Horned Frogs Stay Alive, Eliminate East Carolina 10-4
May 28, 2004
Houston, Texas - The TCU Horned Frogs stayed alive in the Conference USA Tournament Friday night as they sent No. 4 East Carolina home, eliminating the Pirates 10-4. Shelby Ford drove in four runs and Chad Huffman was 4-for-5 as TCU pounded out 15 hits. Robbie Findlay pitched 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only two hits and striking out seven in the win. The two wins in the post-season tournament mark the most ever since joining C-USA three seasons ago.
The Frogs got the scoring started early, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Bo Cogbill picked up a one out base hit, followed by a Huffman single to put two runners on. Ford delivered his first big hit of the night, doubling to deep center with two outs to clear the bases.
After East Carolina cut the lead in half in the top of the second, the Frogs offense responded, getting the run back. D.J. Pokluda hit a one-out double and moved to third on a J.J. Estrada ground out. Ramon Moses collected the two-out RBI-single to push the lead back to 3-1.
The Pirates picked up three runs in the third to take the lead. The first two batters of the inning were hit by a pitch and Ryan Jones hit a sharp single to pull the Pirates within one, 3-2. A passed ball allowed the Pirates to tie the game at three and Drew Costanzo gave the Pirates the lead with a one-out single.
The Frogs were able to tie the game in the fourth inning. Pokluda drew a lead off walk and moved to second on an Estrada sacrifice. Cogbill drove him in with a two-out single to tie the game at four.
Findlay came on in the fifth and closed the doors on the Pirates offense as he put up zeroes the rest of the way. Findlay didn't allow a runner to third base and retired the last seven batters of the game to pick up his fifth win.
The Frogs offense came alive in the sixth as they scored four times on three hits. After a quick two outs, Huffman singled to start the rally. Austin Adams was drilled by a pitch and both runners moved up a base on a passed ball. The inning looked to be over when Ford popped the ball sky-high, but miscommunication by the Pirates allowed the ball to drop in fair territory and both runners scored to give TCU the 6-4 lead. Chris Neuman drew a walk and Kyle Dahlberg doubled to drive in two more runs. After six TCU led 8-4.
Two solo home runs by Estrada and Neuman in the final two innings pushed the lead to 10-4 and the Frogs survived their second elimination game of the tournament.
TCU (35-24) returns to the diamond on Saturday afternoon at 12:30. The Frogs will face host school Houston for the second time in the tournament. The Frogs will need to beat Houston in order to force a second game, which would be played tomorrow night at 7:30 for the right to go to the championship game.