The No. 1 Horned Frogs walked away with a perfect 3-0 record at the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic Sunday afternoon, defeating the No. 11 Ole Miss Rebels 5-3 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.
TCU starting pitcher Jared Janczak threw seven shutout innings in the win, recording 10 strikeouts over 106 pitches before finally allowing a run when Ole Miss second baseman Tate Blackburn hit an RBI single with 1-out in the bottom of the eighth. Janczak moved to 3-0 on the season, only allowing five hits to the Rebels.
“That was fun especially being in this park and getting that win last night,” Janczak said. “It felt good to have a strong outing. We enjoyed every bit of it and we showed our true colors.”
The game began just more than 12 hours after the Frogs wrapped up a 15-inning contest that ended in a 11-10 victory over the Texas A&M Aggies. TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said Janczak was the “perfect guy” to pitch in a game that he called the biggest challenge of the weekend, considering the quick turnaround and a thin bullpen.
“If he could throw his fastball at the bottom of the zone and show an off-speed pitch every now and then, he may give up some hits but he’s going to get a lot of early action,” Schlossnagle said. “I felt like they would swing early enough in the count to give him a chance to go deep in the game, and that’s exactly what happened.”
After a 1-2-3 first inning for both squads, the Frogs got on the scoreboard first, scoring three runs off Ole Miss starting pitcher Brady Feigl in the second inning for an early 3-0 lead. The first run came home on a one-out stand-up double by Cam Warner, with the Frogs tacking on two more when Nolan Brown scored on a wild pitch and Zach Humprheys hit a 2-out RBI single.
The Frogs expanded their lead in the fourth inning when shortstop Ryan Merrill, who won Saturday’s contest against Texas A&M with a walk-off single, launched a solo homer to the first row of the right-field bleachers, giving TCU a 4-0 lead.
“Our batting averages don’t show it but the quality of our at-bats have been good through the whole lineup,” Schlossnagle said. “The strength of our team is the depth of our lineup.”
A Josh Watson infield single two innings later gave the Frogs a 5-0 edge. The Frogs would flash there defense later that inning when Nolan Brown robbed Ole Miss centerfielder Ryan Olenek of extra bases with a diving catch.
Ole Miss however would not go down quietly, first off a Tate Blackman RBI single that ended Janczak’s day and shutout bid. Two batters later, with Ryan Burnett pitching in relief, Colby Bortles launched a pitch to left that hit railroad tracks above the left-field bleachers for a two-run homer, cutting the lead to 5-3.
Burnett, however, would induce an inning ending strikeout before Durbin Feltman came in for a three-out save, sealing the deal for the Frogs as left Houston as the only undefeated team from the weekend tournament. It marked the second season in a row that the Frogs had done so, having won all three games in Houston in 2016.
“We have a veteran club so I know about our toughness, experience, presence and they just never panic,” Schlossnagle said. “We enjoy the atmosphere in this thing…it was a great weekend, but the challenge now is to get back to the middle, get some rest, and get ready for DBU on Tuesday.”
The Frogs scored a total of 13 runs with two outs over the weekend and now 41 of such this season, moving to 10-1 on the season.
“It keeps us on a role, especially going into next weekend out in California,” Janczak. “We’ve got to get back in the middle and just keep doing what we do.”
The Frogs now head back to Fort Worth, set to take on Dallas Baptist University at Lupton Stadium on Tuesday night. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. The starter is to be determined as normal No. 4 seed Mitchell Traver exited last Tuesday’s win against Rice with a muscle injury in the first inning.