The TCU baseball team suffered its worst loss of the season Sunday, losing to UNLV 11-0 at Lupton Stadium. The Frogs, who gave up a season-high 20 hits, were in line for the series sweep after beating the Rebels (13-15 overall, 2-7 Mountain West) 4-2 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday. TCU (14-11, 6-3) fell behind 4-0 through the first two innings then never came close to mounting a comeback, collecting just three more hits the rest of the game. The Frogs’ four hits Sunday matched their number of errors on the day. Here’s some more news and notes from the game:
Frey struggles early on
TCU starter Nick Frey threw 4.2 innings and gave up four earned runs on seven hits. Frey started in place of lefty Brandon Finnegan, who had originally been scheduled to make the start. The sophomore sat between 88-91 mph on the radar gun, but was hit pretty hard, especially in the early innings. UNLV tallied five hits and four runs in the first two innings alone. Frey eventually settled down, retiring eight of the next nine batters before giving up back-to-back singles with two outs in the fifth and getting pulled in favor of right-hander Trey Teakell with TCU trailing 5-0.
UNLV starting pitcher Erick Fedde (2-2) earned the win after throwing seven scoreless innings and giving up just three hits. The right-hander struck out seven.
TCU got to Fedde early, loading the bases with one out but leaving all three runners on.
After that, Fedde shut down the Frogs, allowing just one hit over the next six innings while retiring 18 of the next 21 batters.
“I felt pretty good about the way (the lineup) was set up, but Fedde had something to say about that,” Schlossnagle said. “I mean, he was good. You got to give a lot of credit to him. We’re not a very good hitting club in the first place, but he made us look bad. He pitched pretty well.”
Elander bats leadoff
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle penciled catcher Josh Elander into the leadoff spot for the first time this season. Elander, who usually bats out of the cleanup spot, went 0-for-2 but reached base on a walk in the first inning. Elander entered Sunday with a .417 on-base percentage.
Schlossnagle said Elander’s ability to find a way on base coupled with the benefit of being able to take the pressure off of usual leadoff hitter Brance Rivera, who struck out and grounded out to third in his only two at-bats of the day.
““You’re job is to get on base and he’s the best,” Schlossnagle said. “He and (Kyle) Von Tungeln are the best at getting on base and Brance (Rivera) is struggling and Jantzen (Witte) is hitting well.”
Rivera is hitting .237 and is 0 for his last 11.
Witte shines at the plate, struggles in the field
The lone bright spot of the day for TCU might have been Witte’s day at the plate. The third baseman went 3-for-3. Von Tungeln had the Frogs’ other hit, a single up the middle in the eighth inning.
Witte, who made his season debut last week after returning from a hip injury, is hitting .500 (9-for-18) in the six games he’s played this year.
On the flip side, Witte struggled in the field, booting a ground ball in the second inning that led to a run and a dropping a fly ball in the seventh that also allowed a run. But Witte wasn’t the only one making mistakes for the Frogs.
Second baseman Brett Johnson couldn’t handle a ground ball to the right side in the fourth inning and right-fielder Brance Rivera overthrew his cutoff man in seventh, which let UNLV’s Joey Swanner advance to third base. Swanner scored after Witte’s error later in the inning.
Eight of the 10 runs scored Sunday were earned, so the Frogs’ errors weren’t overly costly. Errors aside, it’s hard to win much of anything when you get out-hit the way TCU did Sunday, Schlossnagle said.
“That’s not why we lost,” Schlossnagle said of the errors. “We gave up 20 hits and had four.”
Scharf’s streak ended
Right-hander Justin Scharf gave up his first earned run in 15 innings pitched Sunday when UNLV’s T.J. White singled down the left field line to drive in two Rebels. Scharf’s wild pitch Tuesday against UT-Arlington allowed the game-winning run to score for the Mavs, but the run was unearned.
Scharf gave up four earned runs on six hits Sunday before being replaced by Kevin Allen.
Finnegan and right-hander Chris Murphy also saw time in relief. Murphy pitched the ninth and gave up one earned run on four hits.
“We got beat in every possible phase of the game today.We haven’t screwed up every possible phase of the game that we remotely can that way this year.” — TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle.