TCU’s Preston Morrison showed the more than 4,000 spectators on hand Saturday at Lupton Stadium something they’ve never before seen out of the junior right-hander.
A bad day.
Morrison didn’t make it out of the third inning after giving up four runs on six hits and two walks in a one-of-those-days 10-2 loss to Texas Tech (18-7, 2-3 Big 12).
“Every great pitcher has a bad day at least once a year,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. Morrison “hasn’t had one in his career. It’s crazy to think he’s not going to … and he did.”
A day after the Horned Frogs’ offensive breakthrough in a conference-opening victory, it was the run-starved Red Raiders who made Lupton their personal parade ground, swatting four TCU pitchers for 15 hits, including five for extra bases, and gladly accepting seven walks.
Zach Davis and Bryant Burleson combined to go 4 for 8 with three RBIs and four runs scored. Davis went 2 for 4 with two runs scored, and Burleson bombed a long home run over the left field wall in the fourth.
Kevin Cron was 3 for 3 for the Frogs.
“Everybody talks about our pitching,” said Schlossnagle, who watched as his team gave up a season high in walks. “But we are in desperate need of somebody other than our three starting pitchers and Riley Ferrell to show some competitiveness on the mound, and we didn’t get that.”
TCU’s weekend starting corps of Brandon Finnegan, Morrison and Tyler Alexander had a collective ERA of 1.62 with 91 strikeouts and only 14 walks in 100 innings before Saturday.
The Horned Frogs (13-9, 1-1) pitched behind the count continually. Morrison fell behind 3-0 or 3-1 to five of the first 11 hitters he faced.
He walked the first two batters he faced in the Tech third and followed by giving up run-scoring hits to Jake Barrios and Eric Gutierrez on a single and double, respectively, that turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 Red Raiders lead with no outs.
Schlossnagle came out with the hook.
“I just didn’t have it, and I couldn’t do anything about,” said Morrison (2-3).
But Trey Teakell, Ryan Burnett and Brian Howard gave up six runs on nine hits and five walks over six innings of relief.
While those three had trouble stemming the tide, Tech lefty Jonny Drozd did not.
Drozd (2-0) relieved Cameron Smith in the fourth and shut down TCU, giving up no runs in six innings, striking out four and walking one.
“Drozd keeps you off-balance,” Schlossnagle said. “I felt like we were going to be able to get to their first guy. He shut us down.”