TCU struggled to figure out Rice starter Roel Garcia Tuesday night, as he and Garrett Gayle combined to allow just three hits and three runs to the usually potent TCU offense. Garcia was especially filthy, holding down the Frogs until Luken Baker broke through for a base hit in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Russell Smith struggled in his third career start, but wasn’t helped much by the defense. It all fell apart for the Frogs in the second. After opening the frame with a strikeout and fly out, Smith allowed a solo shot for the first run of the game. An error by Coby Boulware at second kept the inning alive a batter later, and Smith got roughed up from there. A double, hit by pitch, and triple made it 4-0, and ended Smith’s night. Jake Eissler relieved him and allowed an RBI single, but got out of the second with no further damage. The Frogs kept the Owls off the board into the sixth, but they had more than enough on the board in support of Garcia. The righty, who had just 5.0 innings of work under his belt all season, went 6.1 Tuesday night, allowing two runs on one hit, walking two, and striking out seven. TCU had no answer for him through the first six frames, but he started to wear down prior to be replaced by Gayle.
TCU got on the board with the help of the middle of the order, as Zach Humphreys led off with a walk, followed by Baker’s single. AJ Balta tripled the two runs home to cut into the deficit, and while they would add one more run an inning later, it was far from enough. TCU struck out 12 times on the night against five walks, and had just five hits. The entire offense struggled against some quality pitching, as Josh Watson (one for his last eight), Connor Wanhanen, and Michael Landestoy went hitless in the heart of the order.
The bright spot for the Frogs was the bullpen once again, as four pitchers held the Owls to just one earned run on five hits in 6.1 innings of work. Durbin Feltman pitched a 1-2-3 work, his first appearance since last Tuesday night against UTRGV.
TCU returns home ahead of a three game tilt with Minnesota, with first pitch Friday scheduled for 6:30pm.