Sports

TCU sweeps Falcons as baseball race heats up

Josh Elander insists his teammates arrive at the ballpark with the same demeanor in good times and bad.

"Whether we've won 10 in a row or lost 10 in a row, it doesn't matter," Elander said. "We prepare the same every day."

That may be true, but winning has to make it a lot more fun. And the Horned Frogs have been having fun the last week.

TCU (20-13, 9-3 in the Mountain West) won its sixth consecutive game and swept Air Force with a 6-2 win Sunday in front of 3,720 at Lupton Stadium.

The Frogs moved into a tie with New Mexico (17-18, 9-3) for first place in the MWC, two games ahead of San Diego State (18-20, 7-5). The Lobos took two of three from TCU in March. TCU hosts New Mexico May 4-6. The Frogs close out a 12-game homestand against Louisiana-Monroe at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and begin a three-game series Friday at San Diego State.

Winning the conference is the goal, but at the moment, TCU is mostly concerned with compiling wins, no matter the opponent or what it takes.

For instance, Air Force starter Evan Albrecht pitched a solid game Sunday, holding the Frogs to six hits over eight innings. But TCU made him pay on two of them. Elander's three-run home run in the third gave the Frogs a 4-1 lead.

"I didn't think it was going to go," Elander said. "Luckily, for once, the Lupton wind was on our side. We'll take anything at this point."

Jantzen Witte had three hits and scored three runs, and put the Frogs up 6-2 with a solo home run in the eighth.

Although limited to six hits, the Frogs continued with timely, two-out hits. Jason Coats, who has missed the last three games with an oblique strain, likely won't return until the weekend series in San Diego. His return bodes well for the Frogs' resurgent bats.

"Jantzen is swinging the bat and you get a little bit of depth to our order, and then you get Coats back and it has a chance to be pretty fun," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

The Falcons (8-25, 3-9) had 11 hits, nine against starter Stefan Crichton (5-0) and made it 4-2 with a run in the fourth. Crichton handed a 5-2 lead to his bullpen in the seventh. Brandon Finnegan and Kevin Allen were strong again in relief, and Kaleb Merck pitched a perfect ninth.

"We definitely try to take it one game at a time, especially this year we've gone through, struggling at times," Witte said. "We're playing well. Timely hitting and defense is what we try to base our team on, and right now we're doing that really well, and we're trying to keep that going."

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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