TCU’s offense needed four pitches to take a lead over Sacred Heart on Friday in the opening round of the Fort Worth Regional.
Leadoff hitter Cody Jones, the Horned Frogs’ Big 12 offensive player of the year, pulled a 1-2 pitch over the right field wall, just inside the foul pole.
It was Jones’ first leadoff homer of the season, and it put TCU up 1-0.
Jones started the Frogs’ next rally, in the third, when he a drew a walk with one out. He later came around to score on an RBI single from Evan Skoug.
TCU and Sacred Heart featured about as opposite of a pitching matchup as you might find, at least for a regional tournament.
The Frogs’ Mitchell Traver, at 6-foot-7, was armed with a fastball that sat in the low 90s.
On the other hand, Sacred Heart’s James Cooksey, at 6-foot, relied on stuff more than power, with a curveball in the mid 60s.
Cooksey held on for four earned runs — the Jones homer and a three-run third — through four innings.
Trouble came when he started walking TCU batters, which he did five times, including three times in the third. Right-hander Dan Wertz relieved Cooksey to start the fifth.
Traver, meanwhile, was steady, working through the first six inning in 82 pitches. At that point, he had struck out six and benefited from six groundouts.
N.C. State solid
In a 3-0 win over Stony Brook, No. 2 seed N.C. State started Curt Britt, who normally comes out of the bullpen for the Wolfpack. His 5 1/3 innings of scoreless work — followed by an 11-out save from Will Gilbert — likely sets up a start Saturday from left-hander Brian Brown.
Brown, an ACC all-freshman selection, leads N.C. State with seven wins and a 1.72 ERA. Right-hander Joe O’Donnell, the Wolfpack’s other starter, also has seven wins with a 2.03 ERA.
On offense, N.C. State was powered by leadoff hitter Logan Ratledge, whose two-run homer broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning. Preston Palmeiro went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk.
Saturday’s winners bracket game will be televised on ESPNU at 7 p.m. It’ll also be streamed online on ESPN3, along with the losers bracket game at 2:30 p.m.
▪ Sacred Heart athletic director Bobby Valentine — the former major league manager — was in attendance Friday night and made a brief stop in the press box.
▪ By the first game Friday, the Lupton Stadium field was mostly dry, despite another round of torrential rains Thursday night. Rain wasn’t a problem throughout the day, with the sun peeking out by the time TCU and Sacred Heart took the field for warmups.
▪ TCU junior Evan Williams made his third start of the season, in left field. He singled in the fourth inning.
▪ Attendance for TCU vs. Sacred Heart was 3,662.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760