May 18, 2006
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - TCU went all out to clinch the Mountain West Conference regular season title, beating New Mexico 15-2 today at Isotopes Park. The loss, the Lobos' fifth straight, drops them to 28-25 overall and 10-10 in the MWC while TCU improves to 33-21 overall and 15-5 in the MWC, claiming the crown in its inaugural season in the MWC.
It was a pitcher's dual after two with both team's pounding out just one hit. But seven hits by the Horned Frogs in the third led to seven runs, giving ace Jake Arrieta a comfortable lead. First baseman Chad Huffman and left fielder Keith Conlon singled for two RBIs each.
Conlon doubled to the gap in left center, plating two of TCU's four runs in the fourth. And Huffman belted a two-run home run to left in the fifth, extending the lead to 13-0. Backup catcher Hunt Woodruff led off the sixth with a homer to left.
Not wanting to tire out Arrieta, TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle brought in Sunday's projected starter, Sam Demel, to start the seventh. With two outs, Demel hit junior designated hitter Chris Carlson and then surrendered a two-run bomb to right field to sophomore third baseman Ian Hollick on the very next pitch.
But after the seventh, Demel settled in, allowing just two hits en route to his fifth save of the season. Arrieta improved to 12-4 with the win, giving up just two hits, one walk and three strikeouts in 6 innings. Senior Jesse Perez (2-3) suffered the loss, allowing 10 hits and two walks for 11 runs with two strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
The Horned Frogs outhit the Lobos, 16-8. Hollick was the only Lobo with multiple hits, going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored. Huffman was 2-for-3 with four RBI and three runs scored while Conlon went 2-for-4 iwth four RBI and a run scored to lead TCU.
The series resumes tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Isotopes Park. Junior southpaw Danny Ray Herrera (9-0, 2.36 ERA) is slated to throw against Brad Furnish (6-5, 4.55 ERA).