TCU had nothing until Evan Skoug got everything on one pitch.
The powerful freshman homered to right-center field with two outs in the seventh inning for the only run in TCU’s 1-0 win over Texas Southern Wednesday night at Lupton Stadium.
Skoug, the designated hitter, turned on a 3-1 pitch from Felix Gomez to deliver TCU’s third hit of the game and his second career home run.
“3-1 [count], I knew he was going to throw me a fastball, because he’d been beating me with that all night,” Skoug said. “[On] 3-1, I’m looking for a pitch I can hit it out with. I got the pitch I wanted and put a good swing on it. And it just happened.”
Before Skoug’s blast, Gomez (0-1) had retired the first 12 batters and squelched scoring opportunities by TCU (7-1) in the fifth and sixth innings.
But Gomez was matched by Frogs starter Mitchell Traver, the 6-foot-7 right-hander making his second career start. Traver, with a low-90s fastball and a buckling slider, threw seven scoreless innings, struck out 11 and faced one batter over the minimum.
TSU (4-5) singled twice in the third, but Traver (2-0) picked off Javier Valdez at second base to avoid any trouble. The redshirt sophomore has thrown 15 scoreless innings in three appearances this season, including two starts.
His early-season success comes after two years of battling injuries, most notably Tommy John surgery the fall of his freshman year in 2012. Traver worked his way back to health last season, but appeared in only one-third of an inning, against Baylor in the Big 12 tournament.
Now he’s healthy and entrenched as TCU’s Tuesday starter.
“It feels kind of surreal,” Traver said. “Truth be told, two years is a long time to be hurt and to wait. Being able to go out there and go six or seven innings, thus far, and establish a fastball and breaking ball in the strike zone, it’s a lot of fun.”
The Frogs’ usual bullpen tandem of Trey Teakell and Riley Ferrell pitched the eighth and ninth innings. Ferrell earned his second save of the season and 20th of his career, tying Sam Demel (2005-2007) for the school record.
TCU returns to action 6:30 p.m. Friday at home against Cal Poly for the first of a three-game series.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760