TCU Moves Into Sole Possession of Second Place With 8-2 Win Over East Carolina
April 18, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas - Justin Hatcher (Fort Worth, Texas/Brewer) drove in all four of his runs with two outs, including a three-run double in the seventh inning that put an exclamation point on TCU's 8-2 victory over East Carolina Friday night at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field.
With the win, the Horned Frogs moved into sole possession of second place in Conference USA, a game ahead of the Pirates and a game behind league-leading Southern Miss.
Hatcher's big night began with an RBI single to close out a three-run first inning for TCU (24-15, 11-5 C-USA). Chris Meeks (Brownwood, Texas/Brownwood) and Terry Trofholz (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) led off the game for the Horned Frogs with back-to-back base hits, the latter a single back up the middle by Trofholz that scored Meeks and gave the Frogs a 1-0 lead.
Chris Neuman (Fort Worth, Texas/Western Hills) added another RBI single before Hatcher's run-scoring base hit to center sealed the Frogs' three-run first.
East Carolina (24-14-1, 10-6 C-USA) snapped TCU starting pitcher Clayton Jerome's (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet) 18-inning scoreless streak with a run in the third to cut the Horned Frog lead to 3-1.
Hatcher opened the frame with a line drive single up the middle that ricocheted off ECU pitcher Davey Penny's glove for an infield single. The deflected liner hit Penny in the upper lip, causing a lengthy delay as the right-hander received medical attention on the mound. The senior left the game but thankfully did not endure any serious injury on the play.
Second baseman Will Lewis (Texarkana, Ark./Texarkana) welcomed Pirate reliever Neal Sears to the game with a double off the left center field wall, scoring Hatcher and reclaiming the Frogs' three-run advantage at 4-1.
TCU blew the game open by plating four runs on four hits in the seventh to take an 8-1 lead. All four runs came with two outs, as Hatcher's bases-clearing double and an RBI triple from Lewis with two away accounted for the scoring in the four-run outburst.
Jerome continued his sterling season on the mound, as the right-hander tossed eight strong innings to up his record to 8-1. He allowed just one earned run on six hits and struck out eight.
Jerome's eighth overall victory ties him for tops in C-USA, while his sixth conference win (in six starts) is also a league-best mark. He lowered his team-leading ERA to 1.93 on the season as TCU moved to 10-1 this season in games started by the junior hurler.
The Horned Frogs will look to clinch a series victory over the Pirates when the squads meet for game two of their three-game series Saturday night at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field. Game time is set for 6:30 p.m.