Thank God that road trip is over. TCU had about the worst trip to California that anyone has ever had this weekend. A day removed from watching their No. 1 ranking slip away after losing the weekend series to UC Irvine, absolutely nothing went right for the Horned Frogs in Long Beach. Well, Brian Howard had a great inning of work to start. A couple of things went well, but its hard not to call this road trip a disaster at this point.
Howard did open the game with a three-up-three-down first inning, which was encouraging considering his first inning struggles in his last two starts. It looked like the coaches just wanted to get him some work after a short start on Saturday, and he was relieved by Dalton Horton to start the second.
After two strong innings of work Horton allowed a lead off single to start the fourth... followed by a triple... and then a home run. Just like that it was 3-0 Dirtbags and that score held up for most of the game. Horton stayed on the mound through the end of the fifth, and Sean Wymer came on to throw two innings of one-hit ball in relief.
TCU had a chance to get something going when Austin Wade doubled to lead off the eighth inning, but a groundout from Warner followed by strikeouts by Skoug and Baker left Wade stranded at third. Then, heading into the bottom of the eighth, things began to go even further off the rails.
The Frogs brought in closer Durbin Feltman, who had a 0.0 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched, to start the bottom of the eighth in an attempt to keep the game close enough for a comeback. After striking out the first batter he faced, Durbin hit the second, allowed a single to the third and then threw a wild pitch to the fourth before intentionally walking him. After that he walked in a run to make it 4-0 Dirtbags before a fielding error by Barzilli allowed three more runs to score to make it 7-0. All that bad stuff happened in between Feltman striking out the side.
Although Josh Watson was able to get to second with no outs in the top of the ninth, that was followed by three straight outs to end the game. TCU’s lineup combined for a total of 15 strikeouts and managed just five hits in the game as the Long Beach State kept them off balance with a combination of five pitchers seeing action.
The Frogs will open Big 12 play on Friday at Lupton Stadium as they face Kansas in a three game series. The games are scheduled for 6:30pm on Friday, 5:00pm on Saturday and 1:00pm on Sunday. All times are CST and the Saturday and Sunday games will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest. Until then, so long California, and good riddance, Dirtbags.