TCU scored in the first inning for the first time this season in a 17-3 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They were able to put up two runs in that frame and, at the time, they needed both of them. Arkansas-Pine Bluff put up a three spot on Freshman Devon Roedahl in his first ever collegiate start. Roedahl only threw 12 pitches in that inning, but gave up a few quick singles that eventually turned into a bunt-fest by the Lions and an error by TCU which all helped to push those runs across.
On the whole, Roedahl pitched alright in his first start, going three innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits with two strike outs, no walks and one hit batter. Schloss has said that he hoped to get some quality innings for some of his freshmen bullpen guys, and that all worked out pretty much exactly like he drew it up. Fellow freshman Dalton Horton relieved Roedahl and went two scoreless innings allowing two hits, one walk and striking out one. As a big-time Swayze fan, I love anyone named Dalton and wouldn't you know it, this team has two of them! Freshman Dalton Brown came in for the ninth and pitched a perfect inning in that frame to secure the win.
In-between the two Daltons, Ryan Burnett, Sean Wymer and Mitch Sewald each got to pitch one inning of relief. None of them gave up any runs or hits. Burnett looked really sharp pitching the top of the sixth in what, at that point, was still a competitive 4-3 game. He is already establishing himself as one of the go-to veterans on this pitching staff as a redshirt sophmore. After Burnett left the mound though, things started to get really out of hand for the Lions.
Barzilli, who had another monster day (4-5 at the plate) opened up the bottom of the sixth with a double, then advanced to third on a wild pitch. After a strike out by Ryan Johnson, Hesse scored Barzilli on a double of his own. Wanhanen singled next to put runners on the corners with one out. When Wanhanen successfully stole second base, you kind of had a feeling things were going to go our way. Seriously, we have not had a lot of luck at stealing bases so far this season.
After another strikeout, Skoug was up with two outs and hit a chopper to short. The shortstop went to first to get the out, but the throw was off causing the first baseman to come off the bag towards Skoug and the two collided into eachother hard. The ball got away from the UAPB first baseman, allowing both Wanhanen and Hesse to score, and Skoug scrambled his way to the bag before collapsing. The UAPB first baseman also went down and after a scary couple of minutes, both players got up under their own power and walked to their respective dugouts. They both appeared to be shaken, but okay, and it appears that even though both were removed from the game, it was just a precautionary measure.
Immediately after that, Baker was hit by a pitch and Josh Watson tripled down the right field line scoring both Baker and Plunkett (in for Skoug). Steinhagen was then hit by a pitch in the next at bat to put runners on the corners again. Then Barzilli, who has been by far the hottest hitter on the team this year, sent one over the CWS logos in left field for a three run homer. That made it 12-3 and UAPB never seriously threatened to get back into it. Another offensive explosion in the eighth inning widened TCU's lead to 17-3 which turned out to be the final score.
Over the weekend we saw a lot of good hitting, just not strung together in succession the way you need it to be to score runs. Tonight, they made up for all of that and then some. We knew this team would be talented offensively, but the question was whether or not we had the pitching depth to truly compete with only one returning starter (who is injured) and nine freshmen in the bullpen. So far, the bullpen has been the strength of this pitching staff. They'll still need time and innings to develop, but I for one am really excited at their potential.
The true test for this young team will come this weekend, when we face Louisiana-Lafayette, Rice and Houston all in consecutive days as part of the Shirner's Hospitals for Children College Classic. The games will be televised on MLB network, so don't miss that.