Sports

Aggies rally late to knock off TCU, snap 5-game losing streak

Texas A&M scored two runs each in the eighth and ninth innings to beat TCU 4-1 Tuesday night in front of 5,412 at Lupton Stadium.

The Aggies (29-12), No. 9 in the Baseball America rankings, snapped a five-game losing streak with the win. TCU (23-15) has lost two in a row and hosts Manhattan for a three-game series this weekend.

Jantzen Witte gave the Horned Frogs a 1-0 lead in the fifth with his second home run of the season against first-time starter Daniel Mengden. It was the only hit the freshman allowed in six innings as he kept the TCU bats cool with eight flyouts and no walks. Kyle Martin (5-3) earned the win with five strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings of one-hit relief.

"He threw strikes and we were really aggressive," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said of Mengden. "We were swinging early in the count, but that's what we planned to do. We hit some balls hard but right at them."

Mengden wasn't the only freshman dealing on the mound. Southwest High School ex Brandon Finnegan held the Aggies scoreless through 5 1/3 innings in his first start since March 25. It was Finnegan's best outing at TCU. He allowed three hits and struck out three.

Justin Scharf took over with one out in the sixth after Finnegan issued his fourth walk to leadoff hitter Scott Arthur. In the seventh, Scharf escaped after two two-out singles when he struck out Mikey Reynolds looking.

In the eighth, Scott Arthur led off with a single and Kevin Allen replaced Scharf in what figured to be a bunt situation.

Instead, Chance Bolcerek, who had replaced Aggies right fielder Tyler Naquin in the fifth (for a lack of hustle on a groundout according to Aggies coach Rob Childress), tripled to deep right-center, scoring Arthur to tie the game 1-1. Matt Juengel's single to left scored Bolcerek to give the Aggies the lead.

After an infield hit, Allen struck out two and forced a groundout to keep it at 2-1. The Aggies added two more runs with two outs in the ninth against the Frogs' usually reliable bullpen.

"It was the most important win for us with where we were," Childress said. "Things weren't going our way for the last six games. For us to come in here and get a win was very, very important for the rest of the season."

TCU's offense was held to three hits, including two by Witte. Kyle Von Tungeln singled with one out in the ninth but was forced out on a close play at second. Jason Coats, who hit the ball hard in two previous at-bats, struck out to end the game.

"We played well, we just didn't get the hits when we needed," Witte said. "Coats hit the ball hard every at-bat but nothing fell for him."

TCU's offense was stifled by the Aggies, who didn't walk a batter.

"In this park offense is somewhat created by mistakes defensively and free base runners and neither team did that tonight," Childress said. "It was a well-played, well-coached game."

Said Schlossnagle: "We haven't been able to consistently get guys in the middle of the order hitting the way they are capable of at the same time. That'll come. I still believe our best baseball is ahead of us."

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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