It took 11 innings, but TCU Baseball finally scored in 2019.
After getting shut out against Cal State Fullerton Friday night, the Frogs gave Jared Janczak some early run support Saturday, plating three in the third on their way to a 9-4 win over Virginia. It’s the new faces that have been getting it done for TCU during the opening weekend, especially freshman Porter Brown and transfer Jake Guenther. Brown knocked in the first run of the season, doubling home Hunter Wolfe, only to be doubled home himself one pitch later by senior Josh Watson - who collected his first hit and first RBI of the year. Guenther, who had a lead-off triple in the second, only to be stranded there, finally got credit for an RBI himself on a groundout two batters later - the first baseman has four hits already, but had yet to score or score anyone else.
Meanwhile, Jared Janczak made his return after a 10 month hiatus, and looked like his old self in the process. JJ had three strikeouts through the first four frames, including one in a critical shutdown fourth frame. His teammates rewarded him with a four run frame in the bottom of the inning, taking advantage of a pair of two out walks in the process. Porter Brown, who had a massive night, started the party with a single to right, which Josh Watson followed with a two run knock of his own. Virginia responded in the top of the fifth, turning four walks, issued by three different pitchers, into three runs. Freshman right hander Spencer Arrighetti made his TCU debut in replacing Janczak, walking the first batter he faced and getting an out from the second. Sophomore Augie Mihlbauer, making his first appearance on 2019, also walked the first man he faced and allowed a two out single, but minimized the damage to make it 7-3 through four.
TCU got one back in the bottom of the fifth with an Andrew Keefer RBI, and Dalton Brown made his return from a nearly year-long injury absence and was nails on the mound. Brown went two full innings of scoreless ball, allowing three hits, striking out two, and walking none. He was relieved by true freshman Marcelo Perez, a player Jim Schlossnagle believes has a bright future. Perez got himself in a little trouble, allowing a pair of singles and hitting a batter, giving UVA a run back. But he got himself out of a jam, ending the game with a flourish and his first career K.
The lesson we can take from Saturday night is remember the name Porter Brown. The freshman may have locked up the lead-off role with four hits in five at bats, a pair of RBIs and a pair of steals, the Frogs have certainly found something special in the first year player. But Brown wasn’t the only Frog to have a good night; TCU saw three players have multi-hit nights (four from Watson - who also had three runs batted in - and two from Henry) and had 11 hits and eight RBIs in total from their first four hitters. The Frogs were 7-18 with runner in scoring position, struck out just six times on the night, and were 3-4 on steals. It was the kind of performance that can give a young, inexperienced team a big bump - something they will need with top ranked Vanderbilt on deck. The Commodores and Frogs face off at noon in their finales of the MLB4 Tournament.