HOUSTON, TX - TCU kicked off another appearance at the Shriners College Baseball Classic with a 10-6 win over Houston on Friday afternoon. It was TCU’s eighth consecutive win at the Shriners Classic dating back to 2014.
The Frogs led 9-1 heading into the eighth inning, but two shaky bullpen innings made things tense for TCU late.
TCU got another stellar outing from Nick Lodolo on Friday afternoon, as the junior left struck out 13 and carried a perfect game into the fifth inning. Lodolo struck out double-digit batters for his second-consecutive start and now has 23 strikeouts in his last 14 innings.
Hunter Wolfe returned for the Frogs after missing the past two games (including Wednesday’s no-contest against Sam Houston) because of a rolled ankle suffered Saturday night against Grand Canyon. He was quiet in his return going 0-2 from the plate, but he worked two walks.
Meanwhile, catch Zach Humphreys started at third base while Alex Isola started behind the plate. It’s assumed Humphreys got the start due to the matchup. Both Bobby Goodloe and Conner Shepherd are left handed hitters, and Houston started a lefty on the mound.
The Frogs jumped on Houston starter Tyler Bielamowicz early, thanks to a three-run blast from Alex Isola in the first inning. Isola’s home run, his third of the season came with Josh Watson and Jake Guenther on base after both guys singled.
The Frogs added three more runs in the fourth inning by way of another home run. Andrew Keefer, clearly jealous of all the other guys hitting dingers, got in on the action with an absolute moonshot that bounced off the train tracks in deep left field. The exit velocity was approximately 7,694 miles per hour. It was a rocket.
Meanwhile, Lodolo was cruising, using his slider with deadly effect throughout the game. At one point, over the course of the fifth and sixth innings, Lodolo recorded six straight outs by striking batters out.
Lodolo’s perfect game was lost in the fifth. After striking out the first two batters, Lodolo left a fastball up and Kobe Hyland slapped it out to left field. In response, Lodolo struck out the final batter of the inning.
Houston got on the board in the top of the seventh with a solo home run hit by Jared Triolo. If Lodolo has had one concern this year, it’s that he’s give up four home runs now in three starts.
TCU got that run back and then some in their half of the inning, though. Austin Henry hit a one-out triple to centerfield and was brought in when Jake Guenther singled. Guenther took a big turn around first, and was almost doubled off. Instead, though, he slid around a tag and reached second base. Alex Isola walked, and he and Guenther promptly executed a successful double-steal. Johnny Rizer walked to load the bases, and Andrew Keefer singled to left to score Guenther.
A sac fly from Conner Shepherd (who came on to relieve Humphreys at third) pushed the third run of the inning across to make the score 9-1.
Cal Coughlin coughed up two runs for TCU in the top of the eighth to bring the Cougars closer, and TCU added another run in the bottom of the eighth on a Johnny Rizer sacrifice fly.
Freshman Marcelo Perez came in to pitch the ninth, and promptly struck out two batters. Schlossnagle then chose to go to the bullpen again, calling on freshman Dawson Barr.
Barr gave up a double, a walk, hit a batter, and walked another to push across Houston’s fourth run of the night. Schloss then pulled Barr for Augie Mihlbauer, who immediately issued a four-pitch walk to score another run for the Cougars.
After that, Schloss pulled Mihlbauer in favor of Charles King. King got a ground ball, but Wolfe bobbled it and everyone was safe. The next batter took King all the way to the wall in centerfield, where Johnny Rizer made an incredible leaping catch to end the game.
TCU moves to 6-2 on the season with a 7pm game against Texas A&M waiting for them on Saturday night.
Check out Nick Lodolo’s thoughts after the game: