By the sixth inning Friday, TCU held a comfortable 5-0 lead over Sacred Heart, and starter Mitchell Traver was rolling, his 6-foot-7 frame delivering a mix of powerful strikeouts and efficient groundball outs.
The Horned Frogs, with a chance to strengthen their pitching for the weekend, wanted to see how long he could last.
“[Pitching coach Kirk] Saarloos asked me, ‘How much time have you spent in the weight room these last couple years?’” Traver said. “I said, ‘A lot, especially being hurt.’ I had prepared to do that.”
TCU eventually won 10-0, with Traver pitching seven scoreless innings on 96 pitches. His longer-than-normal outing forced him out of the mix for the rest of the tournament, but it left the Frogs with nearly their entire staff available the rest of the weekend.
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Ace Preston Morrison started Saturday against North Carolina State, and left-handers Alex Young and Tyler Alexander — both with sub-3.00 ERAs — are available Sunday.
Perhaps more crucial, bullpen specialists Preston Guillory, Trey Teakell and Brian Howard and closer Riley Ferrell went unused, as Brian Trieglaff finished the final two innings.
“It was a challenge — it was the longest I’ve gone all season, but at the same time, I do what my team needs me to do,” Traver said. “I tried to go as deep as I could, so I’m glad it worked out that way.”
Jones ties record
TCU shortstop Keaton Jones tied Matt Carpenter on Saturday for most games played in school history at 241.
Jones, who arrived on campus as a walk-on pitcher from Laguna Beach, Calif., has started at shortstop since his freshman year.
Inside the park
Garrett Crain got TCU on the scoreboard in the third inning Saturday with what was eventually ruled an inside-the -park home run.
With two outs in the inning, Crain lined a pitch to left field that fell just shy of the Brock Deatherage’s glove.
The ball then shot past Deatherage, rolling to the warning track behind him. Crain saw this and charged hard around second base, as Deatherage heaved the ball back toward the infield.
But when the throw sailed over the N.C. State cutoff man, TCU third base coach Bill Mosiello waved Crain home.
Saturday’s losers’ bracket game between Stony Brook and Sacred Heart underwent a 43-minute rain delay during the first inning.
With two outs in the bottom half of the frame, it started pouring. The umpires sent both teams to the dugout, and the grounds crew scrambled to tarp the field. And just as they did, the rain stopped and the weather remained clear the rest of the day.
The delay, followed by Stony Brook’s 11-6 win that featured 32 combined hits, forced TCU and N.C. State to start at 8:05 p.m., an hour later than scheduled.
▪ Stony Brook left fielder Jack Parenty started the regional tournament 6 for 6 at the plate. He went 3 for 3 against N.C. State on Friday and started the same against Sacred Heart on Saturday. He finished 3 for 5 with two runs.
▪ TCU starter Preston Morrison and N.C. State starter Brian Brown crafted their way through the early innings, combining at one point for six straight strikeouts across the second and third.
Ryan Osborne, 817-390-7760