Starter Johnny Ray went only three innings. The offense left 11 on base. The defense committed a couple of errors.
TCU baseball looked like a team that, well, was forced to practice indoors and was unable to do much intersquad work in the days leading into the season opener due to the winter storm. All of it led to TCU falling 7-3 to Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field.
It was a marathon affair as the game lasted 3 hours, 53 minutes.
“It’s the start to a long season,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I thought our guys handled themselves well. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”
The good included strong relief outings by Haylen Green, who allowed two unearned runs over 3 2/3 innings, and Drew Hill, who allowed one run over 2 1/3 innings. Freshman Elijah Nunez started in the leadoff spot and drew two walks. Fellow freshman Luke Boyers had two hits.
But the Frogs were never able to battle out of an early hole as Ray had a disappointing day.
Ray struck out the side in the first inning, but then unraveled in the second. Ole Miss’ first three batters reached on two walks and a hit-by-pitch, and then Ben Van Cleve ripped a two-run double to right-center field.
Hayden Dunhurst followed with an RBI single, and the Rebels scored one more on a groundout.
Ray threw a scoreless third inning, but the four runs in the second were all Mississippi would have needed for the victory.
Ray threw 68 pitches on the day, allowing four runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
“He has to learn how to handle his emotions and not blow it all out there in the first inning,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s a learning process for him. Certainly we’re going to have to have better starting pitching than that. Johnny is better than that, and he’s going to have go prove that next week.”
TCU got back in it, though, with three runs in the bottom of the second. The Frogs’scored on bases-loaded walks drawn by Nunez, Tommy Sacco and Hunter Wolfe.
The teams combined for four scoreless innings before Ole Miss cushioned its lead to 6-3 with two runs in the seventh on a double by Peyton Chatagnier that scored two runs (one earned, one unearned).
The Rebels added one insurance run in the top of the ninth.
Overall, Schlossnagle wasn’t too disappointed with what his team showed. They had a couple deep fly balls that may have been home runs in other ballparks. They had a couple questionable calls go against them. They have plenty to build on.
TCU returns to action against Mississippi State on Sunday. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. The Frogs close the tournament with a game against Arkansas scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday.
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