SCOTTSDALE, AZ - Friday afternoon’s performance did little to alter preconceived notions about #16-ranked TCU Baseball heading into the season. TCU’s pitchers - starter Nick Lodolo and relief man Charles King combined for 8 innings of two run ball, and the lineup left 12 men on base en route to a blank scoreboard.
Lodolo, entering his junior season with high expectations and a bit of a national spotlight, started out his afternoon on the rocky side; A leadoff walk in the first erased by two ground balls, a leadoff homer in the second followed by two ground-outs and a strikeout, and two third inning singles scored the Titans’ second and final run. After the second run, Lodolo retired 7 straight batters, leaving the fourth and fifth innings with no baserunners. On the day, Lodolo induced 9 ground outs in five innings, striking out two and walking one. At times a bit erratic, Lodolo found his grove late in the third inning.
Charles King came in on relief duty, and he succeeded in his task of keeping the lead to two runs. King pitched three scoreless innings, allowing no runs on three hits, striking out three in the process. That’s a lot of threes. Fullerton capitalized on their chance in the third. The Titans only stranded four baserunners, only stringing together multiple hits in the third inning and again in the eighth. All in all, Lodolo and King performed admirably, and left a lot to be encouraged about in their two-run performance.
On the hitting side of things, the Frogs seemingly had no answer to the question on all out minds - “Who will hit?”. Leader Josh Watson (LF) walked twice and struck out once, leaving two men on base in a hitless performance. Behind him, in the cleanup spot, JUCO transfer Austin Henry went 1-5 and left six men on base, despite getting the only extra base hit TCU had all night. Zach Humphries’s bat was notably absent this evening - the junior catcher was held hitless, too. Freshman Bobby Goodloe filled in for the unavailable Adam Oviedo at third admirably, going one for three with a walk. Fullerton’s Tanner Bibee gave the Frogs their chances - three walks and six hits in six innings, but TCU came up short with runners in scoring position.
This is disappointing result for the Frogs to start the season, for sure, but a two run performance against one of the nation’s top teams is an encouraging bright spot for the pitching. As for the bats, we’ll see if the Frogs can shake off the 2018 funk and if Friday was a fluke down game tomorrow at six, when the Frogs take on the unranked Virginia Cavaliers.