TCU head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle told his team that baseball is a very simple game that is very hard to play.
No. 4 TCU couldn’t muster the offense to defeat No.12 Cal State-Fullerton in the Sunday rubber match at Lupton Stadium. The Titans defeated the Frogs 2-1 to win the weekend series.
The Frogs have received great pitching and solid defense over the past two days. The downside: the offense could not get the hits to drive runners in when they were in scoring position.
Schlossnagle said the Frogs must focus on the good from the weekend.
“We are a lot better team than we were two weeks ago, and we have learned a ton about our team in the first seven games,” he said.
Today the coaching staff learned that they have a budding star in freshman first baseman Brett Johnson. Johnson was a Texas high school baseball standout.
In his first start as a freshman, Johnson admitted to having a lot of nerves in the first inning.
“After the first inning, I started to settle down,” Johnson said. “I was able to relax and just play after that.”
In his first at-bat Johnson singled, making him 2 for 2 on the season. He also grabbed a popup as he leaned into the Cal State Fullerton dugout. Later in the game with the bases loaded, Johnson made a diving stop to save at least two runs and keep the Frogs within striking distance.
The Frogs should also be very encouraged by the excellent center field play of junior Aaron Schultz. Schultz threw out one runner who attempted to tag up and score from third base. Later in the game Schultz threw a runner out at second who was trying to stretch a single into a double.
Finally, sophomore third baseman Jantzen Witte also made several good starts at third base. Schlossnagle was much happier with his team’s approach today at the plate than yesterday.
“Yesterday I didn’t think we were that competitive at the plate, but today I thought we were,” Schlossnagle said. : “The whole season is about handling adversity, and we can either fold, which we won’t, or we can just make it part of our story.”
TCU is facing some early adversity just like every team does at some point during the season, and TCU faced a similar stretch last year where they lost to Dallas Baptist. TCU underwent a 10 to 14 day span where they fell seven spots in the national rankings. Hopefully, starting 4-3 will kick start the Frogs for the rest of the season.
Schlossnagle thinks that his team will rebound fine, and he has taken several good things from the last two series. Today he saw great defense and good play from freshmen Brett Johnson and pitcher Andrew Mitchell.
Mitchell, a freshman, has thrown 13 and 2/3 innings so far and has allowed just one run. He pitched this Sunday because junior Kyle Winkler and senior Steven Maxwell had their starts moved up a day to make up for the absence of sophomore ace Matt Purke who is battling a blister on his throwing hand.
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Alex Apple is a freshman political science and journalism double major from Nashville, Tenn.
Alex Apple also writes for SportDFW.com