Arizona had the tying run at the plate in the 8th, but three runs in the 9th buried the Wildcats.
June 5, 2010
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FORT WORTH, Texas – Host Texas Christian University handed Arizona its first loss of the 2010 Fort Worth Regional by a scored of 11-5 on Saturday evening at Lupton Stadium. The defeat means the Wildcats will meet Baylor on Sunday in an elimination game with the winner advancing to play the Horned Frogs in the regional championship game later on Sunday and, if necessary, on Monday.
The six-run margin of victory was hardly indicative of how close the game was; at the same time, the margin potential could have been much larger. Fortunately for the Wildcats, they did enough offensively to stay within striking distance.
The Wildcats, who were the designated home team in the game, trailed 8-4 entering the bottom of the eighth. They scratched across a single run to cut the deficit to three and even brought the tying run to the plate, but Cole Frenzel struck out looking to end the threat.
Meanwhile, TCU answered back with three runs in the top of the ninth to break open the game as designated hitter Joe Weik hit his second home run of the game – a three-run blast off reliever Joe Allison.
The trio of runs were the final dagger in the game for the Wildcats, who fell behind early as starter Kyle Simon struggled. Simon hit the first two batters of the game he faced, but escaped the first inning with just one run allowed.
However, the Horned Frogs roughed up Simon for six runs – all earned – in 3.2 innings of work. Simon, who fell to 8-6 on the season, issued four walks to go with the two hit batters.
Simon was able to dodge even more potential trouble. He stranded three TCU base runners in the first inning, one in the second and two in the third. After Nick Cunningham replaced Simon in the fourth inning, the freshman reliever again turned away the Horned Frogs, who left the bases loaded for the second time in the game.
TCU’s inability to blow the game open early meant the Wildcats had a chance to claw back, despite falling behind 6-1 after four innings.
Josh Garcia, who earlier tripled and scored UA’s first run of the game in the bottom of the second, crushed a towering home run out of the park to left field to lead off the home half of the fifth frame. Later, Alex Mejia drove home Robert Refsnyder with two outs to cut the deficit to 6-3.
The Horned Frogs posted a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, but the Wildcats were quick to strike back in the bottom of the inning. A fielder’s choice groundout by Joey Rickard plated Seth Mejias-Brean, who reached on a single.
With two outs and runners at the corners, the Wildcats threatened to add more. Rafael Valenzuela laced a liner to left field, but Jason Coats made a diving catch for the final out of the inning, which stranded two runners.
In the bottom of the eighth, Arizona again scored a single run and had a chance for more. A sacrifice fly by Mejias-Brean brought home Jett Bandy, which left a pair of runners on base with two outs. Frenzel represented the tying run at the plate and worked the count full, but went down looking to end the inning.
TCU immediately put the game out of reach in the top of the ninth on Weik’s three-run home run. Weik finished the game 4-for-5 at the plate with two runs scored and six RBI to go with the two round-trippers.
Left-hander Matt Purke pitched 6.1 innings to earn the win for TCU as he improved to 13-0 on the season. He struck out nine, walked two and scattered six hits as he allowed four runs – three earned – in the game.
Tyler Lockwood pitched the final 2.2 innings for the Horned Frogs, working out of the seventh and eighth inning jams. He scattered five hits to go with one earned run allowed.
Arizona used a total of seven pitchers in the game, but only Simon and Cunningham pitched more than one full inning. The staff combined to walk nine batters in the game.
The Wildcats will face Baylor at 2 p.m. CDT (noon in Tucson) on Sunday in an elimination game. The Winner advances to play TCU in the regional championship later in the day at 7 p.m. CDT. Should the UA-Baylor winner advance and defeat TCU, it would force a second regional final on Monday in the double elimination format regional.
The Arizona-Baylor game will be broadcast live on KCUB 1290-AM in Tucson beginning at 11:50 a.m. MST in Tucson. If Arizona advanced to the nightcap against the Horned Frogs, that game, too, would be broadcast.