Sports

Cron's first HR lifts TCU baseball past UT Arlington

Kevin Cron did not see his first TCU home run clear the wall in left field. He was busy digging for first and thinking about turning for two when he heard first base coach Tony Vitello cheering the ball leaving Lupton Stadium on Wednesday night.

For Cron and TCU, it was hopefully the first of many chances to see a shot off the freshman's bat leave the yard.

The sixth-inning, solo homer gave the Horned Frogs their first lead and propelled them to a 5-1 win over UT Arlington in front of 3,900.

"It was nice to be able to help the team, especially in a situation where it was a tie game," said Cron, who hit an Arizona record 28 homers last year as a senior at Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. "It put us up by a run; that was big. It felt pretty good."

It felt pretty good for TCU (17-13), too. The Frogs entered the game with just nine home runs.

UTA (21-13), which beat No. 2 Texas A&M on Tuesday in College Station, beat TCU March 27. UTA's rating percentage index was 45th in the country after its win over the Aggies; TCU was 51st. That was partly the reason for starting Stefan Crichton, who had been TCU's Friday starter the last month. Crichton held the Mavs to one run on four hits in four innings. He'll start Sunday against Air Force.

"UTA is good," coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "Other than Texas A&M, RPI-wise it's the best team we'll play the rest of the year. We're foolish not to pay attention to that."

TCU's bullpen, led by Brandon Finnegan (2 innings) and Justin Scharf (1 2/3 innings), held UTA to five hits and one walk over five innings. Finnegan, from Fort Worth Southwest, earned his first win.

"That's really a good sign for a bullpen that I think is already really good," Schlossnagle said. "You add two lefties to the mix of Scharf, Allen and Merck, I'm pretty fired up."

He's also fired up about Cron. "I've been saying if we can get that first one out of the way... we know he has special ability," Schlossnagle said. "Get him some confidence and a little bit of swagger."

Cron wasn't concerned about the lack of homers as long as he was hitting the ball well, but admitted he was relieved.

"They're one of the best teams in Texas right now," he said. "It was big for us to get this win and hopefully it will keep us on the right track."

Stefan Stevenson

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Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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