FORT WORTH, Texas — Timely plays and the right arm of Kyle Winkler guided the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs past No. 12 Cal State Fullerton Friday night. Winkler allowed an unearned run in 7 1/3 innings and Kyle Von Tungeln drove in a pair of runs to lead the TCU offense.
Winkler improved to 2-0 on the season with another dominating performance. He held the Titans to six singles, walked one and struck out two, while allowing an unearned in 7 1/3 innings of work. Erik Miller closed the door for his first save of the season, retiring all five batters he faced. He fanned three in 1 2/3 innings of work.
At the plate, Von Tungeln delivered two hits as did Jason Coats. Von Tungeln drove in two, while Jerome Pena and Taylor Featherston collected an RBI each.
The Horned Frogs looked like they were in business in the first inning after Brance Rivera led off the inning with a double and moved to third on a Jantzen Witte sacrifice bunt. Titan pitcher Noe Ramirez (1-1) worked out of the jam to keep it a 0-0 game.
Winkler was dealing as he retired eight of the first nine batters he faced. The lone batter to reach, Joe Terry, did so on an error in the second inning. Jimmie Pharr minimized the damage as he picked off Terry to end the second inning.
TCU finally broke through in the second inning, picking up a pair of runs on two hits and an error. Jason Coats drove the ball to the gap in left center for a lead-off double and cruised home on a triple by Pena to give the Frogs the 1-0 lead. Von Tungeln dropped down a perfect sacrifice bunt and was safe on the errant throw by the pitcher, putting the Frogs up 2-0.
Ramirez and Winkler went toe-to-toe for the next three innings, before Fullerton finally broke through with an unearned run in the sixth to make it a 2-1 contest. Anthony Hutting reached on a one out error and moved to second on a base hit by Richy Pedroza. A perfectly placed bunt by Austin Kingsolver loaded the bases with only one out. Nick Ramirez cut the Frog lead in half with a sacrifice fly. Winkler was able to wiggle out of the jam, getting Carlos Lopez to fly out to end the inning with the Frogs still up 2-1.
TCU padded its lead in the seventh as the Frogs took advantage of a lead-off single by Von Tungeln. Witte executed a hit-and-run to put runners on the corners with one out and Featherston sacrificed home Von Tungeln with the Frogs’ third run of the game.
The Titans attempted to mount a rally in the eighth inning with back-to-back base hits to open the inning. Kingsolver advanced the runners 90 feet with a sacrifice. Miller relieved Winkler and got Nick Ramirez to strike out on three pitches for the second out. He stranded the runners as he got Lopez to ground out to end the inning, preserving the 3-1 lead.
An unearned run in the eighth gave the Frogs a 4-1 advantage. Pena reached on a one-out error and moved to second on an Aaron Schultz base hit. Von Tungeln drove the ball to deep right, driving in Pena for the three-run lead. Miller set the side down in order in the ninth to lock up the victory for the Horned Frogs.
The Horned Frogs improve to 4-1 on the season. Steven Maxwell (0-0) will get the ball on Saturday for game two of the series. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. at Lupton Stadium.