Nick Lodolo lost for the second consecutive time Friday as TCU Baseball fell 6-3 to Baylor in the teams’ series opener.
Baylor struck first in the first, benefiting from a walk and a hit by pitch off of Lodolo before bringing a run across on a Shea Langeliers single. They added two more in the third as the defense once again let the Frogs down; Lodolo once again started an inning with a walk and a hit by pitch, bringing Langeliers up with runners on once again. The slugger hit into a fielder’s choice, but an error on shortstop Adam Oviedo allowed a run to score. Another fielder’s choice and another error - this one an interference call - led the Bears to their third run and a 3-0 lead.
TCU’s offense finally woke up in the bottom of the third when Austin Henry connected for his fifth home run of the season. Baylor got the run right back though, scoring in the fifth thanks to a one out single and a two error play that led to a groundout RBI a batter later. In the bottom of the fifth, though, the Frogs got something going - loading the bases on a Hunter Wolfe walk, a Josh Watson double, and a Jake Guenther hit by pitch. Alex Isola singled home run number two and Henry’s sac fly made it a 4-3 ball game. With two outs, Baylor went to the pen, and were rewarded with a full count walk to Andrew Keefer to load the bases, but Conner Shepherd struck out to end the inning.
Lodolo, who had hit three batters all season, but his third on the ball game in the top of the sixth. He was lifted at that point for Dalton Brown, having pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four hits, four runs (only two earned), striking out three and walking two. Brown fell behind the only batter he faced in the sixth, but fought back to get a strikeout and end the inning. The Frogs loaded the bases again in the bottom of the sixth, but Johnny Rizer struck out with two down to end the threat.
Brown answered with the game’s first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the top of the seventh, but the Frogs duplicated the feat by going quietly in the bottom of the frame - one that ended with Conner Shepherd’s fourth strikeout of the game.
The Bears added two more in the top of the eighth, scoring thanks to a trio of base hits and the Frogs’ fourth error of the game. The defense has been questionable at times and downright bad at others, and Friday’s effort certainly landed in the latter category. Of Baylor’s six runs, four were earned, but it’s more than fair to attribute some of their offensive success to the momentum of free base runners and runs scored. TCU got two on in the eighth with one out, but a strikeout by Guenther - the Frogs’ 12th of the game - and a fly out by Isola kept them at bay.
Brown worked around a single and the Frogs fifth error of the ball game in the ninth, getting an inning-ending double play. He finished the game having allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts, a solid effort out of the pen or a team hungry for exactly that.
TCU managed to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, with Henry drawing a walk and Keefer singling despite being down 0-2. But Shepherd fouled out and Oviedo grounded out to end the rally and the game.
With the loss, the Frogs fall to 23-17 on the season and 6-7 in Big 12 play. The loss also drops TCU to 14-7 on their home field. Game two of the series is scheduled for 3:00pm Saturday with Charles King expected to get the start.