UCLA halts TCU baseball’s winning streak

    295
    print

    A five-run sixth inning doomed TCU as it lost the opening game of the NCAA Super Regional 6-2 to UCLA.

    Josh Elander and Kyle Von Tungeln homered to account for TCU’s only runs in the game.

    Brandon Finnegan (4-5) was tagged with the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in five innings of work. He fanned four, walked two and hit a batter. Justin Scharf was touched for three runs on two hits and a walk. Kaleb Merck retired all five batters he faced, while Trey Teakell struck out three around a hit in his lone inning of work.

    With TCU clinging to a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Heineman drew a four-pitch walk to open the inning. Back-to-back hit batters loaded the bases with nobody out. Trevor Brown tied the game as he lined a single up the middle. A ground out by Pat Valaika made it a 3-2 game in favor of the Bruins. After intentionally walking Brenton Allen, Cody Regis put the dagger in the inning with a bases-clearing double.

    The Frogs got the scoring started early with a one-out blast by Josh Elander over the left field fence for a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

    A lead-off single by Brown in the second inning turned into the Bruins first run of the game. He moved to third on a one-out single by Shane Zeile. Finnegan got a big out as Regis line sharply to short. He had Kevin Kramer in a 0-2 hole, but couldn’t finish him off as he singled to tie the game.

    The tie didn’t last long as Von Tungeln led off the top of the third with a solo shot to put the Frogs back on top 2-1.

    Finnegan settled into a rhythm, retiring 10 straight until the lead-off walk in the sixth. TCU had opportunities to score, but couldn’t come up with the big hit.

    In the fourth, Josh Gonzales and Brance Rivera hit back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. UCLA starter Adam Plutko picked off Rivera for the second out and retired the next batter he faced to end the inning.

    Derek Odell led off the sixth inning with a base hit to center. Making a bid for his first career home run, Suiter lined a ball to deep left field. Kevin Keefer tracked the ball all the way to the wall and hauled in the ball for the first out. Odell was caught stealing and Plutko got a foul out to end the inning, setting up the Bruins five-run sixth inning.

    "It's a disappointing loss for TCU," Horned Frogs coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "We played well for eight of nine innings, but they got timely hitting. We have to avoid the big inning — you can't set the table.

    "For sure I like our chances on coming back. This time last week we lost by the same score, so this is a good omen for us. We're a blue collar team and we play well with our backs against the wall."

    TCU lost the opening game of the College Station Regional last weekend but responded by winning four straight games to advance.

    TCU falls to 40-21 overall. The Frogs will need to win on Saturday to set up a decisive third game on Sunday night. First pitch Saturday is set for 8 p.m.

    The game will air live on ESPN2. Preston Morrison will get the start for TCU.

    The series winner will advance to the College World Series In Omaha.

    This story contains material from the Associated Press.