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‘Today was embarrassing.’ TCU baseball falls flat against Texas in series finale

·3 min read

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle didn’t sugarcoat his feelings on Sunday.

With a chance to clinch the Big 12 regular-season title in front of its home fans, No. 3 TCU fell flat. No. 6 Texas outplayed it in every phase, rolling to a 9-3 victory to take the regular-season series, 2-1, at Lupton Stadium.

“We’re all embarrassed. Today was embarrassing,” Schlossnagle said. “To have a chance to do something neat on our field and to play like that — they outplayed us in every phase — but for that to be the result is embarrassing. We want that for ourselves. We want that for our fans.

“At the same time, it’s over with.”

As disappointing as it was, TCU (34-12, 16-5 Big 12) remains in the driver’s seat for the regular-season title with a one-game lead with three conference games to play. Texas improved to 38-12, 15-6.

TCU plays its final Big 12 series at Kansas State on May 20-22, while Texas hosts West Virginia on May 20-22.

TCU would’ve preferred to seal up at least a share of the title and the 1-seed in the conference tournament on Sunday. Instead, Texas left-hander Pete Hansen was terrific in quieting TCU, one of the best offenses in the country.

Hansen, a redshirt freshman out of Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California, allowed just two hits with three walks and four strikeouts over seven scoreless innings. He induced three double-play groundouts on the day.

“He threw a lot of strikes with a lot of pitches,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s the same thing he’s been doing all season long. He’s really done a good job of remaking himself as a pitcher.”

Hansen had the luxury of pitching with a lead all day.

Texas jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a solo shot by Zach Zubia off TCU starter Johnny Ray.

The Longhorns had a couple more home runs off Ray early on. Third baseman Cam Williams had a two-run shot in the second inning, and Zubia went deep again with a solo shot in the third.

Ray exited in the third inning, allowing four runs on five hits with two walks and one strikeout over 2 1/3 innings. The three home runs allowed were the most in his career.

The Longhorns added a single run in the fifth and then blew it open with four runs in the sixth. The Frogs needed three pitchers to get through the sixth — Luke Savage, River Ridings and Garrett Wright.

TCU’s offense, meanwhile, avoided its first shutout when pinch-hitter Bobby Goodloe launched a three-run homer in the ninth inning.

“We were a pitch or two away from winning the series on Friday,” Schlossnagle said. “We were a pitch or two away from also getting swept. It is what it is. Great opponent. Two great teams, two teams that should be hosting a regional and two teams that should be national seeds.”

TCU returns to action with a three-game series next weekend against Louisiana-Monroe at Lupton Stadium. TCU’s scheduled game against UT Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday is off. A formal announcement on the cancellation is expected on Monday.

Rotation change?

Schlossnagle is expected to change up the weekend rotation for the ULM series.

Russell Smith and Austin Krob are expected to remain the Friday and Saturday starters, but Ray is not expected to make next Sunday’s start.

“We have to get better starting pitching if we’re going to be an elite team,” Schlossnagle said. “We’re still in control of the season that we want to have, but it’s not an easy road.”

Ray is expected to throw a couple of bullpen sessions and could be an option in relief. Savage is among the starting options, Schlossnagle said.

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