For the second game in the row, drama in the eighth inning and a late TCU rally helped push the No. 22 Horned Frogs past the 18th-ranked New Mexico Lobos Friday night at Lupton stadium.
Sophomore RHP Steven Maxwell got the start for TCU, pitching five innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits. Tyler Lockwood got the win in relief, throwing 52 pitches in four inning and allowing only one earned run.
The game was delayed in the bottom of the eighth when senior catcher Hunt Woodruff was hit in the face by a high pitch. He went to the ground with a bloody nose, but was alert enough to throw his helmet across the field. After a few suspensful minutes he was able to walk off without assistance.
Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said after the game that Woodruff broke his nose, but would be fine.
Once again, the Horned Frog defense was excellent, and did not record an error for the second straight game.
“We’ve had good pitching, good defense, and we’ve had enough timely hits and we took advantage of the opportunity,” Schlossnagle said . “Sometimes we gotta win ugly to get jump started.”
The Lobos came out strong and held a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Senior first baseman Matt Vern responded in the fourth with a deep home run to right that tied the game. Vern now leads the Horned Frogs with eight home runs on the season. The home run set off a furious back-and-forth between the two teams. New Mexico led after the sixth inning 3-2.
But it didn’t last. The Horned Frogs began a rally in the seventh when senior center fielder Corey Steglich dropped one into right for a base hit, then advanced to second when second baseman Taylor Featherston did the same. A Matt Carpenter grounder into center tied the game at three. On the next pitch, Chris Ellington hit an in field pop-fly, but a New Mexico error brought Featherston home to give TCU its first lead of the night.
The Horned Frog rally continued into the eighth, when a catcher’s interferance and a wild pitch to Woodruff put Vern and Jason Coats into scoring position. A hit into right by Steglich stretched the TCU lead to three, and a sacrifice fly by Featherston made the final score 7-3.
“They’re a great opponent. They pitch pretty good and I mean usually that’s been their weakness. We all know they can hit,” said Steglich after the game. “I don’t think we’ve seen the last of ’em … But we’re a good ball club, we’re the champs of this division and we’re gonna go right back at them.”
This was the first of a three game series. The second game will be played Saturday at 4 p.m.