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TCU baseball heads to Houston focused on building pitching depth and getting healthy

TCU baseball fine-tuning for 2019 season

TCU baseball fine-tuning for 2019 season
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TCU baseball fine-tuning for 2019 season

Expensive experience.

That’s how TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle described what a few members of his pitching staff are going through early on this season.

Jared Janczak didn’t have a fall practice and has struggled in his first two starts. Brandon Williamson didn’t pitch in the fall, either, nor did Dawson Barr.

“They’re having to fine tune things and work on things in games … that’s expensive experience,” Schlossnagle said. “Practice and intrasquad and fall games are inexpensive experience. Games in the spring? Expensive. And that’s a tough position to be in when you’re not in a rhythm and working through some things in a course of a week.”

For the Frogs, it’s a necessary evil. Expensive experience is the only thing available with the season in full swing.

Next up is Shriners Hospitals for Children Baseball Classic this weekend at Minute Maid Park, another high-profile tournament for TCU.

The Frogs (5-2) will face Houston on at 3 p.m. Friday; Texas A&M at 7 p.m. Saturday; and Rice at 7 p.m. Sunday. Left-hander Nick Lodolo is expected to start Friday followed by Williamson on Saturday and Janczak on Sunday.

Lodolo is looking for his first win of the season after two hard-luck losses in which he pitched well, but the offense struggled to provide run support.

And, as stated, Williamson and Janczak are working to find early-season form. Schlossnagle mentioned Janczak is working on a few changes to his delivery in hopes of producing better results.

In his first two starts, Janczak has combined to allow six runs on six hits with four strikeouts and six walks over 6 1/3 innings.

More important, TCU is trying to develop a couple more reliable arms in the bullpen. Schlossnagle said his really good teams in previous seasons have had eight or nine pitchers who throw the majority of the innings, and right now the Frogs have seven (Lodolo, Janczak, Williamson, Jake Eissler, Charles King, Cal Coughlin and Marcelo Perez).

Schlossnagle would like to see a couple from a group including Barr, Haylen Green, Augie Mihlbauer, Dalton Brown and Spencer Arrighetti emerge.

“I feel good about our team, but we’ve got to continue to develop our bullpen,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s going to take more than five or six pitchers to get to where we want to go. We still need two more guys.”

Shortstop injuries

TCU could be without its everyday shortstop for this weekend.

Hunter Wolfe is sidelined with a sprained ankle, and Adam Oviedo is not expected to be ready for another week.

Schlossnagle said Wolfe is getting better, although his lateral movement wasn’t where it needed to be for Wednesday’s game against Sam Houston State. For now, expect the Frogs to continue playing Bobby Goodloe at short.

“Bobby is doing the best he can, but he’s not an everyday shortstop,” Schlossnagle said.

Hello, Houston

Schlossnagle is always on board for his team playing in the Houston area. It’s a baseball-rich community and a hotbed for TCU recruits.

Previous TCU players from the Houston area include Matthew Purke and Matt Carpenter.

“We’ve built this program on players from Houston, at least in the early years,” Schlossnagle said. “Plus, TCU in general gets so many students from Houston. It’s great to give everyone a chance to come see us play.”

TCU plays in this tournament at Minute Maid Park every other year, and also has an agreement to play at Dodger Stadium in the even-numbered years.

Schlossnagle likes being able to tell recruits they’ll at least play in one major league stadium every season. Plus, it ensures the team will have experience playing on the biggest of stages, a critical factor later in the season.

“You can say you’ve already been there, whether it’s a big conference series, conference tournament or postseason,” Schlossnagle said. “We never want to play a game later in the year and say, ‘We’ve never faced this environment.’”

No makeup

TCU will not make up Wednesday’s game at Sam Houston State that was canceled in the second inning because of fog, Schlossnagle said. The schedule simply doesn’t allow for that sort of makeup game.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Baseball Classic

Friday vs. Houston, 3 p.m. Minute Maid Park

TV: AT&T SportsNet/ MLB.com

Radio: 88.7 FM KTCU

Saturday vs. Texas A&M, 7 p.m. Minute Maid Park

TV: AT&T SportsNet/ MLB.com

Radio: 88.7 FM KTCU

Sunday vs. Rice, 7 p.m. Minute Maid Park

TV: AT&T SportsNet/ MLB.com

Radio: 88.7 FM KTCU

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