Nine innings of shutout work from pitcher Preston Morrison allowed Keaton Jones to bunt in Jeremie Fagnan for the walk-off win as the No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs edged out Cal State Northridge 1-0 in a pitchers’ duel at Lupton Stadium Saturday.
Morrison didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning, when CSUN second baseman Ryan Raslowsky hit a bloop single to left field. The Matadors were limited to only three hits on the afternoon as Morrison mixed his pitches well and confused opposing hitters.
The game was the second of a three-game series that saw the Frogs beat the Matadors in the first ever meeting between the schools on Friday, 6-2. After today, TCU improved to 29-13 and extended its winning streak to seven games.
The Frogs have now shut out their opponents in five of the last seven games. Their 11 shutouts this season is the most for TCU since 1972.
The purple and white have also won 14 of their last 15.
The Frogs’ half of the ninth inning saw first baseman Kevin Cron draw a leadoff walk from relief pitcher Shay Maltese and Fagnan replace him on the basepaths as a pinch-runner.
Pinch-hitter Will Fox then laid down a well-executed sac bunt to move Fagnan to second, and second baseman Garrett Crain ripped a single to left that sent Fagnan to third.
The stage was set for Jones, who delivered on a perfect squeeze bunt down the first base line. Fagnan was halfway home when Jones made contact, and the Matadors could do nothing but watch as the Frogs ran out onto the field in celebration.
TCU was able to test CSUN starter Jerry Keel, placing two runners on the bases in the first inning, but Keel kept calm and threw eight shutout innings of his own before earning the no decision after Maltese gave up the winning run.
Morrison’s shutout win, which improved his record to 6-3 on the year, was a true team effort, as the Frogs did not commit an error and made several impressive defensive plays in the infield. CSUN did not have an infield hit all game, as any ground ball within range was snatched up by the TCU defense.
The Matadors had six innings with no baserunners. The only real jam came in the sixth inning, when Morrison plunked a batter and walked another with two outs after giving up a one-out single.
Morrison stayed calm, however, and induced a chopper back to the mound, where he made a tough play to corral the ball and fire it to first for the third out.
Both teams failed to reach base in the seventh and eighth innings. TCU had pitchers warming up in the bullpen as early as the sixth inning, but elected to keep Morrison out as long as he continued his strong pitching.
The teams will meet again at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth on Sunday at 1 p.m. This will be the third and final game of the series, after which the Frogs will take on Stephen F. Austin in a one-game matchup on April 29.