TCU is still Pitching U, as Brian Howard and company reminded the world with a shutout victory over Loyola Marymount on Saturday afternoon, evening the series at a game a piece. Howard's six strong, combined with the typical brilliance of Preston Guillory out of the pen and the save by Brian Trieglaff, kept the Lions at bay despite the struggles of the Frogs offense.
After a very sloppy opening night, the Frogs played much cleaner Saturday, as the young team looks to find their rhythm in the infield and develop leadership across the diamond. It will be up to another young gun today, as true freshman Luken Baker takes the mound for his collegiate pitching debut. Baker, who is as nasty at the plate as he is on the mound, already has to starts under his belt, collecting two hits in eight at bats and scoring a run. The 2015 National Gatorade Player of the Year, Baker was 12-0 with a 1.02 ERA as a senior, while also batting .448 and smacking eight home runs.
Though TCU has outhit the Lions 20 to 10 over the course of the opening two games, those hits have not consistently turned in to runs, partially due to a strong wind blowing in, and partially due to the 'rookie mistakes' that can plague a young squad. The strong starts by junior Elliott Barzilli (4 for 7 with four singles) and freshman Josh Watson (3 for 7 with a triple and a run scored) bode well for the future as the lineup finds its groove in the box.
For Schlossnagle and company, the end game for Sunday is simply a win, and the chance to take the first series of the year against a strong squad from Southern California.