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Green takes no hitter into the ninth, Frogs sweep Lamar with 11-0 victory

Haylen Green was so close to history, but his 11 strikeout, complete game was still something special.

Haylen Green celebrates after finishing off a complete game shutout with a strikeout Sunday against Lamar.
Melissa Triebwasser

The Lamar Cardinal that leaned over to me after a leadoff base hit in the ninth ended Haylen Green’s bid for a no hitter had it right when he said, “that really sucks.” And while losing the no-no was certainly disappointing for TCU players and fans, the 11-0 win was ultimately more important to a team trying to make a push for the postseason with just seven games remaining.

Getting so close to making history was something that was on sophomore Haylen Green’s mind, but he did his best to ignore the opportunity as much as possible. “It popped in my head a couple times, but it was more of ‘why are you thinking about it, just stop!’ That’s how you jinx it, so I was just focusing on one pitch at a time, try not to think about it, just focus on throwing strikes.” His teammates were doing the same, leaving him alone, not talking to him, and trying to let him do his thing - as is baseball custom, of course. Green pitched the first complete game of his TCU career in his second start of the season, striking out eleven, walking just one, and allowing a lone single in the ninth. Since surrendering a solo shot in the top of the second a week ago, Green has gone 11.1 innings of two hit ball without allowing a run to score. It’s another impressive effort for a TCU pitching staff that has been lights out over the last week, sans a mini-meltdown in the ninth Saturday afternoon.

While it was certainly Green’s day, the offense did their part as well, putting up eleven runs behind him in the best offensive effort in weeks. Led by AJ Balta’s career high five RBI day, that included a three run home run in a six run fifth, the Frogs scored across four consecutive innings from the second through the fifth. The Frogs have enjoyed a power surge over the past eight games, hitting nine long balls in a span that has seen them win seven games, four of them shutouts. The Frogs collected 16 hits against seven different Cardinal pitchers, pouncing on a staff that had held them to just six runs in the first two games. Six Frogs had at least two hits, led by Josh Watson’s four, and Connor Wanhanen pitched in a pair. Balta’s five RBI came on three hits, and he scored three runs as well. Balta continues to be a huge piece in the lineup, offensively and defensively, and coach Jim Schlossnagle echoed that sentiment after the game. “I don’t know where we would be without him.” Balta, for his part, seemed to be more concerned with his responsibilities in the field than at the plate, with the opportunity for history ahead of him. “It’s obviously really fun watching Haylen do his thing, but you’ve got to stay focused out there with him striking everyone out, and not getting a lot hard hit balls. You’ve really got to stay on your toes.”

The Frogs will take the week off for finals before hosting WVU this weekend, their final home games of the season. They finish with a trip to SFA and a three game set in Austin, a crucial series that could go a long way toward determining their postseason fate. With the win, TCU goes to 27-18 on the season, 8-9 in conference play, and 20-8 at home.