Left-hand pitcher Nick Lodolo is beginning to heat up and emerge as one of college baseball’s aces, if he hasn’t already.
Lodolo’s no-hit bid was broken up with one out in the top of the seventh, but he tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts as TCU defeated Eastern Michigan 12-2 on Friday at Lupton Stadium.
“Pretty much everything was working tonight,” Lodolo said. “At times some stuff was better than the others, but overall I’d say all three pitches were good.”
TCU (10-6) picked up four hits during a three-run second inning. Jake Guenther led off the frame with a double to right field and stole third before scoring on an Austin Henry ground-out.
Adam Ovideo and Zach Humphreys got back-to-back singles, and both scored on a double to right from Andrew Keefer.
“They’ve been working really hard and I remember earlier in the year when people were asking about the runs and if they’d come, and they did tonight again like they have been the past couple of weeks,” Lodolo said.
Lodolo had one strikeout through two innings. He struck out two batters in the third, fourth and sixth innings and struck out the side in the fifth and seventh inning. He improves to 3-2 on the season, winning his third-straight game.
Lodolo gave up his only hit, a double by Jared Kauffman, in the seventh.
Eastern Michigan (3-14-1) got two runs in the eighth off Cal Coughlin with a bases-loaded walk by John Rensel and infield single by Kauffman.
“I did notice (the no-hitter) a little bit, but honestly it didn’t matter, I was just worried about putting up zeros,” Lodolo said.
Lodolo lowered his ERA to 1.36. After allowing two runs in five innings during the season opener vs. Cal-State Fullerton, Lodolo has gone seven innings each of his past four starts. He’s struck out 44 batters in that span.
“The approach is to fill up the strike zone and get outs,” he said. “Preferably quick outs, the strikeouts just come, but I want to limit the pitch count and go deep in ball games. Biggest thing for a pitcher is to give the team a chance to win. I’ll continue to build outing after outing.”
Henry recorded a two-run single, and Conner Shepherd blasted a pinch-hit grand slam, a towering shot over the right-field fence in the bottom of the seventh to extend TCU’s lead to 10-0.
Henry belted a two-run homer in the eighth. He finished with five RBI.
“We’re getting into a rhythm and hope we build off it,” Lodolo said.
Game 2 of the three-game series will be at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Lupton Stadium. Game 3 will be at 1 p.m. on Sunday.