Frogs win MWC championship title

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    The Horned Frogs claimed the 2010 Conoco Mountain West Conference baseball championship, accumulating a 2-0 victory against New Mexico Friday night.

    With the victory, TCU improved to 46-11 on the season.

    The Frogs turned two doubles plays late in the game and made an early pair of runs stand up to take home the title. It is the fourth time in the last five years the Frogs have won both the regular season and tournament titles.

    Junior Steven Maxwell (10-1) was dominant in his six innings of work, holding the Lobos to just six hits. He walked one and struck out three. Through 4 2/3 innings, Maxwell had faced the minimum 14 batters. He had allowed two singles, but he picked off Chris Juarez in the second and Justin Howard was thrown out trying to steal second in the fourth. Tyler Lockwood was lights out in relief as he pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and struck out two to pick up his fourth save of the season.

    The Frogs wasted no time taking an early lead as it took advantage of a lead-off single by Brance Rivera in the bottom of the first. Bryan Holaday launched a ball to the gap in right center and Rivera raced home from first to put the Frogs on top 1-0.

    The Frogs tacked on a run to their lead in the second inning to extend it to 2-0. Aaron Schultz singled and stole second with one out. Jantzen Witte followed with seeing-eye single up the middle to plate Schultz.

    Pitching and defense took over from that point as the Lobos battled to try and pick up runs, but each time the Frogs got the outs they needed.

    In the fifth, the Lobos tried to mount a rally as they picked up a pair of two-out singles. Trying to advance on a ball in the dirt, Max Willett was gunned out at third as he slid past the bag for the final out of the inning.

    Maxwell found himself in a jam in the sixth as the Lobos put runners on second and third with only one out. He struck out Howard on three pitches for the second out of the inning before issuing a two-out walk to Rafael Neda. Maxwell bore down and got Ryan Honeycutt to bounce out to Matt Curry at first base to end the inning.

    Again, the Lobos battled as they loaded the bases with only one out in the seventh inning. Lockwood was equal to the task as he induced an inning-ending double play ball off the bat of Daniel Gonzalez to strand the tying runs on base. Taylor Featherston made a tremendous turn at second and threw a strike to Curry at first for the final out.

    In the eighth, Howard reached on a one-out infield single, again bringing the tying run to the plate. Just like the previous inning, Lockwood got the ground ball he needed to get out of the inning. Neda hit the ball sharply to Curry at first, who threw on to Featherston at second. Featherston returned the throw to Curry to turn the 3-6-3 double play.

    Lockwood pitched around a one-out single in the ninth to lock down the championship for the Frogs. Featherston made another outstanding defensive play as he caught a looping fly ball in shallow left center. The over-the-shoulder catch kept the lead-off batter off base.

    The Frogs will find out if they are selected as a regional host site on Sunday afternoon at approximately 2:30 p.m. (CST). The announcement will be made at NCAA.com/cws. The tournament field will be announced Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. on ESPN.