FORT WORTH, Texas - For the second straight day the Jacksonville University baseball team was unable to get much going against the talented TCU pitching staff as the Dolphins fell 5-1 on Saturday afternoon at Lupton Stadium.
“Our guys are closer than they think,” Head Coach Tim Montez said. “They are staying together and had another solid defensive game turning three double plays. We just need to stay a little more tough-mind at the plate.”
With starter Zach Gordon (St. Petersburg, Fla.) throwing well early on the game was scoreless through the first three innings. Jacksonville then had the opportunity to strike first in the fourth after a leadoff walk to Cameron Gibson (Conyers, Ga.) and a single to right by Connor Marabell (Jacksonville, Fla.). Back-to-back strikeouts by TCU’s preseason All-American Preston Morrison however ended the Dolphins threat as the runners were left stranded on second and third.
“You only get so many opportunities vs a team as well coached as TCU,” said Montez. “We had a chance for a big inning, but didn’t compete at the plate the way we needed to and came away empty handed.”
In the bottom half of the fourth, shortstop Angelo Amendolare (Edgewater, Fla.) helped erase a leadoff single with a glove flip to Jordan Mullis (Jacksonville, Fla.) at second to start Jacksonville’s second of the three ground ball double plays of the day. The Horned Frogs weren’t done however as three straight two out hits, including a double by Jerrick Suiter, led to a pair of runs and a 2-0 lead for TCU. Catcher Braddock Rowe (Jacksonville, Fla.) prevented any farther damage for the Dolphins by nailing his third runner of the season trying to steal second.
In the fifth Keaton Jones lead off with a double for TCU and eventually scored on a one-out single by Garrett Crain. An RBI double by Boomer White eventually chased Gordon who ended his day scattering 10 hits over 4.2 innings with four runs, one walk and one strike out.
“The difference today was once again TCU’s ability to get the big hit with two outs,” said Montez. “If our guys can learn from their composure and pitch the way we have against the No. 19 team in the country then we have a chance to have a good year.”
TCU added an unearned run in the sixth off of Josh Baker (Sussex, Wis.) before a scoreless seventh by Ray Moody (Greenville, Ala.) and a scoreless eighth by Adam Maxon (Oviedo, Fla.).
Jacksonville finally got on the board in the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Dillard (Kissimmee, Fla.). Dillard’s RBI ended a 40-inning scoreless drought by the Dolphins vs TCU dating back to last year’s season opener. Marabell, who drew a leadoff walk and moved up on a pinch hit single by Seth Dewitt (Jacksonville Beach, Fla.), scored on the play.
Gordon (0-1) was charged with the loss on the mound while Morrison (1-0) earned the win for TCU allowing four hits and no runs in eight innings.
The Dolphins aim to win the series finale tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm CST (2:00 pm EST).