TCU salvages weekend series against UC-Irvine

Freshman pitcher Nick Lodolo made his much anticipated debut Sunday. (Photo taken by Michael Clements)

Freshman pitcher Nick Lodolo made his much anticipated debut Sunday. (Photo taken by Michael Clements)

By Garrett Podell

After dropping their series of the season in California, the Horned Frogs bounced back in a big way on the Sunday finale to redeem their weekend. TCU wraps up their four-game Golden State road trip with a game against Long Beach State Tuesday night at 8 p.m.

Game 3: TCU 16-UCI 7

TCU avoids sweep, tops UC Irvine 16-7

No. 1 TCU avoided a series sweep against UC Irvine with a 16-7 win over the Anteaters on Sunday afternoon. 

TCU took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first after a lead-off walk to Austen Wade. With two outs, Josh Watson singled to center field for TCU’s first lead of the season.

Josh Watson has extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

The lead didn’t last long when UC Irvine battled in the bottom of the inning to take a 2-1 advantage. UCI took the lead without a hit as there were four walks and a hit batter to bring two Anteaters home.

The lead changed for the second and final time in the third when TCU’s bats come to life in the third. With bases loaded, Nolan Brown hit a shot to right field bringing in two runs for the Frogs.

The Frogs had the lead and never looked back.

The Frogs had 10 men come up to bat in the fourth and scored six times. With one out and two on, Austin Wade RBI doubled to left field. Cam Warner flied out to right field but brought in a runner. UC Irvine walked both Evan Skoug and Luken Baker to load the bases for the Frogs with two outs. Josh Watson then launched a double to right center to clear the bases. Following Watson, Brown singled to center to bring in Watson for the sixth run of the inning.

The six runs brought in surpassed the five runs the Frogs had scored in Games 1 and 2 against the Anteaters combined.

TCU added to their lead in the fifth making it 14-2. Luken Baker capitalized on bases loaded with a 2 RBI single to right field. Brown RBI singled up the middle and Elliot Barzilli sac flied to end the inning.

Josh Watson and Nolan Brown led the Frogs with four RBIs each.

UC Irvine attempted to rally late the game adding five runs, but TCU responded with two of their own in the eighth to account for the final score.

The Anteaters’ bullpen walked 10 batters and the Horned Frogs took advantage by scoring on each walk.

Jared Janczak (4-0) picked up the win after allowing just two runs in six innings. Ryan Burnett, Sean Wymer and Austin Boyles all pitched for an inning in relief and held UC Irvine to 7 runs.

With the win, TCU improves to 12-3 on the season. The Frogs return to the field Tuesday night to play Long Beach State. First pitch is set for 8:30 p.m. CT.

Game 2: UCI 6-TCU 3

TCU falters against UC Irvine as they lose their first series

No. 1 TCU lost their first series of the season in a 6-3 loss against UC Irvine Saturday afternoon. 

TCU experienced deja vu as UC Irvine hustled in four runs in the first. TCU walked lead-off batter Evan Cassolato and Cole Kreuter homered to left center, giving the Anteaters a confident 2-0 start. Doubles by Adrian Damla and Jake Hazard added two more to the board.

UC Irvine has scored 12 first inning runs in the series, including the four in Game 2.

Nick Lodolo (2-1) was able to settle in after a rough first inning to retire the next 14 batters he faced. He finished after 5 innings with six strikeouts and just one walk.

The first Horned Frog run touched home in the fifth as TCU loaded the bases with nobody out. In between Luken Baker and Nolan Brown singles, Josh Watson was hit by a pitch. With bases loaded and no outs, Ryan Merrill worked a five-pitch walk as Baker jogged home. A fielder’s choice and a double play shortly ended the inning.

The sixth inning gave the Frogs more hope for a comeback. Austen Wade smacked a double off the leg of the Anteaters’ pitcher and advanced to third on a line out by Cam Warner. A wild pitch gave TCU an easy run to make the game 4-2.

Freshman Charles King took over the mound in the sixth with a runner on first and no outs. King picked off the runner at first, recording his first career pick-off.

Leading off the seventh inning, Nolan Brown knocked a homer to right field, keeping TCU’s comeback chances alive. This was Brown’s first home run of the season and the second of his career. Brown’s last home run was on May 15, 2015 at Oklahoma.

Three walks loaded the bases for the Frogs with one out; TCU had the potential to do some serious damage. The Anteaters worked in two strikeouts to keep the tying and game-winning runs on base.

TCU’s rally was not enough as UC Irvine retaliated with two runs in the seventh. The Anteaters went on to defeat the Frogs with a three-run advantage.

The Horned Frogs drop to 11-3 on the season. TCU will try and avoid a series sweep on Sunday afternoon. Jared Janczak will throw the first pitch at 3 p.m. CT for the Frogs.

Game 1: UCI 11-TCU 2

UC Irvine snaps TCU’s seven-game winning streak

TCU’s seven-game winning streak was snapped in the series opener against UC Irvine Friday night. 

The Anteaters scored eight runs just in the bottom of the first inning as they went on to defeat the Horned Frogs 11-2 in Irvine, Calif.

UCI was able to go down the batting order in the first inning and eight were brought home before the Frogs were finally able to end it. With the bases loaded and only one out, the Anteaters tallied six straight hits. Christian Kloss hit a base-clearing triple that brought lengthened their lead.

Giving up eight hits and recording only one out, right-hander Brian Howard (2-2) took the loss.  Last week against LSU, Howard gave up four runs in the first.

Freshman Jake Eissler relieved for Howard in the first and worked in five solid innings striking out 4 Anteaters. Haylen Green and Cal Coughlin managed to hold UC Irvine to just two hits and striking out a combined five in the last 2 ⅔ innings.

TCU put something on the scoreboard in the fourth picking up a run on two hits. Evan Skoug opened the fourth inning with a walk. With one out, Josh Watson singled down the middle and advanced to second on the throw, putting Skoug on third. Nolan Brown’s groundout RBI brought Skoug home, tallying TCU’s first run of the game. Cam Warner RBI singled to third base marking the second and final TCU run.

UC Irvine’s bullpen only executed a combined 5 strikeouts. TCU’s offense was swinging and making contact with the ball, they were just hitting it directly to the infielders which led to quick and easy outs for the Anteaters.

Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the fifth gave the Anteaters another run. Two more men crossed home in the sixth as UC Irvine increased their lead to nine.

TCU’s defense played error free for the second time this season.