TCU got a chance to watch one of its prized recruits pitch Tuesday night, and coach Jim Schlossnagle watched closely.
“I know he had some nerves going into it,” he said of right-hander Jordan Kipper, a standout Arizona junior college pitcher making his first Division I start. “The leadoff hitter of the game fought off some pitches and ended up taking strike three. I think that helped him some.”
Kipper (1-0) retired 15 of the first 16 batters and finished with eight strikeouts as No. 19 TCU beat Northern Colorado 10-3 at Lupton Stadium. He walked none and gave up only three hits and three runs, two unearned, in six innings.
“Once he caught his rhythm, I mean, in the last inning, I asked our coaches how many balls do you think — by all of our pitchers, but especially Kipper — were thrown above mid-thigh?” Schlossnagle said.
“Everything is down in the zone. And when you throw strikes with two or three pitches in the bottom of the strike zone, you’re going to be awfully tough to beat. So that was a big sign for us, to see what Kipper did tonight.”
Kipper got breathing room in the third inning on a two-run home run to left field from Boomer White, and Kevin Cron doubled twice and drove in two runs.
Third baseman Derek Odell played in his first game after returning from injury and got three hits, driving in two.
“Boomer’s home run took some pressure off after we had some opportunities early in the game to score and didn’t,” Schlossnagle said. “The ball doesn’t get out of this ballpark very much, but he certainly hit it to the one spot you can.”
Schlossnagle said the offense also encouraged him.
“Boomer and Kevin have been putting together, for the most part, good at-bats,” Schlossnagle said of his No. 3 and 4 hitters. “Boomer had a tough ending to his day on Sunday. He was the guy at home plate with two outs and the bases loaded, down two runs. I was glad to see him come back.
“Getting Odell back in the lineup, you’ve got some experienced guys who have played in regionals and super regionals. Getting those guys back in the lineup really sets a tone there in the middle that we don’t have much of, and that’s experienced, aggressive offensive players.”