Day one of the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic was a great day for pitching and defense, but the offense took over on Saturday. One player had multiple home runs (Michael Bernal, Arkansas-2), and both the Razorbacks and TCU Horned Frogs each had three home runs in their games. The second game of the day was a battle of the bullpens as Houston and Arkansas were forced to use 12 total pitchers between the two sides. In the final game, TCU overpowered the Rice Owls in every facet of the game en route to a run-rule in seven innings.
Game 4: Texas Tech 5 (2-0) – Louisiana 3 (0-2)
It is going to be very hard for me to come out of this weekend unimpressed by the showing that Texas Tech has had. Not only did they beat No. 9 Houston Friday afternoon, but they also impressed against Louisiana on Saturday.
Texas Tech scored first. In the third inning, Ryan Long singled to right field to lead-off the inning. Michael Davis followed suit, and Tyler Floyd bunted the two into scoring position. With one out, the top of the order was due up starting with Cory Raley, who grounded out to short. Long scored on the play to give Tech a 1-0 lead.
In the sixth, Orlando Garcia took matters into his own hands as the Red Raider shortstop got a pitch he could hit, a fastball, and drilled it onto the left-center field concourse to once again give Texas Tech a one-run lead.
“It felt really good off the bat,” Garcia said. “He gave me a good pitch to hit with two strikes and I got a good piece of it.”
Louisiana took a 3-2 lead into the ninth inning, but the Red Raiders were able to tie it up on an error by shortstop Hunter Kasuls on a grounder to his right. With the bases loaded, Kasuls fielded the ball cleanly, but looked to third before attempting a throw to first that wasn’t in time. After holding the Ragin’ Cajuns scoreless in the bottom half of the ninth, the Red Raiders went back to work in the tenth scoring three runs in the frame to hand UL-L its second loss of the weekend.
GAME 2: ARKANSAS 12 (2-0) – HOUSTON 3 (0-2)
Arkansas had the right approach all the way around against Houston on Saturday night. Houston held their own in the hit column, (UH 11, Arkansas 13) but the power bats of the Razorbacks produced seven runs on three hits.
Neither starter lasted more that 2.1 innings as a total of 12 pitchers were used (7 for Arkansas, 5 for Houston). Arkansas head coach Dave Van Horn was quick to pull his starter Blaine Knight when he saw he was battling himself on the mound.
“We would have liked to have gotten four or five out of (Knight) but we could tell that he didn’t have it today,” said Van Horn. “He’s a lot better than that. He didn’t locate very well, left the ball up and hung his breaking ball. It was a learning experience for him, he’ll be fine.”
Carson Shaddy went deep to left field in the eighth, but the big flys both belonged to Michael Bernal. The senior went yard in the second inning to give Arkansas their first lead of the game at 3-1. Later, the senior shortstop homered again, a three-run blast that bounced off the foul pole.
“The guys ahead of me did a good job of getting on and moving guys over,” said Bernal. “In that situation, you’re just looking for a pitch to hit to drive in a run. I got two pitches that were out over the plate and I put a good swing on them.”
A bright spot for the Houston Cougars on the night had to be the offense of freshman first baseman Joe Davis. Davis went into the game hitting .556 and continued that with a perfect night at the plate, 4-4. He added an RBI and two runs scored making him responsible for all three Cougar runs.
GAME 6: TCU 10 (2-0) – RICE 0 (0-2)
TCU was the faster, stronger, and overall better team from jump street as the Horned Frogs run-ruled the Rice Owls 10-0.
6’4″ 265 lb. freshman Luken Baker was doing it all for the Frogs as not only did he pitch six innings giving up four hits while striking out seven, but he also hit a big fly that banged off the train tracks in left field.
Elliot Barzilli followed to batters later with a two-run homer of his own to open the TCU lead to 8-0.
The game got off to a slow start offensively as each of the first nine outs were recorded fairly easily between Baker and Rice starter Ricardo Salinas. Salinas got into trouble in the bottom half of the second though as TCU was able to score five, two-out runs.
The Owls offense continued to struggle as the lineup could only muster five hits. Horned Frogs pitchers also kept walks to a minimum as they only gave up one free base, a hit-by-pitch. Rice was 2-10 with runners on base, and 0-3 with runners in scoring position.