Three runs in the first inning gave TCU a lead it would not relinquish against the Dallas Baptist University Patriots on Tuesday night.
The Horned Frogs beat the Patriots 6-1 in a game that was preserved and won with pitching and defense, head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
Sophomore Paul Gerrish made his second appearance of the season after his TCU debut in relief against Cal State Fullerton last weekend. Tuesday night, in his first start of the season, he threw 4 2-3 innings, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts earning him his first victory of the season.
“I was throwing a lot of strikes, and I was getting ahead of hitters, especially early in the game,” Gerrish said. “Next time I want to mix it up a little and start throwing my off-speed stuff a little more.”
Gerrish said the early run support he received, along with the Horned Frogs’ defense, made it a more relaxing outing.
“I love pitching with the lead; you have so much more confidence to just go at hitters and not feel like you have to be perfect,” Gerrish said.
Defensive plays made by senior shortstop Bryan Kervin and freshman left fielder Aaron Schultz helped keep the game in TCU’s favor.
Schultz threw out Patriots’ short stop Austin Knight at home in the top of the fifth inning to keep the score 3-1.
Schlossnagle said he was impressed with the effort given by Kervin, and he said his plays he made on some slowly hit ground balls did more than end innings – it kept runners from scoring.
“The difference in the game was the plays we made on defense,” Schlossnagle said.
The bats were cracking for the Horned Frogs, as well, as they managed six runs on eight hits, and junior third baseman Matt Carpenter was a significant contributor to the highest run total amassed by TCU this season.
Carpenter and junior designated hitter Hunt Woodruff combined to knock in three runs for the Horned Frogs in the bottom of the seventh, giving TCU a commanding five-run lead with only two innings left in the game.
Carpenter said the late inning run support helped calm the team.
“When you can go up by five, it helps relax the pitching and the defense,” Carpenter said. “We played some really good defense in some crucial situations, which really helped us out.”
TCU is now 2-2 on the season and will travel to Minneapolis for its next three games to take on Minnesota, Pepperdine and Tulane, respectively. The team will be back in Fort Worth on March 4 when it faces the University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks at Lupton Stadium.