TCU making strides on offense but has room for improvement

02/17/2014 9:33 PM

02/17/2014 10:55 PM

The overwhelming take from TCU winning two of its first three games has to be positive, considering the Horned Frogs’ 0-6 start a year ago.

But the team’s 2-0 loss Sunday against Jacksonville couldn’t help but “leave a sour taste in your mouth,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

The Frogs (2-1), who host Northern Colorado (0-4) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lupton Stadium, combined for 24 hits and 11 walks in their first three games. That’s six more hits than a year ago against an undoubtedly better pitching staff at Ole Miss.

The Frogs scored a total of 10 runs in their first three games, a marked improvement from the four they scored the opening weekend a year ago. But the shutout in the finale left the team wanting much more.

TCU stayed dedicated to a plan at the plate to swing above the baseball to prevent flyouts at windy Lupton Stadium, Schlossnagle said. But in Sunday’s 2-0 loss, TCU hitters got away from the attack and were held to three hits.

“We didn’t keep them on the ground, and we didn’t get the timely hit,” Schlossnagle said.“We’ve worked really hard all fall and the off-season at trying to stay above the baseball. They had to hit hard ground balls or line drives or they got kicked out of the cage.”

Overall, though, Schlossnagle is happy the offense gave his pitchers a chance in the first two games. Sluggers Kevin Cron and Jerrick Suiter, who combined for 30 RBIs a year ago, had two each in the opening series.

“I think it’s important for any hitter, whether it’s Kevin and Jerrick or any other hitter on any team,” Schlossnagle said. “You work so hard and confidence is so fleeting, you want to try and get some early so you have something to build on the rest of the season.”

Right-hander Jordan Kipper, a junior transfer from Central Arizona College, is scheduled to make his first TCU start Tuesday night. Northern Colorado’s starting pitcher was unavailable.

Finnegan honored

TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week after striking out a career-high 13 batters in seven shutout innings Friday night against Jacksonville.

The former Fort Worth Southwest High School star allowed three hits, three walks and struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced.

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