TCU pitcher Durbin Feltman delivers a pitch in the ninth inning last week against Oklahoma. The freshman from Conroe got four outs for his second save, finishing a 2-0 victory at Lupton Stadium. Bob Haynes Special to the Star-Telegram
TCU pitcher Durbin Feltman delivers a pitch in the ninth inning last week against Oklahoma. The freshman from Conroe got four outs for his second save, finishing a 2-0 victory at Lupton Stadium. Bob Haynes Special to the Star-Telegram

TCU

TCU pitching getting return on investment in freshman arms

April 21, 2016 11:30 AM

TCU takes along the Big 12’s second-best earned-run average when it starts a three-game series at Oklahoma State on Friday.

The Horned Frogs have a 2.95 team ERA through 35 games covering 305 innings, a notable return from a staff using two freshmen in the weekend rotation and three in the bullpen, including the closer.

“For such a young staff, yeah, I think we’re really mature,” junior starter Brian Howard said. “Every once in a while, you’ll see a little youth show itself on the field. But you can’t expect everyone to play like they’re a senior when they’re a freshman.”

TCU leads the Big 12 in batting average at .316. Oklahoma State is last at .245. In ERA, Oklahoma State is first at 2.80, and TCU is second at 2.95.

Freshman left-hander Dalton Horton leads TCU in wins at 6-0 and has a 1.99 ERA. He’s also first in batting average against (.201) and fewest stolen bases against (four).

Freshman right-hander Luken Baker (3-1, 1.75) leads the team in starts (nine) and has the best ERA among the starters.

Freshman reliever Sean Wymer has 18 strikeouts in 14 innings, and closer Durbin Feltman has two saves and 22 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings. He got the final four outs of a 2-0 victory that finished a sweep of Oklahoma last week.

Redshirt freshman Jared Janczak leads the team in appearances and has won four games in relief.

“We’re just really proud of the way they’re working,” Howard said.

Oklahoma State has won the series against TCU the past two seasons. TCU is 11-9 against OSU under Jim Schlossnagle and 19-17 all-time.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said it’s important to play freshmen if they’re good enough and to learn how they react in pressure situations.

“It’s interesting to watch how some guys rise to that challenge and other guys are a little timid,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that can’t change. We’ve had guys start out timid in their career and become the guys that you count on. Every single guy that walks in my office wants a chance to play as a freshman, pitch as a freshman, and pretty much every time, you tell them, ‘Be careful what you wish for.’ Saying what you want and then actually going out there and performing at the level that we’re expected to perform at are two different things.”

Schlossnagle credited pitching coach Kirk Saarloos for his work smoothing the transition for every pitcher, freshman to senior.

“We spend a lot of time, effort and money in the mental game of baseball,” he said. “Kirk Saarloos does a good job of managing our guys doing that.”

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

TCU's Brian Howard credits 'four-pitch mix' against OU

Horned Frogs starter, back from a week off, says his changeup made a difference in seven shutout innings.

cmendez@star-telegram.com

TCU at Oklahoma State

6 p.m. Friday, FCS

4 p.m. Saturday, FSSW Plus

1 p.m. Sunday, FCS

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