After giving Houston Baptist University their first win of the season, TCU’s baseball team rallied behind the leadership of senior second baseman Jerome Pena and junior shortstop Taylor Featherston in route to a 6-1 victory and a series win at Lupton Stadium.
“Everyone’s kind of excited about this win, but we can’t forget what happened yesterday,” Pena said. “That”s going to be in the back of our minds for a little bit.”
Before stretching Sunday morning, Pena and Featherston held a 10 minute players meeting to remind the team that they are a blue collar team with a chip on their shoulder, Pena said.
The message that they sent to their teammates was, “You can’t forget who we are, TCU is, and how we play,” Pena said. “Our nose is on the grind stone every minute of the day and that”s just how we play.”
Sophomore catcher Josh Elander, who made his first start since injuring himself during the second game of the season, noted that the meeting helped the team gain energy and reassured the players that every play counted.
TCU drew first blood for the first time in the series when junior Brance Rivera walked to first base, stole second and capitalized on an error by HBU second baseman Garrett Tully to score in the first inning.
The 1-0 lead didn’t last long for the Horned Frogs though. In the top of the second, TCU senior starting pitcher Steven Maxwell gave up two hits and allowed a run by HBU right fielder Kolby Arnst.
Overall, Maxwell (1-0) allowed five hits, walked one man, and threw seven strikeouts in seven innings of pitching.
The Frogs regained the lead in the bottom of the second when sophomore Davy Wright batted in junior outfielder Zac Jordan with a sacrifice fly, making the game a 2-1 contest.
The Huskies remained scoreless for the remaining seven innings of play, and TCU extended their lead by making plays and capitalizing on HBU errors.
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Featherston singled to the left side. A fielding error by HBU third baseman Ryan Bacak helped junior outfield Jason Coats find first base. Featherston advanced to second on the play. Pena then drove in the two players with a double down the left side.
Elander, not to be outdone, doubled through the left side as well to knock in Pena for the third and final score of the inning.
In the eighth inning, sophomore pinch runner Kyle Von Tungeln went from first to third on a base hit by Rivera. The hit extended Rivera’s hitting streak to 15 games. Von Tungeln then rushed home on a wild pitch by HBU’s Kyle Dickerson to extend TCU’s lead to 6-1.
The win puts the Frogs at 10-5 this season which is two wins less than last year’s team had 15 games into the season.
However, head coach Jim Schlossnagle said he doesn’t rest on his laurels and doesn’t compare this season’s team to the 2010 team.
“We’re not the 2009 team or the 2010 team, Schlossnagle said. “We’re the 2011 team. I say that because it’s our responsibility to write our own story.”
The TCU baseball team will continue writing their story on Tuesday at Clay Gould Ballpark in a game against the UT- Arlington Mavericks. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.