Aztecs Fall To TCU, 16-15, Despite Epic Comeback
May 24, 2012
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - In a contest that saw six lead changes and an epic comeback in the final inning by San Diego State, TCU scored twice in the bottom of the final frame to defeat the Aztecs, 16-15, Thursday afternoon in the opening game of the 2012 Mountain West Baseball Tournament in Las Vegas.
Trailing 14-4 heading into the final inning, SDSU scored 11 runs to take an improbable 15-14 lead. Those runs came on eight hits, an error, two hits batters, a pair of walks and two wild pitches.
Jomel Torres got the scoring started in the final frame with a two-run homer that came after Jake Romanski led off with a double. A ground out was followed by back-to-back singles by Greg Allen and Tim Zier before Chris Wilson hit a three-run bomb over the left center field fence, his 10th homer of the season.
A throwing error by the TCU catcher and a hit batter set the stage for an RBI double by Matt Muñoz that made it a 14-10 contest. Romanski added an RBI single, sending Muñoz to third. A wild pitch allowed Muñoz to score and sent Romanski to second. After Torres was hit by wild pitch, Dillon Bryant hit a chopper to third and all hands were safe as the throw to second was late and the bases were loaded. Another wild pitch moved the runners up a base with Romanski scoring to make it a one-run contest at 14-13.
Greg Allen was intentionally walked to load the bases and Tim Zier delivered a two-RBI single through the right side to give the Aztecs the 15-14 lead. The Frogs used four pitchers in the inning with Stefan Crichton, the normal Sunday starter, getting the final two outs to end the rally.
In the bottom of the ninth, Justin Hepner came on in relief and after striking out the first batter he faced gave up a solo home run to Kyle Von Tungeln that tied the game. After an ensuing single and double plus an intentional walk to load the bases, Brett Johnson lofted a bloop single over the drawn-in Aztec infield to bring home the winning run for TCU.
Johnson's hit made a winner of Crichton, who recorded the win to improve to 8-2 despite having given up the hit to Zier that put the Aztecs ahead in the top of the frame. Hepner took the loss to fall to 4-3.
San Diego State (24-33) took the early lead with a run in the top of the first as Greg Allen worked a seven-pitch walk, advanced to second on Tim Zier's sacrifice bunt and scored on Ryan Muno's two-out single to center. That run ended a streak of 25 straight scoreless innings for TCU starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan.
The Horned Frogs (36-17) answered in the bottom of the second, scoring three times on four hits, but San Diego chased Finnegan from the game in the fourth, scoring three runs to take a 4-3 lead. A leadoff single by Spencer Thornton and a walk to Seby Zavala ended the TCU starter's day as he gave way to reliever Trey Teakell after throwing a ball to Jake Romanski. Teakell proceeded to throw three straight balls and walk Romanski to load the bases. Jomel Torres then crushed a triple to the wall right center to clear the bases and allow his team to regain the lead.
The Horned Frogs got back on top again in the fifth as freshman Kevin Cron launched a three-run homer deep over the left field fence off Swanson after a single and a walk had put a pair of runners on base. TCU continued its scoring ways as it added three more in the sixth and five in the seventh to take a seemingly insurmountable 14-4 lead. Six of the Frog's 14 runs were unearned as the Aztecs committed a pair of costly errors.
TCU right-hander Trey Teakell was stellar in relief over the middle portion of the contest. After giving up the triple to Torres in the fourth, he faced only two over the minimum from the fourth through eighth innings before tiring in the ninth and being tagged for SDSU's first seven runs in the top of the ninth.
Torres was the hitting star for the Aztecs as he had the three-run triple and a two-run home for a career-high five RBI. Ryan Muno and Jake Romanski tallied two hits and an RBI each with the latter scoring three times. In addition, Greg Allen and Tim Zier also had a pair of single apiece with Allen scoring twice and Zier driving in two runs.
San Diego now awaits the result of the contest between UN LV and New Mexico with the Aztecs slated to meet the loser of that contest in an elimination game at 3:00 p.m. Friday afternoon at Earl E. Wilson Stadium.