The No. 27 TCU baseball team (12-7, 0-0 Big 12) completed its sweep of Dartmouth (1-5, 0-0 Ivy League) on Sunday afternoon, shutting the Big Green out 8-0 in the final game of a three-game set at Lupton Stadium.
Freshman starting pitcher Tyler Alexander threw a career-high seven innings of shut-out ball in his fifth start of the season. He allowed only five hits and one walk while striking out a career-high five batters.
“I thought I threw well,” Alexander said. “I had my change-up working for me today.”
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle praised Alexander and said it was good to see him have “three really good pitches.”
“He’s gotten better every time he’s gone out,” Schlossnagle said.
TCU made the most of two big innings in the game. TCU plated four runners in both the third and seventh innings, the former of which was highlighted by a 2-run homer off the bat of junior first-baseman Jeremie Fagnan.
“I was just trying to stay in my legs and get a pitch I could handle, and I did,” Fagnan said.
Fagnan, who came in to the game hitting .118, said he has been working on his swing with Schlossnagle. He went 2-for-2 on the day with a single, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and the home run.
“Fagnan has really been working hard on his swing, and I thought he saw some good results from that today,” Schlossnagle said.
Alexander set the tone early with a 1-2-3 first inning. He needed only 7 pitches to retire three batters.
In the third, Dartmouth’s Bo Patterson reached base on an infield single with only 1-out, but Alexander induced a popout from the next batter and followed that up by picking off Patterson in a failed stolen-base attempt.
Junior center-fielder Cody Jones got the bottom half of the inning started with a bunt single that Dartmouth pitcher Beau Sulser couldn’t handle.
After a flyout from senior right-fielder Dylan Fitzgerald, junior designated-hitter Kevin Cron lined a base hit to left and advanced to second when the ball got by the left-fielder Patterson.
With Jones on third and Cron on second, hot-hitting sophomore outfielder Boomer White, who came in to the game hitting .389, hit a hard grounder to Dartmouth shortstop Matt Parisi, who could only knock it down off a bad hop.
Cron advanced to third and Jones scored to give White his 13th RBI of the year.
Junior third-baseman Derek Odell followed White with a sacrifice fly to center to plate Cron. In the next at-bat, Fagnan pulled the first pitch he saw for his second home run of the year and TCU’s third and fourth runs of the inning.
White now carries a career-long 10-game hitting streak and has reached base safely in all 19 games this season.
Alexander did not find himself in any real trouble until the fifth when two Dartmouth singles put runners at first and third with two outs. Dartmouth’s Bo Patterson then hit a line drive towards the first-baseline, but Fagnan dove and flagged it down for the final out of the inning.
The Frogs struck again in the bottom of the seventh. Junior shortstop Keaton Jones led off by reaching first on an error by Parisi. Cody Jones then reached base on his second bunt single of the day, and Fitzgerald subsequently lined a single to right field.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Cron roped a 2-run double to the left-field corner to up his RBI total to a team-leading 14. White then grounded out to shortstop, but following a Dartmouth pitching change and a 4-pitch walk to Odell, the bases were again loaded with Frogs.
Fagnan picked up his third RBI of the game in the next at-bat of the inning by taking a fastball to the leg.
Sophomore catcher Dylan Delso followed Fagnan by hitting a long flyball to left-center that looked like it would clear the bases, but Dartmouth center-fielder Nick Ruppert tracked it down and made a diving catch to rob Delso of a double.
Delso would settle for a sacrifice fly to plate TCU’s fourth and final run of the inning.
The TCU bullpen took over in the eighth after Alexander had tallied 94 pitches. Freshman right-hander Brian Howard worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning and sophomore Riley Ferrell a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game.
Ferrell has not allowed a run in eight appearances this season.
When all was said and done the Frogs had tallied 13 hits, the ninth time this season they’ve notched double-digit hits. The rest of the weekend was a similar story.
On Friday night, TCU racked up 12 hits behind junior starting pitcher Brandon Finnegan, who pitched seven shut-out innings and only gave up two hits while striking out 10 in the Frogs’ 4-1 victory.
Junior starting pitcher Preston Morrison led the charge on Saturday, carrying a 0.67 ERA into the game. He fanned eight batters over eight innings of 1-run ball while nine TCU hits led to a 5-1 victory.
In total, the Frogs rattled Dartmouth pitching for 34 hits over the weekend.
The Frogs’ three games against Dartmouth flashed signs of everything they will need to be successful in conference play starting this week. They had timely hits; their pitching was shut-down; and they played error-free ball.
“We just need to play loose,” Alexander said. “We play best when we’re loose.”
The Frogs will have to carry that mentality into their Big 12 opener against the Oklahoma Sooners on Tuesday. OU leads the Big 12 with a .304 team batting average.
TCU, on the other hand, will continue to look toward its pitchers to carry the team as the Frogs lead the Big 12 in ERA (2.11) and strikeouts (176) this season.
Fagnan said they “feel pretty good” going into conference play.
“We just need to build off this win and the way we played today,” Fagnan said.
TCU takes the field against the Sooners on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Norman. The Frogs will then return home to take on Texas Tech in a three-game series on Friday.