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Baseball: TCU beats Air Force 6-2, sweeps series

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The TCU baseball team completed a series sweep of Air Force, beating the Falcons 6-2 Sunday afternoon at Lupton Stadium. The win was TCU's sixth in a row.

Stefan Crichton got the win on the mound for the Horned Frogs (20-13 overall, 9-3 Mountain West) and Josh Elander and Jantzen Witte both hit home runs.

Here’s some more news and notes from Sunday’s game:

Crichton gets hit but stays in control

Crichton (5-0, 3.11 ERA) threw six innings, giving up two runs and striking out four. Crichton, who threw four innings in the Frogs’ win against UT-Arlington on Wednesday, was peppered for nine hits.

The good thing, for TCU, is that all of the Falcons’ hits were singles. That kept things in control for Crichton, who got Air Force to hit into double plays in the second, third and fifth innings. Plus, it always helps when don’t issue any walks, which Crichton managed to do Sunday.

"Coach (Randy) Mazey came out in the second inning, yelling at me to keep the ball down," Crichton said. "From then on, I kind of just made a conscience effort. But you know, they put the bat on the ball, and you really can't do a whole lot when that happens." 

Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said Crichton stepped up in a big way, winning his start Sunday after having a quality outing earlier in the week.

"He gave us two good starts (this week)," Schlossnagle said. "I was a little worried about him. His best inning was his last inning, but I thought that since he had thrown 45 pitches or so Wednesday, that was enough for the week."

Elander, Witte go deep

Elander skied a three-run homer over the left field fence in the third inning, breaking a 1-1 tie.

At first glance, the ball appeared to be a harmless fly out to the left-fielder, as Elander hit it hard but high. It carried, though, just out of reach of Air Force’s David Thomas, who came close to snagging it over the fence.

Elander said he was surprised the ball made it out, even if it was barely over the wall, which is perfectly fine with him.

"I knew I got my hands extended on it," Elander said. "I didn't think it was going to go. But luckily, for once, Lupton wind was on our side. It probably rolled down the back of the fence, but we'll take anything at this point."

The shot was Elander’s fourth of the year and gave him his 20th RBI of the season.

Third baseman Jantzen Witte hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot to left field in the eighth inning. 

Rain delays start

Sunday’s game was originally scheduled to start at 1 p.m., but was postponed until 3 p.m. before getting delayed again until 3:30 p.m.

Grounds crew members worked for more than four hours prior to the game’s start trying to dry out the field after morning showers left the field soggy and muddy.

By first pitch, the field seemed plenty dry, though, and the sun even tried to peek out through the clouds, making playing conditions pretty nice considering how the day started.

Standings watch

San Diego State beat New Mexico 4-3 Sunday to avoid being swept by the Lobos. That means TCU moves into a tie for first place in the Mountain West with UNM. The Frogs lost two of three to the Lobos (17-18, 9-3) in Albuquerque last month. The two teams meet again May 4-6 in Fort Worth.

Up next

TCU plays UL-Monroe at home Tuesday before a big three-game series at SDSU (18-20, 7-5) starting Friday. First pitch for the Frogs and Warhawks is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Schlossnagle said he wasn't sure who would start, but that right-hander Jerrick Suiter and left-hander Travis Evans were possibilities. 

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