Baseball: TCU beats Air Force 6-1, wins fifth straight

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    The TCU baseball team beat Air Force 6-1 Saturday afternoon to win its fifth game in a row. The Horned Frogs (19-13 overall, 8-3 Mountain West) shut out the Falcons (8-24, 3-8) 5-0 Friday night.

    Jerrick Suiter had two RBI and Josh Elander went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Preston Morrison got the win on the mound.

    The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 2 p.m., as TCU goes for the series sweep. Stefan Crichton is expected to start for the Frogs.

    Here’s a few highlights from Saturday’s game:

    Morrison solid again

    Morrison might be the most dominating, least-dominating pitcher in college baseball. If that makes any sense.

    The true freshman threw 6.1 scoreless innings to earn the win Saturday, striking out four and giving up just three hits. Morrison, as usual, did what he does best — throw strikes (he only issued three walks), work the ball down, mix up pitches (and speeds) and switch up his location.

    That seems to be the norm for Morrison and that’s why he’s now 5-0 with a 1.36 ERA in 53 innings of relief and, as of last week, in a starting role, despite having a fastball that barely hits 80 mph on the radar gun.

    Morrison’s formula for success is simple: Take it one pitch at a time.

    “I always just focus on the next pitch,” Morrison said. “Whatever the last pitch was, whether it was good or bad, it doesn’t affect how the next pitch could be. If I don’t stay focused on the next pitch, things could get out of hand.”

    Suiter stepping up

    The Frogs are just past the midpoint of the regular season, but if you had to start thinking of team MVPs, Suiter would be on the short list.

    Suiter went 2-for-5 and drove in two runs, roping a double to the left-centerfield gap to score Brance Rivera and Jantzen Witte in the bottom of the first inning. The freshman singled on a hard-hit line drive to right field in the third inning.

    Suiter also showed off his flexibility, playing right field for the third game in a row with Jason Coats out of the lineup and making a nice, over-the-shoulder catch to end the third inning. Dating back to TCU’s loss to Dallas Baptist on April 3, Suiter has pitched, played center field, right field and designated hitter.

    In addition to that, Suiter, who signed with TCU as a pitcher, is hitting .310, third on the team behind juniors Elander and Witte.

    Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said he knew before the season the Suiter was athletic enough to play multiple positions. It’s Suiter’s performance at the plate that has surprised him.

    “We knew he could play the outfield, and he’s the best throwing catcher that I’ve ever been around,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s a very good athlete. He was all-state football, all-state basketball and all-state baseball. We knew what we were getting there, but we weren’t expecting the hitting, though.

    Streak snapped

    Air Force’s run in the seventh inning snapped a 24.1 scoreless inning streak for the TCU pitching staff. Since losing to UNC-Wilmington 7-5 on April 5, the Frogs have outscored their opponents 25-4.

    Military honored

    With Air Force in town, Saturday was Military Appreciation Day at Lupton Stadium. All fans with a military i.d. were given free admission to the game. 

    Fans were also treated to a jet fly-over during the National Anthem.

    Standings watch

    As of 7 p.m. Saturday night, New Mexico held a 0.5 game lead over TCU for first place in the Mountain West standings.

    The Lobos (16-17, 8-2) beat San Diego State (17-19, 6-4) 5-1 in the first game of a doubleheader and were leading the Aztecs in the second game when the Frogs and Falcons finished up.

    TCU lost two out of three at New Mexico last month. The two teams play in Fort Worth the first weekend in May.