Baseball Drops Series Opener to Houston, 5-2
March 28, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas - Back-to-back two-run doubles in the third inning and an overpowering pitching display were too much for TCU to overcome as the Horned Frogs fell to Houston 5-2 Friday evening at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field. The setback dropped TCU (17-12, 5-2 C-USA) into a second-place tie in the Conference USA standings with Houston (13-13, 5-2 C-USA) and East Carolina, a game behind league-leading Southern Miss.
After two flawless innings to begin the game, TCU starting pitcher Robbie Findlay (Toronto, Ontario/Michael Power) ran into trouble in the third inning by walking a pair of batters and allowing a single to load the bases. With two outs in the frame, UH's Hyung Cho swatted a double to left field to give the Cougars their first lead at 2-0.
A batter later, first baseman Thanos Papavasiliou doubled to the gap in right center, plating two more runs and extending the Houston advantage to 4-0.
The four-run cushion would be more than Cougar starter Brad Sullivan would need. The all-American and defending C-USA Pitcher of the Year allowed just two runs on six hits over seven innings. He struck out 12 Horned Frogs to up his league-leading total to 79 and ran his season record to 4-3.
However, TCU right fielder Jake Duncan (Marshall, Texas/Marshall) kept the Horned Frogs close by accounting for much of the Frogs' offensive output. The sophomore collected three of TCU's six hits with a 3-for-4 performance, including his sixth home run of the season in the fifth inning. He also drove in the only other TCU run of the contest with an RBI single in the bottom of the third.
In all, TCU struck out a season-high 15 times versus Sullivan and Houston closer Ryan Wagner, who picked up his fifth save of the campaign. The 15 Ks fell just one short of the TCU record, set when the Frogs whiffed 16 times versus Southeastern Louisiana on February 10, 1990.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Horned Frogs, while the Cougars ran their season-best winning streak to five games.
TCU will look to snap its four-game losing skid to Houston and get head coach Lance Brown his 500th career win when the Frogs and Cougars meet for the second game of their three-game weekend series Saturday night. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m. at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field.