Sophomore pitcher Preston Morrison threw a complete game on Friday night as the Horned Frogs beat the University of San Francisco 4-1 in the opener of a three-game series.
Morrison threw 108 pitches, giving up only three hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out four in nine innings of work. Morrison retired the first ten batters he faced.
“It was just typical Preston Morrison,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “[He was] throwing strikes with three or four different pitches, all at the bottom of the strike zone, and we played great defense behind him.”
The win improved Morrison’s record to 5-1. Opposing batters hit 14 groundouts, which the pitcher said is exactly what he wants.
“I’m not going to strike out a lot of guys,” Morrison said. “I don’t want to strike out a lot of guys. I want to make the defense work, have quick innings and get back here on offense.”
Morrison received some help from the offense in the fourth inning when Keaton Jones doubled into left field, driving in two runs to give TCU a 3-0 lead.
“I got a slider and I just hammered it,” Jones said. The ball drove deep down the line and just glanced off the glove of left fielder Harrison Bruce as he dove to try and make the catch.
Schlossnagle was not completely satisfied with his offense, which left seven men on base, but said the team benefited from some plays that went its way.
“We had some balls fall in for us,” the coach said. “You put enough balls in play and…you’re going to get some of those.”
USF right fielder Bradley Zimmer scored the Dons’ only run of the game in the seventh inning on a solo home run that made the score 3-1. But Paul Hendrix had an RBI single in the bottom of the inning that helped seal the game, giving TCU a 4-1 lead that would not be threatened again.
“Hendrix’s two-out hit was huge,” Schlossnagle said, “because we knew that Zimmer was going to come up again in the game, and with one swing of the bat he can change the game. So that extra run was big.”
The win gives TCU a 14-16 record on the season. The team has won 5 of its last 6 games.
“[It’s] huge,” Schlossnagle said of opening the series with a win. “It gives you a chance to feel good about yourself…But for us, just for where we are in our season, we need to win every game we can. It’s less about series and more about the day-to-day approach.”
Jones said the team is excited by the win and the chance to get back to .500 on the season this weekend.
“It’s a lot better in the clubhouse right now. We’re feeling good and confident. We just want to go out there and keep getting wins and playing our brand of baseball.”