The hype of two All-American pitchers facing off in Fort Worth brought the type of ballgame that scouts and writers were waiting for; a 2-1 pitchers duel..Horned Frogs (4-1) ace Jake Arrieta led TCU with six scoreless innings of four-hit baseball while tallying eight strikeouts against the Oral Roberts University Golden Eagles. Arrieta (2-0) had to face a lineup that pushed 25 runs across the place in the first two games of the season, and throughout the evening he didn’t back down.
“With their third and fourth hitters I just tried to stay inside and jam him,” Arrieta said. “My game play was to stay in on them and every now and then use a pitch away and I had them guessing almost the whole game.”
TCU jumped on the board first with a one-out single by senior third baseman Steven Trout. Trout has continued his dominance from the eight-hole in the lineup with his 8th run-batted-in of the season.
As the evening progressed scouts that were crowding in the bleachers behind home plate watched as Arrieta and Oral Roberts’ starter Chris Ashman (1-1) worked their magic.
“The scouts were there to see the number one starter and an elite closer,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “They saw him compete and he came out.”
During the first third of the ballgame, Arrieta seemed to labor with a pair of innings where he threw more than 20 pitches, but as he got into a rhythm, the innings became shorter and the strikeout total continued to climb.
“I had to work on getting loose with the first couple batters in those innings and then I got into a groove,” Arrieta said.
Junior shortstop Bryan Kervin had his best game of the season and went 3 for 4 with one RBI. In the fifth inning Kervin gave the Horned Frogs some breathing room with a one-out RBI double off Ashman driving in second baseman Ben Carruthers. Carruthers reached base on his first basehit of the season with a leadoff single.
“He threw me a change up away,” Kervin said. “I had felt good at the plate the last week and a half, but as the season goes on the hits will come.”
The Frogs saw their lead get cut in half after Arrieta left the game and middle reliever Donald Furrow took the hill. After Furrow worked one scoreless inning, the ORU bats went after him in the top of the eighth.
A leadoff double by right fielder Brendan Duffy and a follow up single by Tyler Warmerdam had ORU runners on the corners with no outs. A sac fly by catcher Brain Van Kirk put the Golden Eagles within striking distance.
Coach Schlossnagle then put in closer Sam Demel and the evneing was history after that. In 1 2/3 innings of work, Demel had three strike outs en route to shutting the door on Schlossnagle’s 200th career win.
The Horned Frogs will play against the Golden Eagles on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.