Baseball Drops C-USA Tourney Opener 5-1 to East Carolina
May 22, 2002
KINSTON, N.C. - East Carolina jumped out to a 5-0 lead and TCU was not able to muster any type of comeback off a well-rested ECU starter Sam Narron as the third-seeded Horned Frogs dropped its Conference USA Tournament opener to the No. 6-seed Pirates 5-1 Wednesday night at Grainger Stadium. With the loss, TCU (29-28) must defeat No. 2-seed Louisville in an elimination game Thursday to keep its season alive.
The game started off rocky for TCU and its starting hurler, Clayton Jerome (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet), as East Carolina touched the right-hander for two runs on just one hit in the top of the first to grab an early 2-0 lead. The damage could have been much worse, as Jerome hit a pair of batters and walked another and the Frogs committed an error in the frame, but Jerome escaped the a bases-loaded, one-out jam with only two runs in.
Unfortunately for the Frog faithful, the large ECU contingent that made up most of the sellout crowd of 2,214 at Grainger Stadium had more to cheer for in the top of the second as the Pirates tacked on another run to up its lead to 3-0. Three singles in the stanza did the damage, including an RBI base hit from C-USA Freshman of the Year Darryl Lawhorn of ECU.
From there, Jerome appeared to settle down a bit as he held East Carolina (38-18-1) scoreless over the next two innings. However, Narron remained sharp for the Pirates as he allowed just two hits over the first five innings to make the slim lead stand up.
In the top of the sixth, ECU plated two more runs to stretch its lead to 5-0 and chase Jerome from the contest. In all, the sophomore allowed nine hits and five runs (four earned), walking one but and hitting three in just 5.2 innings of work. The outing was Jerome's shortest since going just five innings in an 8-6 win over Southern Miss on March 15.
TCU was able to notch its lone run in the bottom of the sixth, an unearned tally off Narron to make it 5-1. Third baseman Mike Settle (Fort Worth, Texas/Country Day) collected the RBI on a groundout, scoring Terry Trofholz (Plano, Texas/Plano Senior/Creighton) from third base.
From there, Narron cruised to up his season record to 8-3. The southpaw, who had missed his previous two starts with a sore left arm, went 8.1 innings, holding the Frogs to just three hits and one unearned run. The nephew of Texas Rangers manager Jerry Narron walked two and struck out five in the victory.
The setback leaves TCU just one win away from being knocked out of the double-elimination tournament. The Horned Frogs will look to keep their campaign going Thursday versus No. 2-seed Louisville, a 10-0 loser to No. 7 South Florida Wednesday. First pitch is slated for 11:30 a.m. (CDT).