Omaha, NE (Sports Network) – Freshman left-hander Matt Purke worked 6 1/3 impressive innings, while Jerome Pena and Taylor Featherston homered to keep TCU alive with a 6-2 win over UCLA Friday. The two teams have split a pair of games and will play an elimination game on Saturday afternoon with the winner advancing to the College World Series title series.
Featherston drew a bases loaded walk with two outs in the first to force in the game’s first run. The base on balls came one pitch after a foul pop landed in between three players along the right-field line.
TCU pushed its’ lead to 2-0 in the second when Pena’s blooper to left scored Aaron Schultz, who had led off the inning with a double.
Pena clubbed a home run to left field in the fourth that extended the Horned Frogs’ lead to 3-0, but UCLA answered back in the top of the fifth on a two- out, run-scoring hit by Brett Krill.
UCLA starter Rob Rasmussen was lifted after a one-out walk in the bottom of the fifth and wound up suffering the loss after yielding three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six. He had not pitched in 12 days since tossing a complete game victory over Cal-State Fullerton on June 13.
Purke was lifted with two runners on in the seventh and replaced by Tyler Lockwood, who issued a two-out walk to load the bases before Niko Gallego fielder’s choice grounder scored Cody Regis to trim the lead to 3-2. The right-hander then struck out Beau Amaral to end the inning and preserve the lead. Lockwood then threw scoreless relief in the eighth and ninth innings to earn the save.
Purke improved to 16-0 after allowing a pair of runs on three hits, while walking two and striking out two. He recorded 14 ground ball outs.
Featherston then slammed a two-run homer off Garett Claypool in the bottom of the seventh to give TCU a three-run advantage. Bryan Holaday belted a solo shot in the eighth for the final run of the game. It was also the 99th long ball of the season for the Horned Frogs to establish a school record.