This TCU offense is potent, and they showed that in a big way Saturday afternoon against the Nittany Lions of Penn State in Fort Worth. After being held to two hits Friday evening in a 6-3 season opening win, the Frogs exploded for 12 runs and 13 hits in game number two. Brian Howard was the same masterful pitcher that dominated 2016; after allowing the Nittany Lions to strike first in the opening frame on back to back two out hits, he settled into quite the groove, retiring 13 straight at one point and finishing with six innings of three hit ball and the single run early before giving way to freshmen Charles King and Austin Boyles to finish things out.
On the other side of the diamond, PSU used seven pitchers across eight innings looking for any answer against a TCU offense that was absolutely relentless from the second stanza. The Frogs put up four innings of crooked number scoring, starting with a three run second that was highlighted by Nolan Brown’s two run single. Brown wasn't done yet though, as he would finish the day with three hits and four RBIs. The Frogs would add a pair an inning later, on back to back sac flies by Josh Watson and Zach Humphreys - making his first career start for TCU at catcher. Schlossnagle went deep into his bench early this season, using Humphreys behind the plate, Mason Hesse at short, and bringing in Michael Landestoy to play second at the midpoint of the game. Trent Franson, Evan Williams, and Austin Ingraham also got some run in the blowout, while Hesse and Humphreys were key players in the fourth inning, a six run affair that blew the game wide open.
In that fateful sixth, Barzilli got things going with a one out single, advancing to second on a wild pitch and to third on Evan Skoug’s single. Luken Baker brought him home with a sac fly, and with two outs, Warner was plunked and Watson drew a walk. With the bases full of Frogs, Humphreys stood in and got hit as well, and Nolan Brown delivered the big blow with a two run single a batter later. Hesse followed suit with a two run base knock of his own, and all of a sudden it was 11-1 TCU.
While Howard continued to cruise along, the TCU offense slowed down just a bit, but not before Elliot Barzilli delivered the first #MashForMicah home run of the season. Barz’s blast made it 12-1 in the fifth, and allowed Schloss and the Frogs to breathe a little easier. Charles King made his TCU debut in the seventh, allowing a single to the first batter he faced but getting out of the jam and the inning with a double play ball and his first strikeout of the year. King got into a little trouble in the eighth, allowing a two out single and falling victim to a fielding error to put two runners on. But he was able to induce a grounder to third to end the inning and the threat, keeping the Nittany Lions at bay by staying ahead of hitters and hitting his spots.
After a quiet bottom of the eighth, another freshman took the mound, right hander Austin Boyles. Boyles did his job, opening things up with a three pitch strikeout and getting a pair of easy ones to wrap up the ball game and ensure a series win. Penn State finished the day with one run on five hits, while TCU - led by Nolan Brown’s three hit, four RBI, two runs scored day - had 12 runs on 13 hits and their first home run of the year. The Frogs will look to make it a sweep Sunday tomorrow, with highly-touted freshman Nick Lodolo taking the mound for the first time this year. Due to potential impending weather, first pitch will be at 11:00am, and the game will be shown on a one hour tape-delay on FSSW at noon.