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February 23, 2013

Grand slam fuels Fullerton to second straight win over TCU

An eighth inning grand slam ended up being the difference Saturday afternoon as Cal State Fullerton beat TCU 6-2, taking the second game of the weekend series.

The Horned Frogs (0-5) remain winless on the season.

The Titans (7-0) held a 2-0 lead with one out in the eighth when Jake Jeffries homered off of Riley Farrell to extend CSF's lead. TCU had held the Titans scoreless to that point since the first inning.

Jefferies' blast proved to be the dagger.

"Just like a very, very good team does, when there's blood in the water, they finish it off," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "And that's what they did."

TCU scored two runs in the bottom half of the eight inning, as Brett Johnson, Paul Hendrix, Keaton Jones and Axel Johnson all singled.

Derek Odell singled with one out in the ninth, but that hit was followed by a strikeout from Jerrick Suiter and a line-out from Johnson.

Highlights: Cal State beats TCU 6-2, takes 2-0 weekend series lead



TCU collected six hits on the day, and its first three hitters -- Cody Jones, Jantzen Witte and Kevin Cron -- combined to go 0-for-12.

"Where we are right now, I got a really, really good group of guys that are trying really, really hard," Schlossnagle said. "We've certainly had our stretches like every other team where we lose several games in a row, but not to start the season. So I think guys are just trying really hard."

Farrell came in for starter Preston Morrison, who threw seven innings and made it into the eighth before giving up a leadoff bunt single.

Morrison started slow, walking Carlos Lopez and hitting Anthony Hutting, which on top of a leadoff error by Cron, led to two runs in the first inning.

But Morrison steadied himself, at one point retiring 12 batters in a row. Only three CSF batters reached base from the second through seventh innings.

"If you've seen Preston Morrison pitch, he never walks people. He never hits batters," Schlossnagle said. "He's always good in the first inning. Once he got through that, you saw who he was."

Schlossnagle said the Frogs' funk might have to be figured out by a pitcher.

"It's one of those things where we got to change the mojo and normally that gets done by a pitcher that goes out there and shuts them down for a while and gives us a chance to play for the lead," he said. "That's when you get into the private school deal, where we don't have extra scholarship money like some of the other private schools do so we've over-invested in pitching so the pitching gives us a chance."

At this point, it's been a matter of playing, not pressing, Schlossnagle said.

"That's the challenge and that's what we've been talking about for two days," he said. "There's a fine line between you know competing and trying too hard. You can't try and squeeze wine out of turnip. You have to find a way to compete, as well as let the game come to you."

The biggest challenge so far, obviously, has been on the offensive side of the ball, where only two players -- Jantzen Witte and Keaton Jones -- are hitting above .300. Cron, Odell, Suiter and Cody Jones are batting below .200.

"You're asking to fix the hardest thing to do in sports, and almost all of it is mental," Schlossnagle said. "It is what it is. They're going to have to figure that part out."

The two teams will meet again Sunday at 1 p.m. Freshman left-hander Alex Young will start for TCU.



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