Kevin Cron hit his first career home run and Stefan Crichton pitched well in a rare mid-week start, as the TCU baseball team beat University of Texas at Arlington 5-1 Wednesday night at Lupton Stadium.
Crichton, normally the Horned Frogs’ Friday night starter, threw four innings and gave up just one earned run, striking out four and leaving the game with it tied at 1-1.
Cron, a true freshman, broke the tie in the sixth inning with a solo home run to left field.
“It feels even better that [the home run] came in a win,” said Cron, who hit 27 home runs as a senior in high school last year but until Wednesday had been held inside the ballpark in his first collegiate season. “It’s a big load off my back. I can just start trying to help the team win a little more.”
Josh Elander scored TCU’s first run of the game when UTA’s Brent Bollinger made a throwing error on a ground ball hit by Keaton Jones.
Cron, center-fielder Kyle Von Tungeln and right-fielder Brance Rivera all led the Frogs with three hits each. Elander had an RBI sac fly to center-field in the seventh inning.
Rivera, who made his first start since Thursday, said his short time out of the lineup helped him clear his head and refocus.
“It motivated me to not take it for granted, in a sense, and don’t take any plays off,” Rivera said of his time on the bench. “That hurt me sitting on the bench, knowing I’m not helping my team. Coach Schloss is a smart man. He knows what he’s doing. I’d be lying if I said wasn’t mad, but I knew how to channel it.”
Brandon Finnegan (1-3) earned the victory, coming in relief for Crichton and throwing two scoreless innings. Justin Scharf pitched the seventh and two outs into the eighth before Kevin Allen came out of the bullpen to end the inning.
Allen, who has given up only one earned run in 19.2 innings this year, lowered his team-low ERA to 0.46.
Travis Evans, a freshman left-hander, pitched two outs in the ninth inning before giving way to Kaleb Merck, whose brother, Kasey, pitches for UTA and threw two-thirds of an inning Wednesday night.
Schlossnagle said the addition of Evans, who made his collegiate debut Wednesday and joined Finnegan as the Frogs’ left-handed relievers, makes the TCU bullpen even stronger.
“Running two left-handed pitchers out of the bullpen that touch 90 (mph) or better and throw strikes, that’s a really big sign for a bullpen I think is already pretty good,” Schlossnagle said. “I’m pretty fired up.”
UTA starter Michael Oberto was pulled after the third inning. Oberto held the Frogs (17-13) scoreless, walking three and giving up four hits. Preston Beck and Ryan Walker led the Mavs (21-13) with two hits apiece.
TCU will be back in action Friday for the first of a three game set with Air Force. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.