The 11th ranked TCU Horned Frogs (21-10) took care of the New Mexico Lobos (10-21) Saturday afternoon, 11-4. Purke (4-1) pitched got the win for the Frogs, and small spurts of offense and a big eighth inning were enough to give TCU the victory.
“I wish we would have scored more than four runs in those first five innings,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said after the game. “But with the conditions the way they are, you’ve got to take what you can get.”
The scoring began for TCU in the bottom of the first inning, when Taylor Featherston knocked Brance Rivera in on a soft single up the middle, after Rivera’s leadoff double.
The Frogs struck again in the third inning when Davy Wright, who was playing for second baseman Jerome Pena, scored on a Taylor Featherston RBI groundout.
Designated hitter Josh Elander led off the fourth with a single to left field. Elander moved up to second base via a wild pitch by Lobo’s starter Alexis Garza (0-2), and an error moved Elander to third. TCU took advantage of the New Mexico miscues, and scored on an RBI groundout courtesy of freshman Brett Johnson.
As Purke continued to roll along, so did the offense. The fifth inning brought more miscues for New Mexico, who allowed Davy Wright to score on a wild pitch. That extended the lead to 4-0.
Purke ran into trouble in the top of the sixth, however, and The Lobos scored their first run of the game after a walk to catcher Mitch Graver, a hit by pitch, and a single by third baseman Quay Grant. After hitting two more batters in a row, Purke was pulled and gave way to Trent Appleby.
“He did what he needed to do to win the game,” Schlossnagle said of Purke’s performance.
The 6’4″ lefty had seven strikeouts in 5 and 2/3 innings, and said he’s not quite where he knows he can be, due to the fact that he is still building up strength after having rested his arm all off-season.
“It’s just an up and down process,” Purke said. “Everything was going pretty good until the last inning when things just dipped off, and that’s what happens when you’re not 100%. I’m just trying to fight these battles. When it comes, it’ll be there.”
Appleby entered the game with the bases loaded, but only surrendered one run on an infield base hit by right fielder Ben Woodchick. That made the score 4-2 in favor of the Frogs.
TCU was back at it in the bottom of the seventh, when Taylor Featherston hit a two-out single, followed by a Jason Coats single. With Josh Elander batting, Featherston scored on a throwing error by third baseman Quay Grant, extending the lead to 6-2.
The Lobos weren’t ready to go away, though. A single by Luke Campbell and two consecutive doubles by Jacob Nelson and Sam Wilson, respectively, made the score 6-4. Appleby was removed with two outs and a man on third in favor of freshman Andrew Mitchell, who wasted no time striking out Lobos’ shortstop Alex Albritton.
TCU scored five runs in the eighth to break it wide open. Jimmie Pharr was hit by a pitch, Brance Rivera walked, and Jantzen did the damage with a triple to right field. That made it 8-4.
Featherston was then hit by a pitch, and Jason Coats did even more damage on a 3-run line drive homerun, his fifth of the season. Coats is working on an 11-game hit streak.
Schlossnagle said the eighth inning was big not just for today’s win, however.
“Getting those five runs late,” Schlossnagle said, “will hopefully save some of our [pitchers] for tomorrow.”
Freshman Tony Rizzotti pitched a scoreless ninth to finish out the win for TCU.
TCU amassed 11 hits and took over first place in the Mountain West Conference with the win. Sunday’ series finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. Steven Maxwell will pitch for the Frogs.