College Confidential

TCU gets benefit of winning series in ‘Super’ atmosphere at Texas Tech

TCU third baseman Derek Odell's jersey came up dirty during a game two weeks ago against Oklahoma State, one of three Big 12 series the Horned Frogs have played this year. They are 6-3 in conference games following a 2-1 series victory at Texas Tech last Thursday through Saturday.
TCU third baseman Derek Odell's jersey came up dirty during a game two weeks ago against Oklahoma State, one of three Big 12 series the Horned Frogs have played this year. They are 6-3 in conference games following a 2-1 series victory at Texas Tech last Thursday through Saturday. Star-Telegram

TCU didn’t get everything it wanted out of a three-game series at Texas Tech – like a sweep.

But the Horned Frogs did win the series and got to do it in a high-energy environment against a good team.

“It was a really good environment,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said Saturday after a 4-1 victory in Game 3 of the series. “It was a good challenge. It was a regional/super-regional environment.”

Texas Tech sold out Game 3 at Rip Griffin Park with a crowd of 4,432 and was 39 seats shy of a sellout of Game 1 on Thursday night. The Good Friday afternoon game drew 3,974.

“We would have liked to have won them all, but it was awesome,” Schlossnagle said. “The weather was good. The fans were great. Tech did a good job of promoting the series. It was really good.”

TCU won Game 1 of the series 8-0 behind the pitching of Mitchell Traver. Preston Morrison took his first loss of the season in Game 2, a 5-1 loss against the complete-game pitching of Tech’s Cameron Smith. Saturday, Alex Young gave up a leadoff home run but nothing else in seven innings.

“Yesterday’s guy pitched really well,” Schlossnagle said of Smith, who held TCU to five hits on Friday. “He really suffocated us, keeping us off speed. He threw three pitches for strikes – did a really good job.”

Offensive review

TCU scored 13 runs on 21 hits in the series at Lubbock, enough to win it, but with little power.

No news to the Horned Frogs.

“I have a lot of respect for Tech’s pitching, but the makeup of this team is to win 3-1, 4-1 games,” Schlossnagle said. “I’ve accepted that. I know our fans want us to score more, and I would certainly like to, but I don’t think we’re consistently going to be that club because we just don’t hit for enough power to score seven to 10 runs a game. Unless the other team really gives us something.”

TCU had no extra-base hits among 10 hits Saturday. There was a double and a triple among five hits Friday and a triple among six hits on Thursday.

“We had an inning where we had three hits and didn’t score, another inning with a hit and a walk and three stolen bases and didn’t score,” Schlossnagle said. “Now, the wind was blowing in Saturday, so we had some hits with guys on base but couldn’t score them from second base because the outfielders were playing so close.”

Conference outlook

The Horned Frogs have played three Big 12 series and are 6-3, having swept Baylor, lost 2-1 to Oklahoma State and now beaten Tech 2-1. But their 6-3 record ties for the second-most wins in the Big 12. For Schlossnagle, it reinforced his ideas about the strength of the conference.

“To me, it’s one of the top two leagues in the country,” he said. “I know Oklahoma is playing well. West Virginia had a good weekend. It’s a challenge every weekend. You’ve just got to find a way to win series. Certainly, us losing a series at home, at some point, if we’re going to win a championship, we’re going to have to make up for that somewhere unless someone really gives us some help. We’ve got five conference weekends left; we’ll see what we can do.”

The Horned Frogs’ next conference series is at Kansas State next weekend, after Monday’s game at Abilene Chrisitan and Tuesday’s home game against Dallas Baptist.

Pitching plans

Brian Howard will start the Monday game at Abilene Christian, one of two games against ACU that was added to the TCU schedule following the cancellation of the Cal Poly series in February because of weather.

“We did that because we need to continue the development of some guys with our pitching staff that aren’t getting to pitch as much, like Brian Howard,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s going to start, and we’re going to let him go as long as he can. Travis Evans hasn’t pitched in a while. Treigloff’s gotten to pitch, we’ve got to get more out of him. Hopefully those guys can give us a good effort.”

Tyler Alexander will get his regular Tuesday start when the Horned Frogs are home to play Dallas Baptist.

Briefly

Pitcher Ryan Burnett will have an MRI on his arm Monday, coach Jim Schlossnagle said. Burnett grabbed his elbow after a pitch during his relief appearance Friday and left the game. His season ended with an injury last year, too.

Saturday’s game was the 11th time TCU pitching recorded 10 or more strikeouts in a game.

TCU allowed a run or less for the 13th time in 29 games.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407

Twitter: @calexmendez

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