By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
FORT WORTH – TCU got all the starting pitching they needed to have a good night, but the bats were nowhere to be found.
Friday night’s matchup between Ryan Vanderhei (0-1) and Jackson Baumeister (1-0) was a classic pitcher’s duel through five innings. The duo combined for 17 strikeouts, allowing just two hits – both by Vanderhei – and walking three.
Both Vanderhei and Baumeister were dominant, with the latter carrying a no hitter into the sixth inning before TCU could break through.
Vanderhei’s slider was dominant, as the tall righty struck out nine in his 5 2/3 innings pitched. He used it often as his out pitch, and kept batters off balance with a running fastball that topped at 96 miles per hour. The nine strikeouts matched a career-high for Vanderhei, who accomplished the feat three times last season for Kansas.
“I thought Vanderhei was really good,” Saarloos said. “Again, it’s about the long haul. He was mad at me for taking him out, but he wound up throwing 80 pitches. Probably could have left him out there, but for me it’s about the long season. We’ve got to make sure we protect him.”
Baumeister matched him, though, pitching 5 2/3 innings, striking out eight, walking two, and giving up just one hit.
TCU’s bats, which had been so hot through the opening four games, mustered just two hits on the night and one run.
“When teams don’t gift you runs, you’ve got to be able to stand in there and do some stuff offensively,” Saarloos said. “I thought the first at bat of the game was awesome, and there wasn’t many after that. Two good arms, but at the same time those are the arms we’ve got to beat on Friday nights.”
Austin Davis hit a hard ball to deep center field in the bottom of the first inning that was run down and caught by Ross DeAmez. After that, TCU didn’t hit a ball out of the infield until two fly outs in the fourth inning.
The new batter action rule made an appearance in the top of the fifth inning, Action rule first out in the top of the fifth, called third strike after the batter failed to get into the box in time.
The Seminoles broke the scoreless tie in the sixth inning. Leadoff hits from catcher Colton Vincent and center fielder DeAmez Ross put runners on the corners for Florida State and prompted a mound visit by Saarloos.
A wild pitch on Vanderhei’s next pitch allowed Vincent to score, putting the Seminoles up 1-0.
Vanderhei seemed to reign it back in, notching his ninth strikeout of the night and inducing a fly out to Austin Davis in center. Florida State’s next batter, Jaime Ferrer, doubled off the wall in center field to score another run.
That ended Vanderhei’s night, as Saarloos made the move to River Ridings.
Ridings appeared to get the Frogs out of the inning, but a fielding error by David Bishop allowed another run to score and keep the inning going, giving the Seminoles a 3-0 lead.
TCU threatened to score in the bottom of the inning, after Davis hit a two-out double to break up the no hitter. Luke Boyers worked a walk, ending Baumeister’s night, and bringing Brayden Taylor up with a chance to do some damage.
The Seminoles called on their best bullpen arm, lefty Wyatt Crowell, to face Taylor, who represented the tying run. Crowell was up to the challenge, using a big sweeping slider to get Taylor fishing, striking him out to end the threat.
Florida State added two more runs in the top of the eighth to extend their lead to 5-0.
TCU got a run back in the bottom of the eighth, after Brody Green and Anthony Silva managed to work their way on base. Green, pinch hitting for Ingersoll, worked a walk to with one out in the inning. Silva reached base on a throwing error by Vincent, who fielded a soft ball hit out in front of home place and threw the ball off Silva’s back into shallow right field.
Green advanced to third, and Silva to second, on the error.
Davis drove Green in with a ground out to third base, bringing the Frogs to within four, 5-1.
The Seminoles struck again in the top of the ninth, as Saarloos cycled through two more bullpen arms. Mason Speaker started the inning after coming on in the eighth in relief of Hackett, but he was chased quickly.
Following a leadoff ground out, Speaker walked a runner, then gave up a double, bringing Saarloos out to make a change.
Calvin Marley made his Horned Frog debut, allowing three earned runs on two hits and a walk. Marley also allowed the two runners he inherited from Speaker, as the Seminoles extended their lead to 10-1.
Crowell finished the game for the Seminoles, pitching 3 1/3 innings to earn the save, allowing just one run.
“It was just one of those nights,” Saarloos said. “We’ve got to make sure it’s zero zero tomorrow and we show up ready to play.”
TCU and Florida State face off again on Saturday, with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m. Luke Savage (1-0, 2.70 ERA) will take the mound for the Horned Frogs, against lefty Jamie Arnold (0-0, 10.12 ERA) for the Seminoles.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org