TCU Comes From Behind For 4-3, 10-Inning Victory Over East Carolina
April 19, 2003
FORT WORTH, Texas - After Justin Hatcher's (Fort Worth, Texas/Brewer) ninth-inning triple sent the contest to extra innings, a pair of East Carolina errors in the bottom of the tenth helped propel TCU to a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Pirates Saturday night at Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field.
Trailing 3-2 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, TCU designated hitter Chris Neuman (Fort Worth, Texas/Western Hills) got the Horned Frog rally started with a single through the right side of the infield.
A batter later, with Hatcher facing a 3-2 pitch and pinch runner Ramon Moses (Panama City, Panama/Colegio LaSalle) on the move, Hatcher smoked the offering down the right field line for a triple, bringing Moses across with the tying run and sending the game to extra frames.
Following a Chris Meeks (Brownwood, Texas/Brownwood) single to center field to open the decisive bottom of the tenth, TCU center fielder Terry Trofholz (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior) attempted to move Meeks into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. However, ECU second baseman Mike DeJesus couldn't come up with pitcher Greg Bunn's throw to allow Trofholz to reach base and give the Frogs runners on first and third with nobody out.
Bunn moved within a double play of escaping from the jam by intentionally walking Jake Duncan (Marshall, Texas/Marshall) to load the bases and striking out TCU clean-up hitter Mike Settle (Fort Worth, Texas/Country Day). But, when Horned Frog first baseman Jared Lundeen (Fountain Hills, Ariz./Burnsville, Minn.) pushed a safety squeeze bunt back towards the mound, Bunn tripped before he could field the ball and Meeks crossed the plate with the winning run, much to the delight of a raucous Lupton Stadium crowd of 1,278.
Not to be overshadowed by the heart-stopping triumph was the performance of TCU starting pitcher Kyle Shoemaker (Edmond, Okla./Santa Fe). The southpaw gave up just six hits over nine innings of work and struck out a season-high six.
The only runs Shoemaker allowed were on a three-run homer to ECU's Ryan Norwood in the third inning. He gave up a single immediately following the three-run blast, but regrouped to retire the next 15 Pirates he faced. ECU first baseman Darryl Lawhorn broke the string with a single in the eighth, but he was eliminated on a stolen base attempt as Shoemaker faced the minimum 19 batters over his last 6.1 innings.
East Carolina starter Will Brinson was equally effective, allowing just three runs over the 8.1-inning effort before being pulled from the contest after Hatcher's game-tying triple.
Horned Frog reliever Ryan Grafe (Austin, Texas/Lanier) threw a perfect 10th to up his record to 3-1. Bunn fell to 3-2 with the loss.
TCU (25-15, 12-5 C-USA) is guaranteed of handing East Carolina (24-15-1, 10-7 C-USA) its first Conference USA series loss of the season as the Horned Frogs have taken the first two games of the three-game set. Despite a season best-tying five-game winning streak, the Horned Frogs remain a game behind Southern Miss for first place in the C-USA standings.
The Frogs will go for the series sweep when they host the series finale with ECU on Sunday afternoon. First pitch for the Easter Sunday showdown is set for 1 p.m. at Lupton Stadium.