Another starting pitcher shines in TCU victory

Posted Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Preston Morrison took the mound for Game 2 of TCU’s 2014 and gave the Horned Frogs more of the same.

TCU’s junior right-hander worked eight scoreless innings of four-hit baseball and his teammates supported him with timely hits in a 5-1 victory over Jacksonville on Saturday at breezy Lupton Stadium.

The Horned Frogs scored twice in each of the fourth and fifth innings and added a run in the sixth to improve to 2-0.

Left fielder Boomer White went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Jerrick Suiter had a double and RBI among his two hits.

The Frogs didn’t need that much, though, because their starting pitching posted zeroes for a second consecutive game.

Brandon Finnegan did not give up a run in seven innings in a 5-0 victory in the season opener Friday night.

Through two games, TCU starters have blanked the Dolphins and allowed only seven hits and four walks in 15 innings pitched.

“It’s always extra encouragement to go out there and do well yourself following a good outing by a teammate,” said a smiling Morrison, who struck out five and walked one.

“I was really just focused on making good pitches.”

Good starts out of Morrison is the standard.

He was a first-team All-Big 12 selection a season ago after going 7-3 with a 1.51 ERA in 15 starts and 107 innings pitched.

“Starting pitching, at least at this point, is our strength,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

“I’ve always believed the game begins and ends with good starting pitching.”

The North Carolina native got in trouble in the fourth, allowing runners to advance to second and third with one out in a 0-0 game.

But Morrison kept the Dolphins at bay by striking out Parker Perez and Dylan Dillard to end the threat. Morrison retired 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced.

The Frogs then pieced together three timely hits with two outs to score twice in their half of the fourth.

Suiter’s double off the left-field wall scored Jeremie Fagnan. The next hitter, Connor Castellano, followed with a run-scoring single to put TCU up 2-0.

Garrett Crain blooped a ball over a drawn-in infield to score Keaton Jones with the Frogs’ third run, in the fifth, and came around to score on White’s RBI double.

“That was a huge boost of momentum for us,” Suiter said of Morrison getting out of the jam in the fourth. “From that point on we turned the bats around.”

Said Schlossnagle: “That’s the sign of a good team. You do something on defense to get some momentum and you build off it the next half inning.”

Crain had two hits and the defensive play of the game, making a diving catch on a blooper over his head at third base that robbed Connor Marabell of at least one base in the sixth.

TCU hitters got to losing pitcher Zach Gordon for 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings.

The Frogs go for the sweep in the finale of this three-game series with Jacksonville (0-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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