TCU vs Oklahoma baseball at Lupton Stadium at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas on April 6, 2018. (Photo by/Gregg Ellman)

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No. 23 Baseball drops series opener to Oklahoma

TCU Baseball lost their fifth straight game after falling to No. 19 Oklahoma 8-5 in the series-opener.

The Sooners, now 7-0 in Big 12 play, combined patience at the plate with some timely hits to sink the Horned Frogs.

TCU struck first in the bottom of the second when senior centerfielder A.J. Balta scored from third after right fielder Connor Wanhanen drew a bases-loaded walk. Balta started the inning with a double, followed by an Adam Oviedo walk and a pivotal ground out to second base by sophomore catcher Zach Humphries, which advanced the runners to second and third.

TCU would add on to their lead in the bottom of the third after Luken Baker scored from third on a sacrifice groundout to second by senior designated hitter Michael Landestoy. Balta would follow Landestoy with a sacrifice fly that scored junior right fielder Josh Watson and gave the team a 3-0 lead.

Starting pitcher sophomore Nick Lodolo looked unstoppable through the first three innings, striking out six batters and giving up just one hit.

However, in the fourth inning, Oklahoma centerfield Kyler Murray hit a two-run home run to left field, cutting the lead to just one. The Sooners would tie the game later in the inning after back-to-back doubles by Kyle Mendenhall and Cade Cavalli.

Despite the fourth inning drubbing, Lodolo continued to consistently throw strikes, striking out the side in the fifth inning and recording two more in the sixth. He would finish the night with a career-high 13 K’s.

TCU would re-take the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning after Luken Baker’s seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to left field.

Self-inflicted errors began to plague the Horned Frogs and ultimately lead to their loss.

Lodolo walked the leadoff batter Cavalli, surrendered a single to Tyler Hardman and walked Cade Harris. He was replaced by Cal Coughlin after loading the bases with no outs.

First-year pitcher Augie Mihlbauer would strike out one batter but surrendered two walks and hit a batter, which resulted in three Sooner runs crossing the plate. He was replaced by James Notary, who came into a bases-loaded situation with his team suddenly trailing 6-4.

The Horned Frogs gave up three runs on just one Oklahoma hit.

“From the seventh inning on we walked six guys and hit one, you’re not gonna win many games against a great team like that,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

 

Frogs fall for sixth consecutive game

The Horned Frogs could not overcome an early deficit, falling to the Sooners Sunday morning, 6-3.

Pitcher Sean Wymer got the nod Sunday morning but suffered his second loss of the season after allowing five earned runs on 10 hits. Sophomore Jake Eissler pitched two scoreless frames in relief with two strikeouts.

Oklahoma’s right fielder Steele Walker opened the game with a two-run home run in the first inning and a two-out single by Hardman extended Oklahoma’s lead to three.

A double from Shepherd moved the Horned Frogs to within striking distance as he ultimately scored off a Wanhanen groundout to trim Oklahoma’s lead to two runs.

A home run in the fourth by Watson and a Landestoy score from second off a Balta double brought the Horned Frogs to within one run, but Walker ripped another two-run home run in the seventh inning to extend their lead back to three, amounting to four tw0-out runs in the game. The Horned Frogs would never overcome the lead.

TCU vs Oklahoma baseball in Fort Worth, Texas on April 8, 2018. (Photo by Sharon Ellman)

The home run was Watson’s fifth of the season and 17th of his career and extended his hitting streak to six games. Watson has also reached base safely in 13 consecutive games.

 

Baseball salvages one win, split Sunday’doubleheader with Sooners 

The Horned Frogs avoided their second consecutive sweep in conference play, defeating the Oklahoma Sooners Sunday afternoon, 6-2, and handing Oklahoma their first Big 12 loss of the season.

“This definitely gets the monkey off your back,” Landestoy said. “The mentality changes when you have a win and coming off a losing streak like that, its great. It shows a lot about our character. We can definitely build off of this. Baseball season is long, this could be the start of something new for us.”

Sophomore pitcher Charles King got the start in the second leg of Sunday’s doubleheader. He immediately made his presence known, hovering around 92-94 miles per hour for the first three innings.

King was able to work himself out of trouble multiple times in the contest, the earliest coming in the second inning. He finished the game with three strikeouts and two walks on 73 total pitches in four innings pitched. He allowed one run on three hits.

“Charles was awesome today,” Schlossnagle said. “We also pitched great out of the bullpen.”

Oklahoma’s Brady Lindsly snuck a ball past a diving shortstop Adam Oviedo for the first hit of the game for either team. An unconventional double-play ended the inning as Lindsly forgot to tag-up at first base.

Both teams broke the scoreless seal in the fourth inning. King hit Oklahoma’s Brylie Ware with the bases loaded to walk home a run.

The Horned Frogs broke-through for three runs in the fourth inning. Two singles from Watson and Landestoy down the right side sent Watson to third base and began a two-out rally. The next batter, Balta, ripped a ball down the left field line to tie the game at one.

Watson extended his hitting streak to seven games and has reached base safely in 14 consecutive games.

Landestoy and Balta crossed home plate off an Oviedo single to extend TCU’s lead to two runs in the fourth inning.

The Sooners needed very little time to respond as left fielder Cade Harris riped a home run to trim TCU’s lead to one run.

The Horned Frogs took advantage of five consecutive walks in the seventh inning to extend their lead. Following walks to Shepherd, Boulware and Rizer, a walk to Humphreys scored Shepherd from third base.

Three pitches later, the Frogs broke through with two additional runs. Oklahoma’s pitcher Austin Hansen threw a wild pitch that got past catcher Lindsly, allowing Boulware to score. Lindsly overthrew his pitcher in an attempt to get the ball back in play, scoring Rizer and extending the lead to 6-2.

Following a big seventh inning, TCU turned to Durbin Feltman to maintain the lead and their ace did not disappoint as he threw 16 strikes on 22 pitches for two strikeouts.

“One of the positives with losing six in a row is that you aren’t using your closer that much,” Schlossnagle said. “He was rested well enough to give us two innings. Hopefully, we can build off of this.”

The Horned Frogs will look to continue their momentum Tuesday night when they welcome UT-Arlington to Lupton Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.

“The win brings our confidence from negative five to two,” Schlossnagle said. “We just needed to win following the stretch that we were on.”