Coming off of a 1-3 trip to California, TCU baseball needed to right the ship. Taking 2 of 3 from Kansas was something to be expected (if not a slight disappointment because of dropping Sunday’s game), because the Jayhawks have found themselves in the lower half of the conference standings in recent history.
However, a good showing against elite foe Oklahoma State would absolutely be something to propel this team confidently into the heart of their conference schedule. That is exactly what happened, as TCU swept Oklahoma State out of Lupton Stadium with a 5-1 victory on Sunday, pushing their record to 17-5 overall, and 5-1 in conference play.
Starting pitching held their own
All three weekend starters (Janczak, Lodolo, and Howard) all went at least five innings, and combined for 20 strikeouts in 17 total innings pitched, with a 3.18 ERA. Janczak and Howard both worked to minimize damages in innings where things began to get away from them, with Janczak giving up three runs in five innings on Friday, and Howard allowing just one run in seven innings of work on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Lodolo dazzled for five innings on Saturday, allowing just two hits and three baserunners, before giving up three runs in his sixth and final inning of work (an inning in which he did not record an out, thus, he is marked as pitching 5.0 innings).
It’s a good sign for things moving forward that every weekend starter showed what he was capable of. If they give those performances consistently, minus some of the miscues, this will be one of the most dominant staffs in the country over the course of conference play.
The bullpen refused to be outdone
Seven different TCU pitchers came on in relief situations over the weekend, and they combined for a 1.80 ERA over 10 innings pitched, with 10 strikeouts.
Durbin Feltman recorded his fifth and sixth saves of the season, making him a perfect 15-for-15 on save attempts in his young career. Jake Eissler came on in a pressure situation on Sunday (two on, no outs) and said, “you will get nothing and like it” to the three batters he faced, recording his first career save.
The bats woke up a bit
TCU was hitting .251 as a team entering the weekend, a number that was far below last season’s average at this point in the season. While there are a number of factors that play into that, the Frogs hit .272 (27-for-99) as a team over the weekend, scoring 18 runs. Yes, the six runs per game is below their season average, but the jump in batting average is a good sign.
Evan Skoug batted .363 (4-11) on the weekend, with six RBI and two runs scored, and Cam Warner batted .385 (5-13), raising his average to .282 on the year.
Is Landestoy in line for more PT?
Two guys who continuing to struggle, though, are Connor Wanhanen and Elliott Barzilli. The two combined to go just 2-for-18 over the weekend, with Barzilli going hitless in 12 at bats.
Barzilli continues to be a stud defensively though, with just three errors on the season, but Wanhanen showed a bit of a brain fart Sunday, forgetting how many outs there were in the third inning, turning a double-play into a fielder’s choice. That runner would come home to score for Oklahoma State, tying the game at the time.
Meanwhile, Mike Landestoy showed out in limited time, making a dazzling defensive play on Sunday in relief of Wanhanen, and reaching base twice in three plate appearances over the weekend.
While coach Schlossnagle is known for giving guys time to work their way out of a slump, it’s possible we could see more of Landestoy at first base as Wanhanen works to figure things out at the plate.
With the home runs by Baker, Skoug, Brown, and Warner over the weekend, TCU now sits with 20 home runs on the season. That brings the pledge amount for Mash For Micah to $16,810 pledged.
I know that people have already begun to pay their pledges incrementally, to either TCU’s scholarship fund in Micah’s name, or Micah’s foundation at Cook Children’s Hospital. If you feel like doing that as well, let us know so we can keep track of the dollar number that has been paid out already (do so over email or DM if you want to keep that private, that’s totally fine). We’d like to update with an “already donated” dollar amount relatively soon.
The Frogs play two mid-week games at Lupton against UT Rio Grand Valley (16-11, 0-3 WAC) on Tuesday and Wednesday, before heading to Manhattan to battle Kansas State (15-9, 0-3).