There is dominant pitching and then there is what TCU is doing right now.
The Horned Frogs pitched their third consecutive shutout and won their fourth straight game, 2-0 over Lamar Friday night at Lupton Stadium.
TCU hasn't allowed a run in the past 34 1/3 innings, the longest stretch in coach Jim Schlossnagle's 15-year tenure. In fact, it's the longest scoreless streak for the Frogs since at least 1977. The last time TCU pitched three consecutive shutouts was against Houston Christian and Texas twice in April 2014.
"I’ve said all year long our strength was going to have to be our starting pitching," Schlossnagle said. "And our pitching in general."
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They've done it without Friday night ace Jared Janczak, who is out the rest of the season after having Thoracic outlet surgery.
Lefty Nick Lodolo has stepped into the lead role and Friday held Lamar to five hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Closer Durbin Feltman hasn't pitched since April 27 because of a blister on his throwing hand. He's likely to return against West Virginia next weekend. But relievers Cal Coughlin and Augie Mihlbauer have combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings of relief during the stretch. Coughlin held Lamar to on hit in the final 1 2/3 innings Friday night. During the stretch, only four base runners have reached third base.
"The biggest thing that stands out to me is we’re not giving away as many free bases as we were," said Lodolo, who improved to 6-3 with the win. "Starters are pitching well and guys are coming in from the bullpen attacking the zone and doing what they’re supposed to do. Everyone is doing their part."
Josh Watson's seventh home of the season gave the Frogs (25-18) a 1-0 lead in the third. Coby Boulware singled in Zach Humphreys in the seventh to make it 2-0.
"I'm super proud of they way guys who've had to move into different spots are doing," Schlossnagle said. "Some experience is starting to show up. Hopefully we can continue to play well this weekend and get exams behind us and get to the fun part of the year."
Coughlin has allowed just two hits over his past 7 1/3 scoreless innings, a string of 28 batters.
"We’re just winning more of these little battles. Taking it batter by batter, pitch by pitch, like we should," said Coughlin, whose ERA dropped to 1.07. "Everything we’ve been preaching all along, it’s just clicking. Coach said do your job and I think that's what everybody is doing. Sometimes it takes time, I guess. Baseball is weird like that."