Horned Frogs rally late to top Shockers

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    The baseball team plated four runs in the eighth inning in a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Wichita State on Friday night at Lupton Stadium. Three of those runs came on first baseman Matt Vern’s three-run home run.

    Vern said he was simply taking advantage of an opportunity.

    “I’m just blessed to have the opportunity to come up there and do that for my team when the time calls,” Vern said. “It was good for us, and I was just out there to compete for the team and help get the team a win.”

    Freshman Erik Miller recorded his first save in the victory, the first over the Shockers since Jim Schlossnagle became head coach.

    “It feels really good because they’ve really had our number for three years,” Schlossnagle said. “Whether it be in a regional or in a regular season game, they’ve really had our number. I’m glad to get one, but we have more to play.”

    The Frogs were swept by the Shockers in a weekend series last year and again lost to them in the NCAA Regional.

    To set up Vern, freshman Jason Coats doubled with one out in the eighth and freshman Taylor Featherston walked before Vern let loose. The Horned Frogs manufactured another run on senior Ben Carruthers’s single when freshman Brance Rivera scored from second. Rivera pinch ran for senior Corey Steglich, who doubled.

    The four runs added to two early runs in the first thanks to singles from Matt Carpenter and Coats and a Featherston double around a wild pitch and a walk from Shocker starter Tim Kelley, who lasted 6 2/3 innings, surrendering six hits and two runs. The Horned Frogs hit relievers Grant Moncrief and Josh Smith for their late rally.

    Junior Tyler Lockwood started for the Frogs, giving up five hits and all five runs in 5 1/3 innings, but only two of the runs were earned. Four of his first five innings were scoreless.

    Senior Taylor Cragin, who pitched in relief of Lockwood for 2 2/3 innings and allowed three earned runs, said the pitchers performed well considering the conditions.

    “This is a good park to pitch in, but when it’s windy, it’s kind of hard,” Cragin said. “Any ball that’s in the air, you can’t give up on it because the wind blows it everywhere.”

    The series continues at 2 p.m. Saturday with Sean Hoelscher scheduled to take the mound for TCU, while Kyle Winkler will get his chance at 1 p.m. Sunday.