Errors, injuries, and inconsistency on offense worked against the Frogs today as the team ended their 2011 campaign with a 8-4 defeat at the hands of Oral Roberts University, a team they had defeated 10-2 just two days before.
Oral Roberts used six pitchers to beat the Frogs, with Joe Spring picking up the win. TCU finished their season with a final record of 43-20.
Starting pitcher Kyle Winkler, in his first appearance in two weeks, left after recording only two outs due to an elbow injury. The Frogs were able to fight their way into contention until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Chris Elder hit his first career grand slam to effectively shut the door on TCU’s season. Erik Miller picked up the loss for TCU.
In the bottom of the first inning with two outs, Coach Jim Schlossnagle and the TCU trainer came out and took a look at Winkler. However, Winkler stayed in and continued to pitch. After, walking the next batter he asked to be taken out and Schlossnagle brought in Miller to take the ball.
Both teams got on the board in the third inning. TCU scored two in the top. Brance Rivera was plunked in the head to lead off the inning and Jerome Pena’s sacrifice bunt turned into a base hit when he played it perfectly in the gap between first and the pitcher. Rivera committed a baserunning error at second by getting picked off by the catcher. Kyle Von Tungeln walked to bring up Jantzen Witte with two on base and one out. Witte singled to left but an error on the pickup allowed Pena to score. The Frogs added a second run on a sac fly.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Golden Eagles took the lead for good with a four run inning. With one out and the bases loaded, Brandon King singled to bring in a run. Two more singles and a sacrifice fly brought in the other runs. TCU got one back in the sixth off a Zac Jordan double to make the score 4-3. However, in the bottom of the sixth, Trent Appleby worked himself into a jam and Schlossnagle put in Teddy Nowell for a lefty on lefty matchup against Elder, who came into the game batting .380 against lefthanded pitchers. Nowell came into the game with only 8 innings pitched all season and gave up a 1-2 grand slam.
Though TCU was able to score one in the ninth inning to make the final score 8-4, Elder’s shot essentially ended TCU’s year. Oral Roberts will move on to face Dallas Baptist tonight at 7 p.m.
Season recap notes:
The Frogs won the regular season conference championship with a 21-3 record in conference. They became one of just eight teams in the country to host a regional for the last three years consecutively.