This game started out looking like it might be another Tuesday night run-rule game for the Frogs, but Abilene Christian proved that they weren't going down without a fight. Jamie Dixon, TCU's prodigal son and new head basketball coach, threw out the first pitch prior to the game. Wanhanen was back in the lineup tonight, seeing his first action since injuring his hamstring in the first game of the USC series a couple of weekends ago. Plunkett started in place of Skoug, but that was just to give him a rest ahead of TCU's weekend series against Texas. Skoug saw some action later in the game when they brought him in for an at-bat in the eighth.
In the bottom of the first ACU was clearly a little nervous about facing a top five opponent when they allowed Cam Warner to reach base on an error with one out. Wanhanen reached on a fielder's choice and Baker singled to score Warner and put the Frogs ahead 1-0. Watson grounded out next, advancing the runners to second and third before Barzilli was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Merrill came through with a single to score two more and stretch the lead to 3-0. Steinhagen followed that up with a three run homer to left field and before anyone knew what was happening TCU had a 6-0 lead. This one didn't require a review by the umpire either; it was gone.
TCU had their chances in the next few innings to add to that lead, but ACU refused to let themselves be blown out. The real story of the night was the great pitching performance delivered by Freshman starter Dalton Horton. In his fourth start of the season, Horton went six innings, allowing four runs (all earned) on five hits with 10 strike outs and only one walk. The final stat line was a little misleading though. All of the runs Horton surrendered came off two homers, a solo shot in the sixth and a three-run bomb with no outs in the seventh. He gave up a couple of hits to open up the seventh which led to the damaging home run. At the end of the sixth inning, he had only given up two hits and one run. It was a great start for Horton, but TCU just left him in a little too long and ACU got to him late. Getting six innings out of him tonight could still prove to be a huge benefit to TCU as they start their three game series on the road against Texas on Thursday night.
Guillory came on in the seventh to relieve Horton and showed that he is still having a little trouble locating his pitches. He allowed a couple of two out singles after a strike out and a foul out, but got a second strike out to end the inning and the threat. Jared Janczak came on to start the eighth and gave up a walk, but got through that inning with only 11 pitches thanks to some help from an inning ending double play. Feltman came on in the ninth inning throwing heat and earned his first save on the year by striking out the side. He was working his fastball around 95 mph, touching 97 mph at times, and utilizing his slider well on his second strike out.
While it got a little dicey in the later innings, the Frogs kept things rolling as they improved to 17-3 on the season and 13-3 at home. They have now won their last five games in a row and nine of their last ten. The lights actually went out at Lupton right after the seventh inning stretch and the game had to be delayed for about 30 mins. That might have helped TCU though, because it seemed to kill some of the momentum that ACU picked up in the top of the seventh. The Frogs will be back in action on Thursday as they head to Austin for their first road series of conference play. The series will be played Thursday through Friday due to Easter weekend. The Thursday and Friday games will be televised on the Longhorn Network and the Saturday game will be on FS1.