A two-run seventh inning for No. 8 TCU broke a 6-6 tie and allowed the Horned Frogs to win two straight in an 8-6 victory over Texas Tech Saturday night at Dan Law Field. Stefan Crichton held the Red Raiders scoreless for three-plus innings to collect his first career win. Jantzen Witte drove in three runs to lead the offense.
Steven Maxwell sailed through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. He pitched around a pair of two-out walks in the fourth, but couldn’t record an out in the fifth inning. The senior allowed five runs on two hits, walked four and struck out four in four-plus innings of work. Trent Appleby surrendered one run on one hit, walked two and struck out one in 2/3 of an inning.
Crichton (1-0) held the Red Raiders scoreless for 3 1/3 innings. He gave up just two hits, walked one and struck out four. Erik Miller tallied his second save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth. He walked one and struck out one.
The Frogs looked like they were on cruise control as they built a 6-0 lead through the first four innings. Stephen Hagen led off the fifth inning with a base hit and moved to third on a double by Bo Altobelli. TCU pitchers issued four straight free passes, two via the walk and two via the hit-by-pitch, to give the Red Raiders their first three runs. David Paiz tallied the lone RBI single of the inning to make it a 6-4 contest. A wild pitch brought the Red Raiders within one, 6-5, and another bases loaded walk to Altobelli tied the game at six.
In the seventh inning, the Frogs finally got their bats going again as they broke the tie with a pair of runs on three hits. Jerome Pena lined a single up the middle with one out and moved to third on a double by Jimmie Pharr. Aaron Schultz gave the Frogs the lead, getting down the suicide squeeze on a ball up in the zone. Josh Elander followed with a base hit to right to give the Frogs the two-run cushion.
The Red Raiders had the tying runs on base in the ninth with nobody out, but Miller was able to close the door. Jamodrick McGruder singled to lead off the inning and Miller walked Kelby Tomlinson to bring the winning run to the plate. Miller got the ground ball he needed and Witte made a nice play to start the 5-4-3 double play. A strikeout of Barrett Barnes sealed the victory for the Frogs.
Five pitches into the game, the Horned Frogs had a 1-0 lead. Brance Rivera tripled on the first pitch he saw and scored on a base hit up the middle by Witte. A one-out double by Jason Coats moved Witte to third and Pharr hit a sacrifice fly to give the Frogs a 2-0 lead after one.
The Frogs turned another lead-off single into a 3-0 lead. Joe Weik dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move Elander to second. Witte collected his second RBI of the game with a base knock through the left side.
In the third, Featherston singled to open the inning. After a stolen base, Coats came through with a run-scoring single to make it a 4-0 contest.
Weik chased Texas Tech starter, Robbie Kilcrease, with a lead-off double in the fourth. A base hit bunt by Rivera put runners on the corners. Witte drove in his third run with a ground out to shortstop. Featherston made it a 6-0 contest with a base hit up the middle. TCU improves to 6-4 on the season. The Frogs will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. Matt Purke will get the call for TCU and he will face Tech’s Jamen Parten.