Feb. 27, 2010

FULLERTON, Calif. - The ninth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs rode a strong pitching performance from Steven Maxwell to defeat No. 6 Cal State Fullerton 5-2 Friday night at Goodwin Field. The redshirt junior carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, helping the Frogs to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1995. Jason Coats led the offense with a 3-for-4 day at the plate with two RBIs and a home run.

Maxwell (2-0) benefited from a strong defensive presence behind him as he held the Titans in check. In total, he allowed a run on two hits over 6 1/3 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. Tyler Lockwood allowed a run on a hit in 2/3 of an inning of work with a walk and a strikeout. Kaleb Merck picked up his first save of the season with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless work.

Highlighting some of the sparkling defensive play were Taylor Featherston, who made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the second inning and Kyle Von Tungeln, who snared a sinking line drive for the first out of the fifth inning.

After squandering a golden opportunity to jump out to an early lead in the second inning, the Frogs made the second such chance count. Coats got things going as he was hit by a one-out offering from Titan starter, Daniel Renken. Matt Curry followed with a line drive single up the middle. An errant throw by the center fielder allowed Coats to reach third base. Josh Elander broke the scoreless tie with a double of the left field wall. Jerome Pena smoked a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 and Aaron Schultz laced a run-scoring single down the right field line for a 3-0 Frog lead.

The Frogs tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Bryan Holaday became the fourth Frog to be hit by a pitch. He moved to third on base hit by Joe Weik and Coats doubled to bring in the run, making it a 4-0 contest.

Corey Jones broke up Maxwell's no-hitter leading off the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo home run to right field to cut into the Frog lead. An infield single from Billy Marcoe ended Maxwell's terrific outing. Tyler Lockwood did his job in relief, retiring the next two batters to end the inning without any further damage.

A crazy bottom of the eighth inning saw the Frogs narrowly escape with their two-run lead intact. Gary Brown led off the inning with a double and Austin Kingsolver drew a walk to put two on with nobody out. Trent Appleby retired the lone batter he faced, but both runners moved up 90 feet. Kaleb Merck replaced Appleby and allowed a sacrifice fly to make it a 4-2 game with two outs in the inning.

Fullerton looked like they had pulled within one when Jones was called safe on a high throw to first. After a conference between the umpires, Jones was called out and the Frogs came out of the inning with the 4-2 lead.

Coats belted a two-out home run in the top of the ninth to give the Frogs a big insurance run and a 5-2 lead. Merck went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to lock up the victory.

TCU improves to 4-0 on the season. The Frogs and the Titans will square off in game two of the series Saturday night at Goodwin Field. Matt Purke will take the ball for the Frogs and square off against the Titans' Noe Ramirez.