By Ray Cartwright
Frogs Today Staff Writer
FORT WORTH – The theme of the season thus far has been defense, or lack thereof.
While it didn’t show on the scoresheet Tuesday night, mental errors cost TCU in their 8-7 loss to UT-Arlington. The loss snapped a seven game winning streak against the Mavericks, dating back to 2020.
UT-Arlington used nine pitchers in the contest, none going more than an inning and two thirds in the epitome of a bullpen game. The first six pitchers for the Mavericks each pitched an inning each keeping the Frogs offense off balance.
Freshman Braedon Sloan got the start for the Frogs, but lasted just 1 2/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits with two strikeouts. Sloan came out of the gates firing, striking out the first two batters of the game, then a bloop double and two run home run quickly made it a 2-0 ballgame after the first.
Costly mental errors did Sloan in in the second inning. He failed to cover first base two times, and a miscommunication with catcher Karson Bowen on a bunt spotted the Mavericks a quick 5-0 lead.
Grad transfer Sam Stoutenborough, who missed last weekend with an injury, was back for the Frogs. He came on in relief for Sloan and pitched 3 1/3 innings of shutout ball, while striking out five, settling the game down for the Frogs.
Offensively, Tre Richardson continued his hot start to the season. Head coach Kirk Saarloos shuffled the lineup Tuesday, moving Richardson up to the two hole, and Richardson responded by going 2-4 with a double, and two RBI.
Luke Boyers, who was moved down to the eighth spot in the lineup, had a good night at the plate going 3-5 with two runs scored, and an impressive assist in the outfield nailing Maverick designated hitter Matt Lumsden at second base, who was trying to stretch a single into a double.
“Not good overall, I thought the at bats were way better today,” Saarloos said. “I thought we hit some balls hard, I thought the approach was good. Still missing a big knock there with runners in scoring position.”
Timely hitting has been a bit of an issue so far, after stranding 16 batters on base down in Houston over the weekend, the Frogs left 10 men on base tonight against UT-Arlington proving costly in a one run game.
Defense has also been an issue for the Frogs. Through 12 games the Frogs have committed 18 errors.
TCU only committed one error on the stat sheet, Karson Bowen airmailed a throw to first base on a dropped strike three call that eventually allowed two Mavericks to come around and score after the inning was extended.
“You are taught your whole life as a pitcher to get over [to first base] and you can’t spectate, that’s what happens when you spectate,” Saarloos explained.
In the second inning, Sloan failed to cover first after David Bishop ranged to his right to make a play. The ball skipped off his glove and rolled to Richardson at second, who fielded the ball but had no one to throw to at first to get the out.
Then a miscommunication with Bowen on a squeeze bunt led to a Maverick run and allowed the batter to be safe at first.
Two batters later, Lumsden hit a hard ground ball to Bishop who threw to second to try to turn two, but Sloan failed to cover first for the return throw costing the Frogs another run.
Saarloos provided an update on Anthony Silva following the game, saying that the freshman shortstop will likely be out until after the weekend series against San Diego.
Up next for the Frogs as they continue a quick home stand is the University of San Diego for three games this weekend. Ryan Vanderhei and his 2.70 ERA will be on the bump Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 and can be seen on ESPN+.