No. 6 TCU scored all five of its runs in the sixth inning and withstood a ninth-rally rally to defeat California 5-4 on Friday night and clinch the three-game nonconference series.
It was another solid performance by the Horned Frogs (39-13), who will go for the sweep Saturday afternoon (3:05 p.m.) as they tune up for the Big 12 baseball tournament, which starts Wednesday in Oklahoma City. The Frogs have won three straight after losing their final Big 12 series of the regular season, two games to one, at Oklahoma last weekend.
TCU trailed the Golden Bears 2-0 before Cam Warner got the Frogs on the board with a solo home run against starter Jared Horn, who had shut down TCU for the first five innings. Nolan Brown followed with a double, and Cal replaced Horn with Eric Martinez.
One out later, Ryan Merrill singled, pushing Brown to third. Merrill stole second, but Brown was thrown out at home on Josh Watson’s grounder.
Michael Landestoy then delivered with a two-run double to put TCU ahead 3-2. Austen Wade, whose double in the fifth inning went to waste, followed with a two-run home run.
Wade had gone 0 for 5 Thursday as he comes back from a layoff because of a bruised leg suffered in the series against Texas.
The Frogs found some power in a lineup that is playing without injured slugger Luken Baker, whose availability for the postseason is in doubt after he suffered a severe arm injury last weekend against Oklahoma.
Warner delivered on defense, too, ranging from his second base spot to catch a short liner for the final out of the game with the tying run on second in the ninth.
The Golden Bears had cut the deficit to 5-3 with a run in the seventh and then scored against closer Durbin Feltman in the ninth after a single and a double. Warner’s play snuffed out the final threat.
Brian Howard got the win for TCU, giving up three runs on eight hits through six-plus innings. He left in the seventh after two singles and an error put runners perched on second and third.
Cal Coughlin got a groundout with a run scoring and then finished off the seventh and the eighth in scoreless fashion.