June 4, 2010
Texas Christian University demonstrated why it is the sixth-ranked team in the nation Friday night by defeating Lamar University 16-3 in a first-round matchup in the NCAA Tournament's Fort Worth Regional.
An enthusiastic crowd of 3,135 in Lupton Stadium saw the Horned Frogs bang out 17 hits in extending their record to 47-11 and their winning streak to eight games. They advance to a second-round game Saturday night against Arizona, a 10-9 winner over Baylor in Friday's regional opener.
Coach Jim Gilligan's Cardinals, who fell to 35-25 on the season, will meet Baylor in a 2 p.m. elimination game Saturday. The 16 Frog runs were the most yielded by Lamar this season.
Shortstop Taylor Featherston, third baseman Jantzen Witte and outfielders Aaron Schultz and Jason Coats collected three hits each to lead the Frogs' hit parade.
The Frogs sent 10 batters to the plate in scoring four fifth-inning runs, and they improved on that an inning latter as 13 batters paraded to the plate and seven scored.
Shortstop Aaron Buchanan, who led off the game with a double, went 3-for-5 and scored two runs, and third baseman Andy Mena was 3-for-4 for the Cardinals, who saw their five-game winning streak end.
If it was any consolation to the Cardinals, they did extend their streak of double-digit hit games to 15 by collecting 11, but they couldn't offset the Frogs' 17 safeties.
Kyle Winkler, a sophomore right-hander from Sugar Land Kempner, limited the Cardinals to seven hits over six innings in earning his 11th victory in 12 decisions. He struck out six batters and walked only one.
Starter Matison Smith absorbed the loss for the Cardinals, falling to 10-4 on the season. The senior right-hander from Nederland allowed nine hits and eight runs (four earned) over 4.1 innings, while striking out two and batters and walking three.
The Cardinals drew first blood in the opening inning, but the Horned Frogs answered with a three spot to the upperhand for keeps.
Buchanan ripped Winkler's first pitch of the game on a rope into right center field, and he alertly sprinted to second base for his team-leading 21st double of the season. Mena hit a slow roller between first and second bases, and the ball got under the glove of second baseman Jerome Pena for an error that deprived Mena of an RBI when Buchanan scored on the play.
Mena's fielding error on Brance Rivera's leadoff grounder to third base opened the door for the TCU's three-run first inning. The Horned Frogs quickly loaded the bases on a hit-by-pitch and Coats' bunt single, and Rivera scored the tying run when Matt Curry grounded out back to the mound.
Featherston then made it 3-1 by driving a two-run triple into the gap in right center field. Jon Weik's fourth home run of the season sailed into the trees beyond the left fence to make the score Horned Frogs 4, Cardinals 1 in the fourth inning.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals grounded into inning-ending double plays in the second and third innings to help Winkler get settled into a groove, and he recorded back-to-back swinging strikeouts of Ryan Meade and Anthony Moore to end the fourth.
The Frogs gained even more separation in the fifth inning when they chased Smith from the mound with a four-run outburst. Inning-opening walks to Weik and Featherston complicated maters for Smith, and Schultz added a two-run single to centerfield and Pena a sacrifice fly to right. The final run of the inning crossed the plate when Mena committed his second fielding error of the evening.