Three-Run South Florida Ninth Inning Does In TCU, 6-5
April 6, 2002
TAMPA, Fla. - Five South Florida runs in the last three innings, including three in the bottom of the ninth, was the difference as the Bulls took a 6-5 decision from TCU Saturday afternoon at Red McEwen Field. With the loss, TCU dropped below .500 overall at 16-17 and fell to 7-4 in Conference USA play.
Much like in Friday's 6-4 TCU win over USF, the Horned Frogs jumped out to an early lead. After South Florida opened the scoring with a run in the bottom of the first, TCU answered with a three tallies in the top of the second to take a 3-1 lead. A pair of RBI doubles of the bats of Mike Settle (Fort Worth, Texas/County Day) and Levi Robinson (Anchorage, Alaska/Robert Service/Canada C.C.), as well as a run scoring groundout from Will Lewis (Texarkana, Ark./Texarkana/Seminole J.C.) accounted for the Horned Frog scoring.
The Frogs stretched the lead to 4-1 in the fourth when they plated a run on back-to-back doubles from Lewis and Marshall Wilson (Austin, Texas/Stephen F. Austin).
Errors haunted TCU in the seventh as three Frog miscues led to a pair of USF runs and cut the Horned Frog lead to 4-3. The three unearned scores chased TCU starter Kyle Shoemaker (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe/Seminole J.C.), who went 6.2 innings and allowed three runs (one earned) on six hits. The southpaw walked three and struck out three and did not figure in the decision.
South Florida (19-12, 7-4 C-USA) threatened in the eighth putting runners on first and second with one out, but TCU reliever Josh Gardner (Sugar Land, Texas/Clements) got USF pinch hitter Mike Choquette to ground into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 4-3 Horned Frog lead.
TCU added what appeared to be an insurance run in the top of the ninth to take a seemingly more comfortable 5-3 lead. Left fielder Chris Meeks (Brownwood, Texas/Brownwood/Eastfield J.C.) lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to score the run.
However, USF rallied in the bottom of the ninth with three runs on four hits to collect the come-from-behind win. A one-out, RBI single through the left side of the infield by the Bulls' Ronnie Handley off Frog reliever Tim Collinsworth (Mesquite, Texas/Mesquite/Eastfield J.C.) scored USF's Mike Barclay with the decisive run.
Gardner was charged with all three runs in the ninth to pick up the loss and to drop to 2-1 on the season. South Florida reliever Joey Livingston threw 1.1 innings of hitless ball to notch his first win of the campaign.
Settle was the only Horned Frog to enjoy a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and run scored in the setback.
The Frogs and the Bulls will play the rubber game of the three-game series tomorrow afternoon at Red McEwen Field. First pitch is slated for noon (CDT).