FORT WORTH, Texas – Pepperdine’s late rally was shut down as TCU’s sophomore closer Riley Ferrell struck out four of the five Waves’ he faced pitching a perfect inning and two-thirds for the save to secure the opening game 3-2 win in the Fort Worth Super Regional for the Horned Frogs on Saturday.
TCU starting pitcher junior Brandon Finnegan pitched well and kept Pepperdine off the scoreboard for six innings while the Horned Frogs’ offense built a lead. Finnegan worked around a baserunner in all but two of the innings he pitched with seven strike outs.
In the second, junior Kevin Cron led off with a single on a line shot that was nearly nabbed on a slided by Pepperdine left fielder Brandon Caruso. Garrett Crain then hit a doubled into the corner but Cron was thrown out at third by Caruso as he tried to get to third. Crain would then be caught stealing on a ball in the dirt as Aaron Barnett gunned him out sliding into third.
These miscues on the bases would cost the Horned Frogs as Junior JerrickSuiter and senior Dylan Fitzgerald hit back-to-back singles before Pepperdine senior starting pitcher Corey Miller got a fly out to end the inning and keep TCU from scoring.
Cody Jones and Derek Odell hit consecutive one-out singles and Boomer White drew a walk to load the bases with one out in the third but again fell short of scoring as Cron popped up the first pitch he saw to short and then Crain hit a soft line out to right to end the scoring threat as Miller wiggled out of another jam.
Miller would however load the bases for the second straight inning as TCU rallied with two outs behind two singles by junior Keaton Jones and senior Kyle Bacak and then Cody Jones was hit by a pitch. Odell then sliced a two-run liner to left that scored Jones and Bacak, Caruso misplayed the liner an allowing both runners to advance into scoring position. Miller would get a fly out to end the inning.
Cron then drew a lead-off walk in the fifth and was driven as Fitzgerald reached on a fielder’s choice to extend the lead to 3-0 for the Horned Frogs. After Miller started the next inning with a pair of walks and a strike out the Waves turned to southpaw Ivan Dilda who got a double play ball to end the sixth.
Pepperdine would finally grab some runs against Finnegan in the seventh as sophomore Chris Fornaci hit a 2-and-0 delivery into the pen in left for a two-run homer to cut the lead to 3-2. The Horned Frogs turned to red shirt junior Trey Teakell who closed out the seventh before getting into a eighth inning jam with one out and tow runners in scoring position.
In came Ferrell to close out the game and earn the five out save that gave TCU a 1-0 lead in the Super Regional.