Even when the TCU offense shows up, the TCU pitching still takes center stage.
Left-hander Haylen Green took a no-hitter and was one infield error, one walk, and three outs from a perfect game as the Horned Frogs beat Lamar 11-0 Sunday afternoon at Lupton Stadium.
The Horned Frogs (27-18) have won six consecutive games and eight of their past nine. They return to Big 12 Conference action with a three-game set against West Virginia beginning Friday at Lupton Stadium.
"Haylen was awesome and he was very efficient," coach Jim Schlossnagle said of the sophomore who threw 90 pitches. "He has worked really hard and I feel really happy for him."
Green struck out 10, walked one and faced just two over the minimum of 27 batters. It's only the fifth nine-inning one-hitter by a TCU pitcher and first since Preston Morrison held West Virginia to one hit on April 5, 2014.
Green is just the fourth TCU pitcher to toss a one-hitter. Morrison did it twice (also on May 20, 2012, against San Diego State).
Green's teammates, in accordance with baseball jinx protocol, kept their distance in the TCU dugout as the game progressed.
"It popped into my head a couple of times but it was more like, 'Why are you thinking about that. Just stop. That’s how you jinx it,'" said Green, who last threw a seven-inning no-hitter as a freshman at Lufkin High School. "I was just trying not to think about what was going on."
The Frogs' offense collected 16 hits, their most since April 18. The 11 runs are the most since they scored 15 against Stephen F. Austin on April 24. A.J. Balta was 3 for 6 with a three-run homer, five RBIs and three runs scored.
"I still think we can be better and we're going to have to be when the level of competition rises back in conference play next week," Schlossnagle said. "I was glad to see the guys get some confidence and have some balls fall in. A.J. has had some really big hits. I don’t know where we’d be without him."
Green was trying to become the first TCU pitcher to throw a nine-inning no-hitter since Chris Bradshaw against Hawaii-Hilo on March 23, 2001. Brad Furnish threw a seven-inning no-hitter against Stephen F. Austin in 2006 and four Frogs pitchers combined for a no-hitter on April 10, 2009 against UT Pan American (Walker Kelly, Taylor Cragin, Tyler Lockwood and Eric Marshall).
Since being swept at Baylor from April 20-22, TCU has outscored its opponents 58-23.
"When you go on a stretch like this it really helps [the team vibe]," Balta said. "It makes it a lot more fun when you have the entire team doing what they're supposed to be doing."