June 7, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas - The Pepperdine baseball team couldn't come all the way back against TCU in game one of the NCAA Super Regional on Saturday, getting two late runs before falling short 3-2.
Chris Fornaci hit a two-run homer in the seventh to pull the Waves within one, but it wasn't enough to overcome a solid pitching performance from TCU starter Brandon Finnegan.
"You just have to tip your caps to them and move on to tomorrow," said Pepperdine Head Coach Steve Rodriguez. "We had a chance at the end to win the game, we just couldn't make contact. That's the game of baseball. This was a great game."
After pulling to within one, the Waves put runners on second and third with one out in the eighth after Austin Davidson (Oxnard, Calif./Oxnard HS) and Bryan Langlois (Oak Park, Calif./Oak Park HS) led off with singles and Aaron Brown (Chatsworth, Calif./Chatsworth HS) laid down a sacrifice bunt. Riley Ferrell entered the game for TCU, though, and shut the threat down, getting a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.
TCU struck first in the fourth, getting a two-run single from Derek Odell to take the first lead. The Horned Frogs loaded the bases with two outs and then Odell punched a ball into left field to plate a pair of runs. Dylan Fitzgerald grounded into a fielder's choice in the very next inning, scoring the third run of the game for TCU on the play as the home team went up 3-0.
It took until the seventh inning for the Waves to get to Finnegan, who gave up three hits and two runs in the game. The third of those hits was Fornaci's (Walnut Creek, Calif./De La Salle HS) homer that made it a 3-2 ballgame. Fornaci followed a Hutton Moyer (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic HS) walk with a towering fly ball that cleared the fence in left. It was his second of the season.
"We were right there all game," said Rodriguez. "Even when they got the two runs and then the third I felt like we were alright. The difference is we just couldn't capitalize like they did. This was too great ball clubs facing each other today and that's the kind of game you'd expect. We just need to execute better in a couple spots."
Starter Corey Miller (Laguna Niguel, Calif./JSerra Catholic HS) gave up 11 hits in the game, but limited the damage to just three runs, the third of which came on a failed double-play attempt. Miller stranded seven TCU runners on the day, exiting the game in the sixth inning. Ivan Dilda (Honolulu, Hawaii/Mid Pacific Institute) came in to get a double play to end the sixth and Matt Maurer (Medford, Ore./North Medford HS) tossed scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth.
"Corey battled all game long," said Rodriguez. "He worked his way out of some jams and kept us in the game the whole way. That's what we ask of him and he did it. We just have to be able to score."
The Waves (42-17) and TCU (46-15) will face off again tomorrow at 3 p.m. (PT) in game two of the Super Regional series. A win for the Waves would force a third game on Monday at 4 p.m. (PT) and a win for TCU would send the Horned Frogs to the College World Series. The entire series will be televised on ESPNU.