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TCU 6, UC Irvine 2: Lodolo shines as Frogs capitalize on Anteaters’ mistakes

The Frogs were much more efficient on offense, backing up a 10 K performance by their starting pitcher.

Melissa Triebwasser

Fort Worth, TX - Nick Lodolo looked unhittable at times, as he held the UC Irvine Anteaters to just two runs (one earned) across six innings of work, striking out 10, walking two and scattering seven hits. Meanwhile, his offense gave him plenty of help, scoring six runs on ten hits and taking advantage of two untimely Anteater errors.

Saturday, it was Irvine taking the first lead of the game, as they scored in the top of the third thanks to a couple of hits and an error. After a lead-off single, Irvine attempted a bunt to move the runner over, but Colton Parrish (spelling Zach Humphreys behind the place) made a nice play to catch the ball in the air and eliminate any opportunity to advance. After a second single, UCI had runners at first and second, and an error by Danny Crews (getting his first work in the field of the season), loaded the bases. A fielder’s choice grounder plated the game’s first run, but there was controversy. The runner going from first to second never slid, leading Coach Schlossnagle to appeal for an interference call on what he felt would have been a double play ball. The umps convened, and appeared to agree, leading the Frogs to leave the field. But after another conversation, they overturned their overturn, and counted the Anteater run. Let’s go to the monitor:

Lodolo appeared temporarily rattled, walking the next batter he faced, but settled down to induce an inning ending groundout with the bases loaded.

It wouldn’t take long for the Frogs to strike back, as a big bottom half of the frame gave them a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The aforementioned Crews paid his penance by opening things with a lead-off double, and then the wheels came off for Irvine. Coby Boulware was able to reach base safely on a ball hit right back to the pitcher, who could not make the throw cleanly to first. Parrish followed with a bunt, and it could not have been a better one, leaving the Anteaters with no play, and loading the bases. After Connor Wanhanen struck out, Luken Baker ripped one up the gut, plating Parrish and Bouwlare and give TCU a 2-1 lead. The Anteaters committed a second error in the inning on Josh Watson’s grounder, unable to get Baker at second and bringing Crews home. Michael Landestoy kept the party rocking with a base hit of his own, and AJ Balta plated the fifth run of the frame with an RBI groundout to end the run.

With a 5-1 lead to work with, Lodolo got to work - throwing back to shutout innings and allowing just one run (on a solo shot to left) through six completed frames. He finished the day with ten strikeouts against seven hits and one earned run, and did an excellent job mixing his low-90’s fastball with some off-speed and breaking stuff that dropped into the low 70s. The Frogs got the impending run back with one more in the bottom of the fifth, scoring with two outs on three straight singles.

That would end the scoring for both squads on the day, as the TCU bullpen took over, throwing three scoreless innings to close out the game. James Notary threw a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out the side in the process, before being relieved by Cal Coughlin after allowing two straight base hits in the top of the eighth. Coughlin got a double play ball and a groundout to get out of trouble in the eighth, and turned things over to Durbin Feltman for the ninth. In his last appearance, Feltman loaded the bases against Long Beach State - though he didn’t allow a run - but he was much sharper against the Anteaters Saturday, allowing just one hit on a ball that took a bad hop on Oviedo, and starting things off with a K.

TCU plays the final game of the series Sunday at Lupton, with first pitch slated for 1:00pm. It is believed highly touted freshman Russell Smith will get the start for the Horned Frogs on #SweepSunday.