Sophomore right-hander Jared Janczak, so needed to be a postseason plus for the TCU Horned Frogs, retired all nine batters he faced in his return to the mound as the Horned Frogs blanked California 3-0 on Thursday night.
The nonconference game, coming less than a week before the Big 12 baseball tournament opens Wednesday, seemed to check many boxes for the Frogs (38-13), who have finished their Big 12 slate in first place. Texas Tech on Thursday defeated Kansas 10-6 and can match TCU’s 16-8 Big 12 record with two more wins against the Jayhawks.
Cal made no distinguishing marks, committing four errors and mustering only three hits.
Janczak, Nick Lodolo, Sean Wymer and Durbin Feltman combined to hold Cal (22-27) to just four base runners, TCU’s website reported. It was the Frogs’ fourth shutout of the season but a welcome sign after the Frogs gave up 19 runs in their previous two Big 12 games, walk-off losses at Oklahoma.
Janczak (7-0) struck out four in his first appearance since April 14, when he left a game with a shoulder strain.
Lodolo, a freshman left-hander, gave up three hits and struck out three in his three innings on the mound.
Wymer pitched two scoreless innings and Feltman retired all three he faced in the ninth. Those two relief stalwarts had been victimized badly by the Sooners.
In the top of the first, TCU’s Evan Skoug launched a two-out home run on the first pitch he saw. His 16th home run this season was his fourth in the last four games.
In the second, TCU made it 2-0 with small ball. Nolan Brown and Ryan Merrill singled with one out, putting runners on the corner. Merrill stole second, and when the throw went into center field, Brown scored.
TCU got its final run in the eighth. Connor Wanhanen led off with a signle, stole second and took third on a throwing error. Cam Warner’s fly ball to right was dropped, but it would have been deep enough for a sac fly as Wanhanen tagged up and scored.
The Frogs and Golden Bears return to play at 9:05 p.m. Friday, with the Pac-12 Network handling the telecast.
Janczak, Lodolo (4), Wymer (7), Feltman (9) and Skoug; Matulovich, Shortridge (8), Buckley, Cosca and Greene. W—Janczak (7-0). L—Matulovich (4-3). Save—Feltman (13). HR—TCU: Skoug (16). HBP—TCU, Watson; Cal: Eden. SF—TCU: Warner (4). SB—TCU: Wanhanen (7); Merrill (13); Watson (4); Landestoy (3). CS—Cal: Mitchell (2). E—Cal: Grand Pre (5); Mitchell (4); Greene (3); Eden (12). DP—TCU 1. LOB—TCU 7; CAL 2. T—2:21. A—568. RECORDS—TCU 38-13; California 22-27.