Earl Weaver once said the keys to winning baseball games are pitching, fundamentals and three-run homers.
TCU has two of the three. What if it could get all three?
“It’d be nice, but we’re not going to rely on that,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said, and then smiled at the memory of the legendary Baltimore Orioles manager, who he grew up watching in Maryland. “Or sit around and wait on that.”
The No. 3-ranked Horned Frogs went into Tuesday’s game against Abilene Christian with only 14 home runs, but they hit three in an 8-2 victory. Freshman catcher Evan Skoug homered twice to right field, hitting the scoreboard in the eighth inning, and senior third baseman Derek Odell homered to right.
For Skoug, they were homers Nos. 5 and 6 on the season. For Odell, it was No. 2 of the year.
The big blasts helped the Horned Frogs (40-9) win their 15th consecutive game at home and round out their ninth 40-win season in Schlossnagle’s 12 years at TCU. Plus, it got imaginations racing about the potential power boost from a couple of hot bats, especially Skoug’s.
“We’ve seen the power. We know he’s one of the few guys on our club who’s got legitimate power,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s just a matter of him putting a good swing on a pitch for a hitter to hit. He did a better job of that tonight. He got good pitches. And in the light air, it seemed like the ball was really carrying, especially out to right field. Both of his were legit for sure.”
Skoug said it was the first time he’s hit two home runs in a game.
“It felt good, especially after the last couple of weeks. I’ve had a lot of frustrating at-bats,” he said. “It felt nice to get a couple of baseballs and hit them hard.”
Can he become that hot power bat?
“If I end up being that guy, that’s great,” Skoug said. “I know I have eight other guys in the lineup who can do it just as well. I think I can do it. If I can’t, I know I have any one of those other eight guys who can pick me up.”
Maybe Odell can be one of those other eight. He hit four home runs as a freshman but only one in each year since. Until Tuesday night.
“There’s enough pull power there,” Schlossnagle said. “Again, if he puts a good swing on his pitch, he can hit it out of the ballpark.”
Earl would be fine with that.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407