TCU offense tees off behind Kipper’strong start

04/15/2014 11:08 PM

04/16/2014 12:17 AM

It was exactly the kind of night TCU wanted before traveling to Austin for a big series at Texas.

The Horned Frogs collected 15 hits, including four doubles, in a 13-0 rout of Houston Baptist on Tuesday night at Lupton Stadium.

Not only did the offense get revved up before facing the Longhorns’ stout pitching staff, but TCU’s bullpen got a reprieve with Jordan Kipper again giving the Frogs’ a quality Tuesday start. He held the Huskies to four hits and struck out seven in six innings before the bullpen finished the game. It’s TCU’s seventh shutout this season as the Frogs improved to 8-1 in April.

“It kind of went exactly as we’d hope in terms of getting Kipper his work and then throwing three guys who needed to pitch,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

Kipper’s reliable outing allowed Schlossnagle to rest Trey Teakell, Tyler Alexander and closer Riley Ferrell for the Texas series, which begins Thursday night. The Longhorns (30-8, 9-3 Big 12) lead the Big 12 standings, one game ahead of Oklahoma State. TCU (23-13, 7-5) is third.

TCU scored twice in the second against HBU (16-17) after Jerrick Suiter walked and Dylan Fitzgerald singled to set up Keaton Jones sacrifice bunt and Garrett Crain’s RBI single.

The Frogs batted around in a six-run fourth to build an 8-0 lead. Five consecutive TCU batters reached base to chase starter Matthew McCollough. Boomer White’s two-run double off Ross Kennell followed a bases-loaded walk and a passed ball.

“It’s awesome to see us hitting the ball with guys in scoring position, executing,” said Fitzgerald, who had three hits and an RBI. “This is huge going into Texas, getting these hits and people feeling comfortable at the plate. It’s what we needed.”

TCU added three runs and nearly batted around again in the fifth. In the seventh, TCU scored two more runs as replacements Eric Garza and Dylan Delso singled and doubled and later scored on RBIs from Cody Jones and Walker Pennington. Nine players had a hit and eight players drove in a run.

“A mature baseball team goes into a game like that and doesn’t fall into the trap of looking ahead to the weekend,” Schlossnagle said. “I’ve coached plenty of teams where you get six innings of pop-ups and before you know it, it’s a dogfight and you’re in trouble.”

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