Monday, February 27, 2012

TCU-Fullerton recap

Alright, fair-weather TCU fans. It's time to jump off the baseball bandwagon. At 2-4, this year's squad is obviously not going anywhere- so why waste your time with them? For the rest of us that realize there is going to be a significant learning curve for such a young (and injury-riddled) team, though, it's nice to see some gritty performances by freshmen and sophomores in this tough opening stretch of the season- even if the downs have the ups out-numbered so far.

Nobody filled the role of a young player stepping up in a big moment this weekend more than Jerrick Suiter. The 6'4" 235lb true freshman from Indiana, made his debut at the plate on Friday (although he did pitch 2/3rds of an inning last week against Baylor) with two outs in the top of the 8th, two runners on and the Frogs trailing 1-0. The first pitch he saw turned into a triple, and he later scored himself to provide the difference in the 3-2 win.

But Suiter wasn't alone in illustrating the good things that are still to come for this green squad. Freshman shortstop Derek O'Dell had a hit in all three games, including his first career home run on Saturday. Braden Mattson had two timely hits and drew two walks on the weekend, while showing that he can catch as well as play first if needed. Reliever Preston Morrison had another great outing, working a very efficient three scoreless innings to help preserve Friday's victory.

Of the veterans on the squad, it was good to see the bats of outfielders Jason Coats and Kyle Von Tungeln come alive this weekend. Coats spread seven hits over the weekend, including a 4-5 performance on Sunday that fueled the near-comeback. Von Tungeln had five hits in the series, including his first career home run. On the mound, Andrew Mitchell played the role of staff ace well on Friday when he struck out 12 batters in his five innings of work. Closer Kaleb Merck struck out four in his three scoreless innings of work, and sophomore righty Nick Frey worked three gutsy innings of relief on Sunday- keeping the Titans at bay while the Frogs nearly rallied to win the game.

The next eight games are at home, and all against teams that the younger players on the roster will see a lot of over the next few years (Texas State, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Tech). Hopefully a few more of the vets can get back to normal (or in a lot of cases, healthy) and a few more of the new guys can start to make their own contributions as this team begins to erase the memory of this sub-.500 first part of the season.

11 comments:

Spit Purple said...

Can someone with more college baseball knowledge than me please explain the travel curfew rule, or whatever is was that made us give up yesterday? Or did some admin person simply book a flight that was too early?

Lyle Lanley said...

It's actually fairly common for non-conference series that are played between teams as far apart as TCU and Fullerton are.

I'm with you, though- 3 hours and 15 minutes isn't an abnormally long game. It would've been nice to see the Frogs get one more inning to possibly pull off the comeback.

jts.johnsmith said...

Curious if you watched the game Sunday or simply looked at the stats. In my opinion Frey did nothing to state his case for a bigger role. Although the errors defensively definitely factored in to the 4th inning meltdown, and Frey seemed to bounce back in the next few innings, I hardly think giving up 4 hits, hitting two batters, and throwing a wild pitch is a successful outing.

John Lamberth said...

I'm not jumping off. It's waaaay early, we're young, we've played strong ranked opponents, only 2 home games, and only one of those losses became out of reach (Baylor).
And, although I like Davy Wright a lot, and he has filled in admirably, we're really missing the bat and glove of Jantzen Witte.

jts.johnsmith said...

Along with allowing all inherited runners to score and giving up 4 of his own.

Lyle Lanley said...

You've made some good points, John Smith, and I've amended the wording of my post.

To answer your original question: I listened to the game on the radio, and had briefly turned the game off during Fullerton's rally. I mistakenly thought that all of the runs were attributed to Teakell.

I still stand by my point of mentioning Frey's effort, though, because he did pitch very well in the 5th & 6th innings to allow the Frogs to get back into the game.

SnK said...

I watched. Frey was solid after a rocky start and saved the pen. Having no defense makes pitching hard.

jts.johnsmith said...

I've followed TCU baseball closely both before and throughout Jim Schlossnagle's time here and will admit you cannot argue with what he has done for this program. However, since Omaha, the Frogs seem to have taken a step back. Obviously, bringing in talents such as Purke, Winkler, Featherston, etc. you will have to deal with the fact that many will leave after their junior years. Rebuilding seems to be a fact of life in college baseball. You can argue that without injuries the 2011 team had a solid chance of making it back to Omaha; however, there has seemed to be a trend of similiar mistakes since 2010. Missing signs, baserunning errors, the inability to get bunts down, etc. Although this team is young and mistakes can be expected, the 2011 team was not and yet these mistakes seemed to surface consistently. Just curious what you make of the frequency in which these problems arise and why they do not seem to have been addressed.

Worth Hills Caddy said...

Who gets the start on Tuesday?

Lyle Lanley said...

@ John Smith- I've noticed those things, as well. I couldn't tell you about what the coaching staff is or isn't doing to address these issues, but hopefully we'll notice them a lot less as the season goes on.

@ WHC- I believe Schloss said on his pregame interview on Sunday that Finnegan would be starting on Tuesday against SWT.

Slay Purple said...

Nothing quite a frustrating as watching your preseason All-American Catcher (Elander) replaced with a freshman. Hopefully he gets the kinks works out & can start contributing on offense & defense.

I have seen plenty flashes of talent so far this season & definitely think we can get all of the pieces figured out in time to make a run in the post season. Should be a fun season & I can't wait to get Witte, Rivera & Cron back from the DL.