TCU baseball’s Jim Schlossnagle talks opening of Big 12 play
TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle hopes this is the basement floor. It’s hard to envision much worse.
Baylor completed a three-game sweep of the Frogs on Sunday afternoon, winning 12-1 in a run-rule game after eight innings at Lupton Stadium. The Bears outscored the Frogs 33-6 in the series. It is Baylor’s first three-game sweep of TCU in Fort Worth since 1990.
TCU (23-19, 6-9 Big 12) had 10 errors over the three-game stretch and has now lost five straight and eight of its last nine. Baylor (30-12, 12-5) has won four straight and is the Big 12’s leading team.
“I’m sure hoping this is the basement,” Schlossnagle said. “I’m hoping this is the bottom floor. You can only go up from here.”
Any hope of salvaging the series finale disappeared quickly when Baylor scored three runs in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings.
Baylor jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Leadoff man Nick Loftin opened with a double down the left-field line to start the inning, and Richard Cunningham followed with a bunt single to put runners at the corners.
Shea Langeliers delivered an RBI single, and Cunningham eventually scored on a wild pitch by TCU starter Brandon Williamson. Langeliers went on to score on a single by Cole Haring.
An error by TCU in the fourth inning proved costly as Baylor scored all three runs with two outs, and it went on to score three more in the fifth.
Baylor put the game out of reach with two runs in the eighth on consecutive RBI singles by Josh Bissonette and Davion Downey.
“They’re a good team, and they’re pretty hot right now,” said TCU senior right-hander Jared Janczak, who allowed three runs (two earned) over 1 2/3 innings of relief.
“That’s the name of the game. If you’re good and you’re hot, that’s a fun game to play.”
TCU has played that type of game more often than not in the Schlossnagle era. This is a program that won 50 games in 2017.
Janczak feels the team is not too far away from playing that type of baseball. It’s just a matter of putting it together.
“We’re on the brink of it,” Janczak said. “We show it in a lot of different ways, then we don’t show it in other ways. We’re right on the cusp. I believe in these guys. They’re incredible teammates. They work their tails off. We’re so close.
“I can feel it, but there’s a few things we’ve got to clean up all around.”
The problem is the number of games and time are dwindling to do so.
TCU has just three Big 12 series left in the regular season, including two on the road at West Virginia next weekend and at Texas Tech from May 16-18.
Morale is “horrible,” Schlossnagle said, but the want-to and effort is there. It’s just a matter of whether that one defining moment, one season-changing game, is still out there for the Frogs.
“I think the guys have the right want-to. I don’t doubt any of that, but morale’s horrible,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s horrible. I’m at fault for some of that. It’s the fine line between holding people accountable and living up to the standards of the program. I’m just not very good at Pollyanna thinking. I don’t believe in it. So it’s not in my nature to say everything is going to be OK when it’s not going to be OK. It’s just not who I am. It’s hard for me to change my stripes.
“I need to come up with an idea real quick that works, that’s for sure. We still have a season to play. We still have an opportunity to compete for something. But, yeah, it’s a mystery. It’s been a long time since I’ve been a part of a stretch like this.”
Wolfe likely done
TCU junior Hunter Wolfe is likely done for the season with an ankle injury, Schlossnagle said. Wolfe sustained the injury during Saturday’s game and will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of it.
“We’ll find out,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s doubtful he’ll play the rest of the year.”
That would be yet another blow to TCU’s season.
Wolfe, who has served as the leadoff hitter since Porter Brown went down with a season-ending injury, has batted .302 with a .423 on-base percentage.
TCU third baseman Bobby Goodloe batted leadoff Sunday.
Schlossnagle said this is the first season he’s lost two leadoff batters, as well as two projected starters in the rotation. Left-hander Russell Smith and right-hander Caleb Sloan each underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery before the season started.
“I’ve never lost two leadoff guys. I’ve never lost two pitchers that were supposed to be in the rotation,” Schlossnage said, shaking his head.