If you haven’t been paying attention, it may surprise you to learn that TCU baseball moved its record above .500 for the first time in 2013 Tuesday night.
The Horned Frogs’ 2-1 win over UT Arlington at Lupton Stadium was a textbook example of how TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle figured his team would win games this season — with overwhelming pitching, sturdy defense and timely hitting.
Six Frogs’ pitchers struck out 10 and scattered 10 hits while TCU’s offense executed a safety squeeze to perfection to push across the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
“This was my favorite game of the whole season,” Schlossnagle said, “because how many games did we have like this the first half of the season where we would have lost the game because we would have thrown a wild pitch, somebody missed a sign, or we would have given up those extra 90 feet?”
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For instance, Trevor Seidenberger, who was in a bases-loaded jam with one out in the sixth, deftly prevented a big inning by striking out the side and holding the Mavericks (27-25) to one run to keep the game tied.
“Tonight, Seidenberger had a chance to panic and didn’t and gave up one run, limited the damage,” Schlossnagle said.
The Mavericks’ pitching was stellar, too. Starter Chad Nack held TCU to one run in four innings, and John Beck pitched well for 3 2/3 innings before allowing the go-ahead run in the eighth. He hit leadoff batter Brett Johnson, who moved to second on Josh Gonzales’s sacrifice bunt before Kevin Daniels pinch ran for him. Keaton Jones’ single put Daniels on third with one out, bringing Kyle Bacak to the plate. Bacak laid down a squeeze to the right of the pitcher and Daniels scored easily.
“[Daniels] did a great job of reading it down,” Bacak said. “Any time you get a chance to help get us a run and give us the lead — going into the ninth, especially — it’s a lot of fun.”
The Frogs (26-25, 10-11 Big 12) were 9-15 after losing to Dallas Baptist on March 26 but have gone 17-10 since, including Tuesday’s win. The regular season concludes with a three-game series against last-place Texas (26-22, 6-15) beginning Thursday at Lupton Stadium. The Big 12 tournament begins May 22 in Oklahoma City, and TCU has already clinched a spot.
“I would have like to have gotten more hits, of course, but that’s our brand of baseball — pitching, defense and sound fundamental play,” Schlossnagle said. “And we didn’t play like that for the first half of the season for whatever reason.”
Schlossnagle will dissect the slow start later. For now, at the most important time, the Frogs are finally winning, and their record reflects that.
“It’s taken us a lot longer than expected, obviously, but we’re finally settling down and going out there and playing our game,” outfielder Cody Jones said. “We have so much talent on this team it’s unbelievable. Everybody is just doing their part.”