Baseball looks to continue strong start to season Tuesday

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TCU baseball started off their season with a sweep against the Kentucky Wildcats and they will look to continue their momentum Tuesday against Abilene Christian.

The Horned Frogs were led by three new faces in the lineup over the weekend — Gray Rodgers, Phillip Sikes and Gene Wood all had impressive offensive performances. 

Gray Rogers hit his first homer of the season Sunday. Photo by Jack Wallace

Rodgers, a junior transfer from Blinn College, hit .545 against the Wildcats with two doubles and a home run. 

Sikes, a junior transfer from Pima Community College, hit .500 with five total base hits.

Wood, a redshirt senior from Alabama, started off the weekend slowly but had a resurgence Sunday with two home runs and a successful bunt, raising his batting average to .300. 

“I was trying to swing too hard the first two days and trying to do too much,” Wood said. “After I got the bunt hit, it helped me relax.”

TCU’s pitching staff also started out the season strong but will face a tough test against the Wildcats.

Johnny Ray, a redshirt sophomore, went for 4.2 innings and collected seven strikeouts. Charles King went for 6 innings, facing 22 batters and giving up just three hits. Back from injury, Russell Smith pitched 4.2 innings with five strikeouts on Sunday. 

Schlossnagle was impressed with the performance of his pitchers this past weekend. Photo by Jack Wallace

“We had three really good starting pitching performances and everyone we brought in, for the most part, did a good job of attacking the strike zone,” Schlossnagle said. 

In Abilene Christian’s four-game sweep against Utah Valley this past weekend, ACU had seven players hit over .300. The Wildcats are also averaging 6.8 runs per game so far this season.

“Abilene Christian had a really good weekend,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I just told the team, anytime you play and you start out like this, all it does is raise the stakes and makes every game more and more important.” 

Tommy Cruz and Seth Watts are both hitting .500 for ACU. 

The Wildcats were able to win most of their games last weekend with their pitching, posting an ERA of 1.89 against Utah State, a tough test for TCU’s powerful offense.

Tanner Riley pitched six innings with nine strikeouts, followed by Austin Wagner’s five innings and seven strikeouts.

“It’s a great competition and it’s going to be tricky,” Wood said. “If we come out like we did this weekend we will have a good shot, we will just have to play our best.”

While the Frogs are off to an impressive start, Scholssnagle was hesitant to count his laurels this early.

“Our goal is not to be the best team now but to be the best team at the most important part of the season,” he said.

First pitch between the Horned Frogs and the ACU Wildcats is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Lupton Stadium.