By Jeff Wilson
Frogs Today senior writer
FORT WORTH — Ernie Banks probably wouldn’t have wanted to play two Tuesday night at Lupton Stadium.
He might not have even wanted to play two innings, with a north wind making the temperature feel as chilly as 32 degrees.
But TCU played its home opener as scheduled, and cruised to an 11-1 victory over Stephen F. Austin.
The Horned Frogs are 3-1 in the first week of the season and will play next this weekend against Nebraska at Globe Life Field. Their game Wednesday against UT-San Antonio was postponed Tuesday night in advance of the even colder weather headed to town.
“I’m sure glad it’s indoors and not outside,” TCU coach Kirk Saarloos said. “That’ll be nice to be indoors when it’s 40 degrees outside.”
The Frogs have plenty to build upon from their win over the Lumberjacks.
Here are three highlights:
Despite the conditions, right-hander Cam Brown came out hot —maybe a little too hot.
He touched 97 mph to the first batter of the game, and walked him on five pitches.
“It was the first time I’ve thrown against another team for a long time, so I was definitely pretty amped up going into the game,” Brown said. “After getting a feel for the mound out there, it was getting myself in a good rhythm, getting my feet back under me and really just trying to stay in control of the game.”
Brown’s velo didn’t come down much, and he quickly settled in and delivered five scoreless innings on only two hits. He didn’t allow a hit until the fourth inning, walked only two and struck out seven.
TCU’s starting pitchers have a 0.86 ERA through four games (two runs, 21 innings). Brown was the third to not yield a run.
“Cam’s big thing is controlling the strike zone,” Saarloos said. “He’s got good enough stuff where he might scatter some walks but he can get away with it probably more than most other guys just because of his pure stuff.”
TCU jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first inning, all without collecting a hit.
The Frogs’ first six hitters took walks, and two others runs scored on a pair of sacrifice flies.
The Frogs weren’t exactly laying off pitches that were just missing, as SFA starter Dayton Dewberry was missing well off the plate. But TCU didn’t stray out of the zone, and it paid off.
“The one characteristic of our offense always is strike-zone discipline,” Saarloss said. “We got a lot of stuff for free tonight. I’d like to see us be a little more offensive with the bat, but we’re still trying to figure out our [nine] best.”
Their keen eye is nothing new, though. The Frogs have drawn 30 walks already this season.
TCU did eventually reach via a base hit, though only seven of them.
Three of them were by freshman clean-up hitter David Bishop, and one of those was a two-run opposite-field homer in the sixth inning for his first career home run.
Bishop finished with five RBIs, one on a bases-loaded walk and two on RBI singles.
“I’m not trying to do too much,” Bishop said. “In high school, you have slower pitching and you try to jack some home runs. Just staying true to my swing, staying in and out through baseballs, working through the middle, it’s been really helpful.”
Bishop is batting .429 (6 for 14) with a team-high nine RBIs in four games, all of them starts. He is playing first base this season despite being a shortstop at Fellowship Christian High School in Marietta, Ga.
The fourth spot might seem like a big task for a freshman, but TCU is comfortable with him protecting All-American Brayden Taylor.
“He’s always hit,” Saarloos said. ‘That’s the best attribute of a hitter — you get hits. He’s on pitches. He’s on fastballs, he’s on breaking balls, so you can’t really pitch him one way.”
Sam Thompson also homered, a solo blast in the eighth.
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org