For the first time at the College World Series, TCU lost its opening game.
The Horned Frogs and their ace, Jared Janczak, were bested by Florida and its ace, Alex Faedo, 3-0 on Sunday night.
Some post-game reaction from Game 1:
1. TCU lost a No. 1 pitcher vs. No. 1 pitcher matchup, that’s all. The Frogs are positioned as well as any team in Omaha to make up for it. Brian Howard will start Tuesday, and Mitchell Traver is in line to start Thursday if the Frogs get that far. After that, Nick Lodolo would probably get a Friday start. Then, the rotation would start over the next day with Janczak, who threw 87 pitches against Florida. It’s a long road, however. And everything has to go right. Even then, getting to that Saturday elimination game likely means seeing the opposition’s No. 1 pitcher again. If it’s Florida? Guess who.
2. It’s easy, and probably useless, to wonder what would have happened without Jared Janczak’s throwing error on the pickoff attempt in the first inning. The play put a runner at second, and he scored on two ground balls. If the runner is still on first, it could have meant a fielder’s choice or double play. But Janczak never appeared comfortable, and a double later in the inning could have meant damage, anyway. What can be said with certainty, however, is that Janczak was not pleased with his effort. At his best, he can put up zeroes with Alex Faedo. Sunday night, he wasn’t at his best. “I thought Jared battled,” Schlossnagle said. “Certainly not himself tonight.”
3. The Frogs ran into three outs on the bases — Cam Warner and Nolan Brown were picked off at first, and Warner was out at second trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. That was an inning’s worth of help for Alex Faedo, who didn’t need any help. But Schlossnagle wasn’t sore about the plays. He said Warner made a mistake by slowing down on the ball in the dirt, but credited Faedo and catcher Mike Rivera for the pickoffs on aggressive leads. “Against Faedo, the way he was pitching, if you expect us to sit around and wait to string together two hits, that’s not going to happen,” Schlossnagle said. “Faedo’s a complete pitcher. He fielded his position and holds runners well.”
4. Defensively, the Frogs made two plays that kept them in the game. Connor Wanhanen’s diving stop in the first inning produced an out after Janczak’s shaky start. Elliott Barzilli’s stab of a hard ground ball behind the mound started a double play for Cal Coughlin in the fifth, keeping the game 3-0. “Those two plays, especially, I think were great for us,” Wanhanen said. “Our defense has been picking up over the last several weeks. That’s something we’ve been talking about and we’ve been harping on in practice, a lot of reps on plays like that.”
5. The TCU bullpen delivered four shutout innings, perhaps the most encouraging part of Sunday night for the Frogs. Cal Coughlin entered with two inherited runners and no out in the fifth and stranded them with the help of a double play. He also pitched the sixth inning. Haylen Green pitched a 1-2-3 seventh. Nick Lodolo struck out two in a scoreless eighth. “I was really proud,” Schlossnagle said. “That’s three freshmen that are going to be a big, big part of what we do in the coming years, and all three of them did great.”