TCU overtakes Hawai'i, 6-5, on last at-bat
|||UH delays baseball hiring until after season|
It was a rally-scoring kind of day.
Texas Christian scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the University of Hawai'i, 6-5, yesterday in Western Athletic Conference baseball at TCU Diamond in Fort Worth, Texas.
The comeback spoiled the Rainbows' rally from a 4-1 deficit entering the eighth. They scored three in the eighth to tie and one in the ninth to take the lead. But Tom Bates' two-out RBI single capped a two-run ninth for the Horned Frogs (25-17, 15-8 WAC).
It was the final conference meeting between the two programs; the Horned Frogs join Conference USA next season. TCU took two of three in the series and five of six for the season. The Rainbows (18-22, 8-16) travel to first-place Rice for a three-game series starting Thursday. Rice has a 12-game lead over UH with 12 conference games to play.
After being handcuffed by TCU starter David Tombrella for seven innings, the Rainbows finally chased him in the eighth. Lane Nogawa led off with a single and took second when Gregg Omori was hit by a pitch. Patrick Scalabrini sacrificed the runners into scoring position, and Danny Kimura followed with a two-run double to make it 4-3.
Reliever Patrick Newburn came in and struck out pinch-hitter Ryan Anderson, but allowed an RBI single to Kevin Gilbride to tie the score at 4.
In the ninth, Newburn allowed a one-out walk to Arthur Guillen. Stan Newton replaced Newburn and got Matthew Purtell to ground out to third on a hit-and-run play that moved Guillen into scoring position. Nogawa singled to center to put UH ahead 5-4, but was thrown out trying to reach second on the throw home.
Chad Giannetti, pressed into early relief of starter Wakon Childers, retired the first two TCU batters in the ninth, then walked Terry Trofholz on four straight pitches after a first-pitch strike. That brought UH acting coach Carl Furutani to the mound. He elected to leave Giannetti in, and Erick Macha followed with a double to score Trofholz with the tying run.
Left-hander Aaron Pribble was summoned from the bullpen to face the left-handed hitting Bates, who grounded an 0-1 pitch up the middle to score Macha with the winning run.
Furutani stayed with Giannetti then went with Pribble because closer Bryan Lee was tired. Lee had made relief appearances on consecutive days. Furutani said he asked Lee before the game how he felt, and Lee told him, "I might have one inning." That wasn't enough assurance for Furutani.
Childers lasted only two innings, allowing two runs and two hits, after experiencing discomfort in his throwing arm because of the position he had slept in the night before. Giannetti kept it close for six innings, allowing just one run and taking a 5-4 lead into the ninth.
The Rainbows play nationally ranked Rice next. The Owls are No. 2 in the Baseball Weekly/ESPN Top 25, No. 4 in Baseball America and No. 8 in Collegiate Baseball.
Giannetti is likely to start Saturday's game, Furutani said. It is mainly a precaution for Childers, who had two strong outings before yesterday after making a comeback from elbow surgery that benched him the entire 2000 season. Furutani said Giannetti has been pitching well lately and is the first pitcher he would use in spot starts.