TCU wins doubleheader against Texas in out-of-character style

TCU’s Dane Steinhagen scores after a pitch from Kyle Johnston got past the catcher as the Horned Frogs widened their lead in the second game. TCU won 11-6.
TCU’s Dane Steinhagen scores after a pitch from Kyle Johnston got past the catcher as the Horned Frogs widened their lead in the second game. TCU won 11-6. Special to the Star-Telegram

It’s not the way TCU expects to win games, much less doubleheaders.

But putting up 17 runs and banging out 26 hits to overcome five errors and eight walks — as the fifth-ranked Horned Frogs did in a doubleheader sweep of Texas on a hot, windy Saturday at Lupton Stadium — comes in handy every once in a while.

“Not often this ballpark plays like this,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said after his team’s 6-5 and 11-6 victories. “We didn’t play very good defense. I don’t think we pitched very well. But we really competed at home plate; did a great job there.”

There were examples all day, but two stood out for TCU.

In Game 1, Keaton Jones fouled off three consecutive 0-2 pitches before taking a ball and then singling to put two runners on with no outs. It was part of four consecutive singles to start the inning, setting up two runs for a 3-0 lead.

The Horned Frogs never trailed, although they needed a Riley Ferrell strikeout with the bases loaded in the eighth inning before he closed out the ninth.

In Game 2 after two consecutive four-pitch walks with two outs and the bases loaded made it 7-3 in the seventh inning, Derek Odell doubled to deep center field to clear the bases for a 10-3 lead, capping off a 3-for-7 doubleheader.

The senior third baseman began the day hitting .269 and committed three errors.

“He’s had better days defensively, and he’ll have better days ahead of him, but it’s nice to see him get that big hit,” Schlossnagle said. “He needed that, just to really square that ball up and get an extra-base hit, clear the bases, just for his confidence.”

For the Frogs (33-8, 9-5 Big 12), the Odell at-bat lifted a weight. They had been trying to squeeze as much offense as possible out of every inning to keep up with the Longhorns bats.

“Oh, it was huge,” center fielder Cody Jones said. “That just spread it wide open. They were kind of like, hanging on, hanging on. They walked a couple of people, and then Derek just smashed that ball. It just gave us a lot of room to kind of breathe.”

Texas (22-21, 8-9) made the Frogs constantly pitch under pressure. The Longhorns hit two home runs, a triple and four doubles in the two games. The Frogs had allowed more than five runs only twice in April.

TCU senior Preston Morrison (9-1) went 6 1/3 innings to win Game 1. But he needed 104 pitches, struck out only two, walked two and gave up six hits while pitching around two errors.

TCU sophomore Tyler Alexander, promoted to a spot in the weekend rotation, went 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision, giving up 10 hits.

Brian Trieglaff (2-0) won in relief, getting six outs before Preston Guillory got the final four outs. Guillory, who began the ninth inning with Odell’s error and a single, gave up a run before getting a fly ball with the bases loaded for the final out.

“Texas has a really good offensive team,” Schlossnagle said. “I know they haven’t performed as well as they’re capable of to this point in the season, but we have a lot of respect for their team.

“We have a heck of a lot of respect for their hitters — Ben Johnson was committed to us for a couple of months, I coached C.J. Hinojosa on the USA team, I know Tres Barrera well. Those guys are really, really good players who, for whatever reason, it just hasn’t fallen for them yet. Hopefully, we can keep them from doing that for one more day.”

Makes sense. Because it’s not the way TCU expects to win games.

Game notes

▪ First baseman Jeremie Fagnan hurt his foot on a slide into second base in Game 2 and will miss Sunday’s game and possibly Tuesday, Schlossnagle said.

▪ TCU won the season series against Texas for the third straight year and is 7-1 against Texas in the Big 12.

▪ Schlossnagle said a Texas assistant accused Guillory of purposely hitting a batter in the ninth inning of Game 2, but said TCU had no reason to and that he and his players respect the Texas program.

▪ The Horned Frogs are 29-0 this year when leading after six innings.

▪ After going 0 for 3 in Game 1, Connor Wanhanen went 4 for 5 in Game 2 and brought up his conference-leading average to .403.

▪ The attendance of 5,189 was the eighth largest ever at Lupton Stadium.

▪ Sunday’s 1 p.m. game will be televised on FSSW Plus. Alex Young (2-2, 2.29) pitches for TCU against Chad Hollingsworth (3-4, 4.58).

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @calexmendez

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