TCU Dominates in Big 12 Opener
March 21, 2014
FORT WORTH - A dominating effort in all three phases of the game helped the TCU earn a 9-0 victory over No. 25 Texas Tech in the Horned Frogs' Big 12 opener. Brandon Finnegan threw seven scoreless innings and Keaton Jones provided three hits to lead the offense.
"That was as close to a traditional TCU baseball game as I've seen in a year and a half," said head coach Jim Schlossnagle. "We had a lot of great at-bats tonight. I thought (Jeremie) Fagnan had some awesome at-bats. Keaton (Jones) has really been good the last week or so. He needs to be because our lineup is top-heavy. We need depth at the bottom of the lineup."
Finnegan (4-2) was strong on the mound en route to the victory. He allowed just three hits, walked two and struck out 10. Only one runner advanced past first base and just once did the Red Raiders send more than four batters to the plate in an inning. Brian Trieglaff tossed two scoreless innings, giving up one hit and striking out three.
"I thought he (Finnegan) battled," said Schlossnagle. "They hit some balls right at us, but he has matured. I can't say enough about how far he has come - his presence, his maturity and his ability to right the ship."
TCU broke the game open in the fourth inning as nine men came to the plate. Keaton Jones led off the frame with a base hit. A walk to Connor Castellano followed and Kyle Bacak sacrificed both runners into scoring position with only one out. Cody Jones grounded out to drive in the second run of the game.
With two outs in the fourth, the floodgates opened. Dylan Fitzgerald doubled home Castellano. Cron followed with his second double of the game to drive in Fitzgerald and he came around to score on a seeing-eye single from Derek Odell to make it a 5-0 contest.
TCU kept pouring on the offense in the fifth inning as it used a two-out, three-base error to plate two more runs for a 7-0 lead. The duo of Keaton Jones and Castellano got things started again as they both singled to put two on. With two outs, Fitzgerald lined the ball to the center fielder. The ball ricocheted off his glove, allowing both runners to score.
Texas Tech's lone scoring threat came in the sixth after a lead-off walk. With one out, Ryan Long single to put two on with one out. Finnegan got Jake Barrios to fly out to left then struck out Eric Gutierrez to end the inning.
The Frogs tacked on their eighth run of the game in the sixth. Odell walked to open the inning. Back-to-back singles from Boomer White and Jeremie Fagnan loaded the base. Keaton Jones took the pitch off the arm to drive in Odell for an 8-0 lead.
TCU added its final run of the game in the eighth inning as it took advantage of a lead-off double from White. He was standing on third with one out when Red Raider reliever Nick Pettus unleashed a wild pitch to allow him to score.
With the victory, TCU improved to 13-8 overall and 1-0 in Big 12 play. Game two is set for 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Lupton Stadium. Preston Morrison will toe the rubber for the Horned Frogs.