The Horned Frogs preserved a strong outing from freshman pitcher Sean Hoelscher with a walk-off single to earn a 3-2 win over the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks. The win Tuesday night snapped a two-game skid for the Horned Frogs and marked the start of a seven-game home stand.
“It was definitely big to get a win like that, especially coming back and winning with a walk-off,” third baseman Matt Carpenter said.
TCU struck first in the bottom of the second, as senior Steve Ellington drove in senior Bryan Kervin. The next at bat, Mavericks starting pitcher Eamonn Donovan hit senior Clint Arnold with a pitch to load the bases, but the Horned Frogs were unable to capitalize. Junior Ben Carruthers ended the inning with a fly-out, leaving three men on base.
TCU would strand nine runners in the game, five of which were on base when Carruthers ended the inning.
“I think our approach at the plate with regard to situational hitting was poor tonight,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “Most of those were by veteran guys, so they’ll get better and they’ve proven that over time.”
The Mavericks were unable to get any consistent offense against Hoelscher, who was in his first start.
A Corpus Christi Calallen product, Hoelscher pitched seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts, and allowed only four hits. Previously used only in relief, Hoelscher looked dominant at times – particularly with his fastball and slider.
“If he can show us anything close to that, we’ve got somebody special,” Schlossnagle said.
Hoelscher was nearly removed from the game with one out remaining in the top of the sixth, but remained in the game after a meeting on the mound.
“I guess (assistant coach Randy) Mazey had trust in me getting the job done,” Hoelscher said. “He just told me to calm down and throw some strikes.”
The pitching duel continued through the eighth and into the ninth, where UTA finally found its offense.
Down 2-0, Mavericks right fielder Matthew Otteman drove in Jeff Storms with an RBI double early in the inning, and designated hitter Danny Slinkman followed by driving in Otteman to tie the game at two all.
In the bottom of the ninth, TCU would load the bases for Carpenter, who drove a single to the right field gap and scored pinch runner Brett Medlin to end the game.
Carpenter struggled last weekend, going 0-4 against Minnesota, 0-2 against Pepperdine and 1-4 against Tulane. With the walk-off, he finished 1-4 with an RBI against UTA.
“The game of baseball always tends to come back to you, and as long as you hang with it, it will give you opportunities to redeem yourself,” Schlossnagle said. “(Tonight) it certainly did that for Matt (Carpenter).”
The Horned Frogs are in action again tonight at home against Texas State University at 6:30 p.m., looking to continue building momentum into their weekend series against No. 2, University of Mississippi.