Eastern Michigan came in to Lupton Stadium overmatched; just 3-13-1 on the season heading into their series with the #20 Horned Frogs, the Eagles lost their first two games of the series 12-2 and 16-4 respectively.
Sunday wasn’t much different.
The Frogs got on the board in each of the first two innings in support of starter Brandon Williamson, as Zach Humphreys doubled and scored on Alex Isola’s groundout and Johnny Rizer picked up his second home run of the season, a solo shot to right. It was the 18th long ball TCU has hit in 2019, nearly half of what they had all last year - and conference play hasn’t even started. But Jim Schlossnagle wasn’t happy with the long ball - mostly because of how Rizer reacted, with an emphatic bat flip. “I told the team, I’m super disgusted. We were obviously the better team, but I thought they played harder and they played with more class.” There was another moment late in the game that drew his ire, when Rizer and Austin Henry executed a double steal, up ten, in the bottom of the sixth. Needless to say, Schloss wasn’t pleased with that, either. “I don’t know what they were doing, running up ten - they completely did that on their own. We have some players - they’re talented, but their baseball IQ and their ‘feel’ for the game is very lacking. So that’s going to have to improve over time.”
Despite the moments of “showing up” a lesser opponent, there was plenty of positives to take away from the game, and the series as a whole. Brandon Williamson had another solid outing, going 5.0 innings and throwing only 70 pitches in the process. “I thought Brandon was good - economical with his pitches, that’s been one of his challenges.” Because it was a run rule game, Schloss pulled the lefty after five frames, but sent him back to the pen to get some extra work in. “We need to be able to have him go seven or either innings at some point. He did a really good job throwing strike one - thought he was trying to match Lodolo in that way.” Williamson had never done that before in his career, at any level, but took the opportunity to work on his curveball and changeup, having changed his grip heading into the weekend.
Having settled into the Sunday role, a job he’s grown to enjoy as it “I like it actually. Obviously wouldn’t mind pitching any day, but I like watching, seeing what teams do, what we do, soak it all in.”
The hitting was good Sunday as well, as it had been all weekend - TCU pounded 12 hits Friday and Sunday bookending 21 Saturday night. Sunday’s effort was a well-rounded one - ten different Frogs collected hits, seven had at least one RBI, and eight different players scored. The bulk of the damage came in a seven run seventh, when the Frogs sent 13 players to the dish on their way to putting the game out of reach.
Jake Guenther led off the frame with a hit by pitch - the only Frog starter to not register a hit, he was on base twice in the inning and scored once. Henry singled and Rizer reached on an error, and doubles by Andrew Keefer and Josh Watson booked ended a Humphrey’s sac fly. The final run of the inning came when Alex Isola was forced in; after he wore one, three straight walks to Guenther, Henry, Rizer brought him home.
The Frogs added one in the fifth and two in the sixth to give them a little insurance and keep the ten run rule in effect. Charles King got himself out of a little jam in the sixth after he allowed a pair of singles and committed a throwing error, and Marcelo Perez allowed the games first run on a pair of singles - but struck out the final two batters he faced to end the threat.
The Frogs will play UT Arlington - the Mavs are coming off a series loss to Georgia Southern but are 12-8 on the year - at Globe Life Stadium Tuesday night in their final tuneup ahead of the Big 12 Conference opener. First up on the league slate? A home date with Texas, who has been on a tear to start 2019. First pitch Tuesday is set for 6:30pm.