The Horned Frogs took to the field Sunday afternoon for the deciding fifth game of the Purple and White World Series and their last team workout until January.Solid starting pitching led the way for each side in their victories throughout the series, capped off by a 2-0 complete game shutout by junior left-hander Brad Furnish, leading the White team to a 3-2 series win.
“I was really hitting the spots well, and I was making good pitches,” Furnish said. “The hitters were hitting it right at people so that kind helped a little bit. Pretty much, I was able to throw a ball anywhere I wanted to.”
The White team also benefited from six scoreless innings by sophomore lefty Zach Ashwood in game one.
Sophomore right-hander Sam Demel provided six innings of shutout baseball to capture game three. Demel pitched 15 scoreless innings in the series, head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
The Purple team won game two behind sophomore right-hander Jake Arrieta, who threw five innings, allowing no runs.
Game four’s winning pitcher, Donald Furrow, went six innings, surrendering only one unearned run.
The strong performances paid off, as Schlossnagle named his projected starting rotation: Demel, Furnish, Arrieta and Ashwood. Schlossnagle added that the entire pitching staff will have an impact in winning games.
“I like guys to stay within their roles,” Schlossnagle said. “You like to have setup guys, maybe a lefty specialist and a closer.”
He declined to name any particular pitchers for these roles at this time.
On the offensive side, Schlossnagle said junior center fielder Keith Conlon, who had a hit in four of five games, is poised to have a very productive season.
“Keith Conlon looks like he’s in midseason form from a hitting standpoint,” Schlossnagle said. “He was a good player for us last year, and he has a chance to be an All-American-type player this spring.”
Last season, Conlon finished with six home runs and 42 RBIs, second on the squad in both categories.
Conlon said the key to his ease with the bat is patience at the plate, but he did not fail to notice the above-average command that the pitchers showed in the series.
“In the World Series, the pitchers pretty much dominated,” Conlon said. “I just was patient with the pitchers and waited for my pitch. I made sure I wasn’t being too aggressive. I saw a lot of off-speed pitches and I walked quite a bit.”
The Frogs will now return to individual workouts and time in the weight room four times a week. The team will hit the field a week before classes begin in January to begin spring practice.