The TCU baseball team used another sterling effort on the mound from their pitching staff Sunday afternoon to shutout the Cal-State Northridge Matadors 3-0, completing the series sweep at Lupton Stadium.
Starting pitcher Tyler Alexander threw seven innings, allowing only four hits and striking out five Matadors to give the Frogs their 12th shutout win on the year. The win broke the school’s previous record of 11 shutouts set by the 1972 squad.
Sunday’s win was also the second straight shutout for the Frogs after they blanked CSUN in a 1-0 victory on Saturday.
The Frogs’ head coach Jim Schlossnagle said postgame that he’s pleased with the way his team has looked in the month of April, during which they went 15-1.
“We’re pitching like crazy,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s awful hard to lose a game when you pitch at the level we’re pitching and play defense the way we’re playing defense.”
The win extended the Frogs’ winning streak to eight games and improved the team’s record to 30-13. Alexander earned his fifth win of the season while the purple and white handed CSUN pitcher John Salas his fourth loss.
Coming off a stretch in which he primarily worked out of the bullpen as a relief pitcher, Alexander credited his changeup for his success against the Matador batters.
“I got my changeup working really well,” Alexander said, “and I got a lot of outs on it.”
“I love throwing my changeup. That’s been my go-to pitch all year. The more I can throw it, the better.”
While Alexander was nearly unhittable from the start, CSUN pitchers faced trouble early on.
Two walks, an error and a hit batter from Salas allowed third baseman Derek Odell to trot home on a Garrett Crain walk with the bases loaded and give the Frogs a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Jordan Johnson, who allowed all nine hits from the Frogs and the other two runs, replaced Salas in the second inning,
TCU would add to its lead in the third inning, when Odell singled and moved to second on a Boomer White sacrifice bunt. Kevin Cron brought Odell in to score on a hard-hit single to left, part of a two-hit day for the Frogs’ big first baseman.
“I just try to put my best swing on whatever comes my way,” Cron said. “We put pressure on the defense pitcher, and now we just have to execute a little more often.”
Dylan Fitzgerald opened up the bottom of the fourth inning with a double to left field for TCU. A wild pitch by Johnson moved Fitzgerald to third, and Dylan Delso’s sacrifice fly scored the runner for the Frogs’ third run of the game.
The Matadors of CSUN were limited offensively throughout the game until the eighth inning, when it looked as though TCU’s pitching staff would crack.
Relief pitcher Travis Evans gave up a two out triple and was replaced by fireballer Riley Ferrell, who proceeded to get a much-needed strikeout to end the inning.
The top of the ninth saw more trouble for the Frogs, as A.B. Blanchet pinch-hit for CSUN second baseman Ryan Raslowsky and quickly hit a single with one out.
Right fielder Chester Pak hit a grounder back to Ferrell, who committed a throwing error to second base and allowed both runners to safely advance.
Ferrell struck out pinch hitter Nick Murphy for the second out, but walked Alexis Mercado to put the tying run on board.
However, Ferrell stayed calm and earned his tenth save of the year by striking out Nicolas Osuna to end the game and seal the win for the Frogs.
The Frogs will play Stephen F. Austin in a one-game trip to Nacogdoches on Tuesday before returning home to play Kansas State in a three game series from May 2-4.