After a rare midweek home loss, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle reminded himself and his team of an old saying.
“It sucks to lose, but it’s better than playing a bad team,” he said.
The Horned Frogs will have to take comfort in that, at least, from a 6-2 loss to Stephen F. Austin of the Southland Conference on Tuesday night at Lupton Stadium, only their fourth midweek home loss in four seasons.
“That’s a really good team,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s a veteran team. They played Baylor and A&M close each of the last two weeks. They outplayed us tonight. Playing these guys is going to help us be prepared for the weekend.”
Ah, the weekend. The fourth-ranked Horned Frogs (30-9) travel to Lubbock for three games against No. 7 Texas Tech starting on Friday.
Since a 13-game winning streak, TCU is 3-4, including a 2-2 homestand.
They’ll head up just 3-4 in their last seven games, all against NCAA postseason-quality opponents in West Virginia, Baylor and SFA since a 13-game winning streak.
“We knew going into the game that we were thin on the mound, and we knew that they were really good,” Schlossnagle said of the Lumberjacks (25-18), who got six shutout innings from hard-throwing left-hander Erik Nouis (2-2) and 11 strikeouts from four pitchers. “I told the team before the game that outside of Long Beach State, that’s the best team we’re going to play in a midweek game.”
TCU managed only six hits and made little happen with its opportunities. Austen Wade’s two-out double in the seventh inning plated the only runs for the Big 12 leaders.
Freshman right-hander Charles King (0-1) started for the Frogs, operating on a 50-pitch limit, and was lifted after a walk and a single with two outs in the third inning. The inherited runners scored against Jake Eissler when Zac Michener doubled to right, and Josh Evans followed with a line drive home run to right for a 5-0 lead.
The story of the game, two outs, nobody on, we gave up four runs.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, on the third inning against Stephen F. Austin
“The story of the game, two outs, nobody on, we gave up four runs,” Schlossnagle said. “I was hoping Jake could come in and get that one out, but give them credit. The two balls that he really left up the whole time were those two balls, fastball up that Michener did a good job of going the other way with, and then a changeup way up. But after that, he pitched really well.”
Cal Coughlin’s balk with the bases loaded in the seventh inning gave SFA its sixth run.
Haylen Green and Austin Boyles each pitched a scoreless inning, and the Frogs finished with 13 strikeouts and four walks from the five freshman pitchers.
5 Freshman pitchers used by the Horned Frogs on Tuesday against Stephen F. Austin
Evan Skoug was 2-for-4 with a double, but the Frogs were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
“That’s a really good team,” Schlossnagle reiterated. “We couldn’t get anything going except for the one two-out hit.”
But that’s how baseball go. Another old saying.