‘Just the worst pitching staff’: TCU baseball coach fumes over 10 walks issued in loss

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle didn’t hold his tongue when discussing his pitching staff. Not on a night they combined to issue 10 walks, including four four-pitch walks.

“It’s just the worst pitching staff that I’ve had in 16 years to this point,” Schlossnagle said after TCU’s 11-6 loss at Dallas Baptist on Tuesday night.

“It’s disappointing.”

Schlossnagle ranted more about the struggles of a pitching staff that has a combined 4.23 ERA through the first 31 games. The most frustrating part is that the offense, in Schlossnagle’s mind, is good enough to win a national championship.

The pitching staff simply isn’t getting the job done.

“We don’t just have an Omaha offense. We have a national championship offense,” Schlossnagle said. “These guys, no disrespect to some of our other teams, I don’t know if they’re more gritty than some of those ‘16, ‘17 teams, but it’s a real offense that’s tough to pitch to and fight regardless of the score.

“And it’s just shameful ... our pitching staff should be ashamed of where we are right now.”

Schlossnagle is hopeful that the pitching staff starts to show better signs this weekend when TCU (20-11) hosts Seton Hall (14-15) of the Big East. A three-game series gets underway with a doubleheader Friday at Lupton Stadium.

A solid pitching staff has been a staple in the five seasons TCU made a trip to the College World Series in Omaha. Those Frog teams all had sub-4.00 ERAs in 2010 (3.55), 2014 (2.22, the No. 1 ERA in the country), 2015 (2.45, the No. 2 ERA in the country), 2016 (3.18) and 2017 (3.91).

In fact, the last time TCU’s pitching staff had an ERA over 4.00 was in 2009 (4.24).

Schlossnagle seems at a loss as to why the pitching staff has struggled as much as they have this season. He mentioned pitchers such as Dawson Barr, Matt Rudis and Brandon Williamson all missing parts of the fall, but it’s too late for that to serve as an excuse.

“That’s huge development time for them, but that’s not an excuse anymore,” Schlossnagle said. “We’re deep enough in the season now. The last time I checked it was still 60 feet, 6 inches [from the pitching rubber to home plate] in high school or junior college.”

Schlossnagle shook his head and said after an almost four-hour game Tuesday night, “It’s just a beating, man. This is a beating. These games are a beating.

“I hate that people have to pay to watch it.”

Schlossnagle hopes that his message gets through to the pitching staff. TCU has a team capable of competing for the Big 12 championship, and making another run for Omaha.

But the offense can’t always bail the pitching staff out. The walks may be the most frustrating part of it all. Along with four four-pitch walks, TCU also gave away four free bases on full counts -- including one when it started 0-2.

“It is what it is,” Schlossnaagle said. ”If you don’t throw strikes, what do you want me to do? Tell you it’s going to be OK? It’s not going to be OK. It’s not OK.”

The mental mistakes and errors are just as frustrating.

TCU had a balk called against it Tuesday. Wild pitches allowed runs to score. An outfielder missed a routine fly ball that allowed three unearned runs to score.

“It’s just disappointing, man,” Schlossnagle said. “For 16 years, we’ve prided ourselves on playing really clean baseball. And this is the most unclean brand of baseball that I’ve been a part of in 30 years of college coaching.”

Doubleheader on Friday

With inclement weather in the forecast for Saturday, TCU and Seton Hall have agreed to play a doubleheader on Friday. The first game will start at 3 p.m. and the second game will remain at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets for Saturday’s game will only be good for the 3 p.m. Friday game. TCU will clear the stadium between games, and the Friday night game will go on as scheduled. If fans with Saturday tickets can’t make the 3 p.m. Friday game, they may exchange the tickets for a future game.

The three-game series finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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