By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
FORT WORTH – Tre Richardson doubled twice, scored twice, and drove in a run as TCU improved to 3-1 on the season Wednesday with a 7-3 win over UT Arlington.
Freshman Louis Rodriguez earned the win, pitching 2 2/3 innings in relief across the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings in his college debut. He allowed just one run on three hits, striking out four. He had his secondary pitches working, earning strikeouts on both his slider and his changeup – a pitch he’s still developing.
“Had a lot of swings and misses with them,” Rodriguez said. “Felt really good with my slider and changeup working. I don’t normally throw a changeup, but I threw it and I executed it, so hopefully I can continue doing that.”
Freshman left-handed pitcher Braeden Sloan made his college debut, giving the Frogs 3 1/3 innings on the mound. He allowed just one earned run and struck out three, while walking two and hitting two more.
Sloan and Rodriguez are the fifth and sixth true freshman pitcher used by Saarloos in the first four games of the season. Those six pitchers have combined to throw 15 2/3 innings, allowing just six earned runs with 20 strikeouts.
TCU fans also got their first look at freshman Fisher Ingersoll. Ingersoll was the designated hitter on Wednesday, and he provided TCU with some quality, competitive at bats in the bottom third of the order.
Ingersoll went 1-for-1 with an RBI and a run scored, while also drawing two walks and hitting a sacrifice fly. He and fellow freshman Karson Bowen – who got his second consecutive start at catcher – both recorded their first career hits in the victory.
Former Horned Frog Garrison Berkley was back in Fort Worth, hitting leadoff and playing center field. Berkley finished the night 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
Cole Fontenelle got the scoring started in the bottom of the second inning by launching his first home run of the season over the right field fence. The home run measured 366 feet with an exit velocity of 99 miles per hour. Three batters later, Karson Bowen recorded his first career hit to drive Trey Richardson in from third base, putting TCU up 2-0.
UTA got a run back in the third and another in the fourth to tie the Frogs at 2-2. TCU responded quickly, though, scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead.
Ingersoll hit a deep fly ball to center field that scored Fontenelle, and Anthony Silva followed that up with a ground ball to shortstop that brought Richardson home to score.
UTA added another run in the fifth inning, but two more runs from the Frogs in the sixth extended their lead to 6-3. Richardson’s second double of the game, a ball in the gap in left-center field, pushed across TCU’s final run of the night in the seventh inning.
Cam Brown made an appearance tonight out of the bullpen, pitching a clean seventh inning for the Frogs. Saarloos noted that Wednesday is Brown’s normal bullpen day, and this served as an opportunity for Brown to shake off his start last Saturday.
“I thought he threw good. He threw a really good curveball, I thought his fastball was good,” Saarloos said. “He can throw all the bullpens he wants, but it’s about getting it done when the lights are on and somebody else is in the box. I thought he threw the ball really good which will give him some confidence heading into the weekend.”
Elijah Nunez wasn’t in the lineup or the dugout on Wednesday night, and Saarloos revealed following the game that the center fielder is currently in concussion protocol. Nunez was hit in the back of the head with a pitch during Sunday’s 9-8 loss to Missouri.
“He was fine on Sunday and then woke up on Monday not feeling very good,” Saarloos said. “So he’s in concussion protocol. Hopefully we’ll get him back soon, but ultimately it comes down to how he feels. We have protocols in place to make sure we don’t rush him back and we’re not going to.”
TCU is back at Lupton Stadium this weekend for a three-game series against Florida State, beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m.
Jamie Plunkett, email@example.com