TCU

TCU baseball cruises past Southern Illinois in opener

TCU pitcher Preston Morrison pitches to Southern Illinois batter Greg Lambert in the first inning Friday  at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth.
TCU pitcher Preston Morrison pitches to Southern Illinois batter Greg Lambert in the first inning Friday at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth. Special to the Star-Telegram

Preston Morrison provided his usual steady outing, TCU’s newcomers brought the offensive spark and the Horned Frogs opened their season Friday night with a 5-0 win over Southern Illinois at Lupton Stadium.

Morrison, a senior right-hander who finished 2014 with a 1.32 ERA, tossed seven scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing only three hits.

He walked two batters and ran into trouble just once — in the second inning — when SIU runners reached second and third. He promptly struck out the next two batters to end the frame.

“I really just toned it back — I was doing a little too much tonight,” Morrison said. “ I felt good going into the bullpen, then I realized I didn’t have my best stuff. Those are the days you have to spot up and change speeds even more than you usually do.”

TCU’s offense went hitless in the first three innings, but was sparked by a trio of new additions to the lineup.

Nolan Brown, a transfer from Blinn College, doubled to start the fifth and came around to score on a single from Dane Steinhagen, another transfer from Howard College. That gave the Frogs their first run of the game.

Freshman Connor Wanhanen entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth with runners on second and third. After battling to a full count, the Flower Mound product lined a single up the middle that scored Garrett Crain and Derek Odell and gave TCU a 4-0 lead.

“[Wanhanen’s hit] was enormous because, you know, I thought our guys really early in the game were over-swinging, trying to do so well the first time out,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “That’s why you start playing the games, so you can learn more about yourself.”

Redshirt sophomore Mitchell Traver, who battled injuries his first two seasons, pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings, striking out one.

Before Friday, Traver had thrown only one-third of an inning, making an appearance in last season’s Big 12 tournament.

Shortstop Keaton Jones became the Horned Frogs’ career leader with 555 assists after fielding a grounder to end the fourth inning.

Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @RyanOsborneFWST

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