April 16, 2011
SAN DIEGO - For the second consecutive night, ninth-ranked TCU scored multiple runs in the fifth inning to break open a tight contest as it went on to defeat San Diego State, 8-2, in the second game of their three-game weekend series Saturday night. The loss was the fourth straight for the Aztecs, who saw their record fall to 11-24 overall and 5-6 in the Mountain West Conference.
With the score tied at 2-2 after four, TCU (24-11, 9-2 MWC) scored three times in the top of the fifth to assume a lead it would not relinquish the remainder of the evening. The scoring came on two hits, a walk, an Aztec error and a pair of mental lapses that led to two of the runs.
Brance River led off that fifth inning by reaching on an error by SDSU shortstop Cody Slader. Jantzen Witte then singled to left with Rivera advancing to third. Witte attempted to take second on the throw to the infield, but was caught in a rundown. That rundown allowed Rivera to score from third with Witte safe at second when the Aztecs missed the tag.
One out later a double by Jason Coats brought Rivera home with the second run of the inning. Coats went to third on a fly ball to center before josh Elander walked to put men at first and third with two out. Aztec pitcher Craig Rasmussen then had Elander picked off first, but in the ensuing rundown Coats crossed the plate and in the confusion Elander was safe at second as the visitors took a 5-2 lead.
Rasmussen (1-4) would be the hard luck loser as he allowed the three runs (one earned) on two hits along with a walk and strikeout over his 1.1 innings of work.
Through the first four innings the Aztecs and Horned Frogs found themselves deadlocked at two runs apiece although SDSU scored both of its runs on the night without being credited with an RBI.
After TCU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, San Diego State tied it up three innings later with a marker in the bottom of the third. A walk to Tim Zier and single by Pat Cowell put runners at first and second. With the runners on the move, Brandon Meredith grounded to second baseman Jerome Pena, whose throw to shortstop Tyler Featherston covering the bag was too late to get Colwell. Featherston's throw to first was in time, but went off the glove of Joe Weik for an error that allowed Zier to score and tie the contest at 1-1.
After TCU regained the lead with a run in the top of the fourth, the Aztecs responded with one of their own in the bottom of the inning. Ben Vasko led off with a single and went to second on Dillon Bryant's sacrifice bunt. A walk to Cody Slader was followed by a ground out to short that advance both runners. TCU starter Matt Purke then uncorked a wild pitch on a 0-2 count that allowed Vasko to score and make it a 2-2 contest.
After Purke gave up a single to lead off the bottom of the fifth, he was removed from the game in favor of reliever Stefan Crichton. Once Crichton entered the game, San Diego State did not have a runner reach as far as second the remainder of the contest as it recorded only two singles against him over his four innings. Andrew Mitchell came on to toss a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down the victory. Crichton would get the win to improve to 3-2 on the year.
Pat Colwell led the Aztec with three hits on the night to account for half of his team's total as TCU pitchers struck out a total of 13 over the course of the game.
San Diego State and TCU will conclude their three-games series on Sunday, April 17, with a contest scheduled for an 11:00 a.m. start at Tony Gwynn Stadium.