The Owls have struggled so far this season, and that continued tonight during their visit to Fort Worth. TCU took advantage of those struggles early, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first two innings.
In the bottom of the first Wade opened things up with a single and, after a strikeout by Barzilli, Skoug put one over the fence in left to give the Frogs a 2-0 lead. Consecutive singles by Baker, Watson and Brown followed by a double from Warner made it a 4-0 TCU lead by the end of the inning.
This was all after TCU’s starting pitcher, Mitchell Traver, left the mound with one out left in the top of the first after signaling to the dugout. The coaches went out to the mound and talked it over with him before he left, and it appears that the move to take him out was just precautionary, but with Traver’s injury history it’s a little worrying. Hopefully, he is okay to come back and get a good start under his belt next week.
When your starting pitcher leaves the game after two outs, you don’t expect to beat your opponent by eight runs. That illustrates not only the depth of this TCU lineup, but their pitching staff as well. Freshman Jake Eissler came in to relieve Traver and earned the win with 2 1⁄3 innings of work in which he didn’t walk anyone, struck out one, and gave up four runs and one run on a home run to lead off the third.
In the bottom of the second inning the Frogs continued to pad their lead. TCU’s lineup produced two walks, two singles and a double, which thanks to two errors from the Owls, led to six runs and a 10-0 TCU lead. Over the course of the rest of the game the Frogs added three more runs on an RBI sac fly by Merrill in the fourth, a home run by Wade in the fifth and a single by Watson in the seventh.
TCU used seven total pitchers in this game and gave up a total of five runs (two earned) on nine hits, while striking out eight without issuing a single walk. Haylen Green came on in the fourth to relieve Eissler and pitched two innings. After that, Ryan Burnett, Cal Coughlin, Trey Morris and Austin Boyles got an inning of work apiece.
The three unearned runs scored by Rice came when Austin Ingraham, in as a defensive replacement for Nolan Brown, dropped a ball in center field on the run in a bases-loaded situation. That was one of two errors for the Frogs; the other was on freshman pitcher Cal Coughlin in the seventh.
Almost every TCU regular recorded a hit, and a lot of players got to see the field today, but a few really stood out. The home run from Skoug got things going and he finished going 1 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs. Baker was 3 for 3 with two runs, Watson was 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs, and Wade was 3 for 4 with three runs and one RBI.
The Frogs used more pitching than they would have liked to ahead of this weekend’s big matchup with three top-25 teams in as many days in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, but only one pitcher threw more than 30 pitches. That should keep most of them available at some point this weekend if needed.
TCU will begin the weekend by facing off against No. 4 LSU on Friday March 3rd at 7:05pm CT. The game will be televised on FS2.