Brandon Finnegan (1-0) got the start on the mound for the Frogs tonight, and he looked the part of a Pre-Season All-American. He retired the first 11 batters he faced, tossing 8 strikeouts in the process. It was clear after the first three innings that TCU would only need a couple of runs to get a win.
The Frogs got off to an early start at the plate when centerfielder Cody Jones singled to left field to start off the TCU half of the first inning. He stole second a few pitches later. First baseman Kevin Cron reached base on a hit by pitch, and Jerrick Suiter drove both of them in on a two-out single to give the Horned Frogs an early 2-0 lead.
TCU kept the clutch hitting going in the second inning when Kyle Bacak hit a two-out single to drive in Keaton Jones, who reached base on a fielder's choice. The Frogs led 3-0 after two innings.
That was all Finnegan needed to register his first win since the 2012 season. He finished the night with 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 13 K, and 3 BB.
The Frogs were quiet at the plate until the bottom of the seventh when Cody Jones and Boomer White singled back-to-back. Kevin Cron drove both of them in with a 1-out double off the base off the wall in left field.
Trey Teakell came in for two innings of relief work, facing only 6 batters, giving up no hits and striking out two.
Finnegan, who was nominated a Pre-Season All-American by Baseball America, Louisville Slugger and Perfect Game, was untouchable for the first three innings tonight despite throwing 32 of his 39 pitches in the strike zone.
"All I wanted to do today was go out there and pound the zone as best I could and give our team the best chance to win," Finnegan said. "That's what I tried to do, and I guess that's what I did."
Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle said Finnegan's performance was "very, very impressive".
"You couldn't ask for a whole lot better first outing from him," he said.
Junior center fielder Cody Jones had a great day at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two stolen bases, two runs and a walk. Jones said he knows his role as a leadoff hitter and wants to make life easier for the guys behind him in the lineup.
"I know my job," he said. "My job is to set the tone of the game with a positive at-bat, and luckily I was able to manage to put one together, and from there my goal was to get into position to let the big guys drive me in. I'm here to do my part and make everybody else's job easier."
Jones said that Finnegan, though, was the Horned Frog who made life easier for everyone else on the team.
"(Finnegan was) outstanding. That was incredible. What else do you need from a pitcher? That was awesome."
Three of TCU's five runs came with two outs, and Schlossnagle said Finnegan and the Frogs' key, two-out hits were the reason TCU won.
"The game is about pitching, defense and timely hitting. We got the timely hits today. I was very pleased with the way we played offensively."
Both Finnegan and Jones said there is a clear difference between the 2014 Horned Frogs Baseball team and the team from 2013, and a win tonight sets them in the right direction.
"It's just a such a great feeling to get over that hump from last year," Jones said. "We have big plans this year, and we're going to do whatever it takes to meet our goals."
The Frogs look to start the season with back-to-back wins when they play Jacksonville again on Saturday at 2 PM at Lupton Stadium in the second game of the series.