FORT WORTH, Texas The University of Utah's surge through the Mountain West Conference baseball tournament came to an end Friday afternoon as TCU dealt the Utes a 6-3 loss in the consolation bracket.
Utah was eliminated with its second loss of the tournament, while the Horned Frogs advance to the MWC championship game to face New Mexico Friday evening.
Utah, the No. 5 seed in the tournament, raced out to a 2-0 lead against the top-seeded Horned Frogs. The Utes had an RBI triple from Nick Kuroczko in the second inning and an RBI single from Jesse Shriner in the third.
But TCU rallied to score the next four runs of the game to go ahead, and Utah never scored again.
The fifth-seeded Utes completed the tournament with a 3-2 mark and a third-place finish, the most conference tourney wins and highest finish ever by a Utah team.
Utes' starter Kerr Foster took the loss, as the senior right-hander allowed three earned runs, five hits and a walk in three innings.
In all, TCU tagged Utah's pitchers for 10 hits, while the Utes finished with eight. Shriner went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Kuroczko and Dustin Hennis had the Utes' other RBIs.
SOUTHERN UTAH 4, CENTENARY 1: At Tulsa, Okla., Southern Utah starter Mac Nelson pitched a complete-game three-hitter as the Thunderbirds captured a 4-1 win over the Centenary Gentlemen on Friday to stay alive in The Summit League Baseball Tournament.
SUU advanced to play a third game later Friday night against either Western Illinois or Oral Roberts.
SUU improves to 30-27 on the year, while the Gents end their season with a 30-26 record.
Centenary scored the first run of the game after playing some small ball with sacrifice bunts leading to a run in the bottom of the second. The Thunderbirds answered with two runs of their own in the top of the third to take a 2-1 lead.
Nick Freitas was intentionally walked with men on second and third and one out, as the Gents hoped to turn a double play to end the inning. However, SUU took advantage of the opportunity and Bucky Aona dropped a two-run single just beyond the infield in center field.
Nelson continued to pitch well through the rest of the game, allowing only single hits in the bottom of the fourth and ninth innings while retiring 13 batters in order in between.
Southern Utah added two more runs to pad its lead in the top of the eighth inning, as Freitas and Aona collected one-out singles. Following a stolen base by Freitas and a wild pitch that advanced Aona to second base, Chester Wilson came to the plate and singled down the left-field line, scoring both base runners for the eventual 4-1 outcome.
Nelson's victory marked his seventh of the season, and the senior is now 7-2 on the year, while Centenary's Boone Whiting took the loss.
Freitas made his mark in the Southern Utah history books during the game with his record-breaking 34th stolen base of the season, breaking the record of 33 set by Charlie Hahl during the 2006 season.