Witte standing on second base, the Frogs pushed across four runs. Weik singled home Witte and moved to third on a ball off the bat of Elander. Featherton reached on an infield single to plate Weik and both runners scored on a pinch-hit single from Zac Jordan.

Nowell pitched around a pair of singles in the ninth to end the Cougars season.

TCU improves to 41-16 on the season. The Frogs will play the loser of tonight’s Utah-New Mexico game Friday afternoon. The elimination game will begin at 5 p.m. (CST).

Game Notes:

• Joe Weik extended his hitting streak to 18 games with a base hit in the first.

• Weik’s RBI-single in the eighth inning stretches his RBI streak to six games.

• TCU batted around in the first inning. It’s the 15th time this season the Frogs have sent at least nine men to the plate in an inning.

• Josh Elander’s home run of LHP Mark Anderson was his second against a left-handed pitcher. TCU has hit just 12 home runs against lefties this season.

• Teddy Nowell became the seventh pitcher this season to tally a save.

• Jantzen Witte has reached base safely in 18 straight games. He currently has a six-game hitting streak.

• TCU improved to 7-2 in games started by Andrew Mitchell.