Group effort gets TCU baseball back on winning track against West Virginia

TCU pitcher Jake Eissler works the first inning against West Virginia in Saturday's college baseball game in Fort Worth.
TCU pitcher Jake Eissler works the first inning against West Virginia in Saturday's college baseball game in Fort Worth. Special to the Star-Telegram

After his first start of the season last Saturday — a six-inning, one-hit, 12-strikeout gem over Lamar — there was little room, or hope, for improvement from TCU pitcher Jake Eissler.

But that didn't mean he had to throw in the towel, either. And Saturday against West Virginia he didn't.

Eissler worked 5 2/3 innings and allowed four runs, on a three-run blast in the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth, and TCU's group effort on offense helped topple the Mountaineers 10-4 to even the three-game series at one win apiece.

The teams meet again Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lupton Stadium.

Eissler, who shared national pitcher of the week honors with teammate Haylen Green (who lost a no-hit bid in the ninth inning before closing out a complete game 1-hitter), gave up seven hits and a walk while striking out five.

Charles King came on in relief and limited West Virginia to one hit over the final 3 1/3 innings.

TCU (28-19, 9-10 Big 12) got its offense started early as Coby Boulware led off the first with a single, stole second and third, then scored on a Michael Landestoy ground out.

With two outs and the bases full in the second, Josh Watson bounced a ball between short and third to plate two runs for a 3-0 TCU lead.

It was 5-0 after third-inning tallies on a run-scoring ground out by Connor Wanhanen and an RBI single from Connor Shepherd.

The visiting Mountaineers (26-22, 8-12) needed only one swing to make a game of it in the fourth. After Eissler retired the first two batters, a walk and a single set the table for a three-run homer to left by catcher Ivan Gonzalez.

But TCU responded in the bottom of the inning with two runs on a single by Landestoy and A.J. Balta scoring on a double-play ball, giving the hosts a more comfortable 7-2 cushion.

After Friday's sloppy effort in a 4-3 loss which ended a season-long six-game winning streak, coach Jim Schlossnagel had to be happier with his team's effort Saturday. All nine TCU starters had hits, eight scored runs and four had multiple RBIs.

Meanwhile West Virginia plowed through seven pitchers, none going further than five outs and all but one allowing a run.

South Alabama 6, UTA 2

For the second night in a row, UT Arlington saw an early 2-all tie turn quickly into a loss to South Alabama.

The Mavericks (21-29, 11-15 Sun Belt) pulled even in the fourth inning when Noah Vaughan clubbed the first pitch of the inning for a solo home run. It was the first hit of the game for UTA, which would add only two more singles the rest of the way.

South Alabama (28-20, 16-9) put the game on ice in the fifth inning behind a leadoff walk and five singles to push across three runs.

The teams complete their series on Sunday.

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle wasn't happy with how the Frogs played Friday in a series opener vs. West Virginia. The Frogs are 8-10 in Big 12 play.

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