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TCU Magazine "Riff Ram"

Splash Page | First Person | Track & Field | Baseball | Tennis | Men's Golf


An unlikely ace

From middle relief to Friday night starter, sophomore stabilizes Frogs' season.

By Rick Waters '95

Even Coach Jim Schlossnagle didn't see this coming. While he'd seen All-American pitcher Jake Arrieta move on to the pros, the Frogs had a healthy Seth Garrison returning as potentially the team's ace, sophomore up-and-comer Steven Maxwell emerging from the bullpen and first-year fireballers Andrew Cashner, Greg Holle and Sean Hoelscher coming to Fort Worth to compete for spots in the rotation.

"We thought we would have lots of options," Schlossnagle admitted.

But never did the coach consider sophomore Tyler Lockwood, a right-handed middle relief pitcher with great location but less than impressive stuff, for any other role. He made the Mountain West Conference Tournament Team last year as a reliever and would be a regular in that spot again.

But Garrison's return from elbow surgery was slower than expected. Maxwell was injured. Holle got off to an up-and-down start.

"Chalk it up to bad coaching," Schlossnagle said. "Tyler was our best pitcher, and we had him in the game when we were behind. We weren't as good offensively then, and Tyler was coming in, getting guys out and holding down the score. So it was an easy decision to move him to the starting rotation. It gave us the best chance to win."

On March 20, with the Frogs at 9-8 and their season in the balance, Lockwood made his first start versus New Mexico. He pitched seven innings, gave up two runs on seven hits, struck out four and walked nobody. The Frogs won 10-2.

It would be the first of a series of strong outings stabilizing the Friday night starter role and the Frogs' season. Lockwood has a 2.11 ERA, best among starters, and a 6-1 record.

"I just kept my routine as a reliver," Lockwood said. "I don't throw as long to warm up as other starters and it keeps me fresher."

Throwing a lot of sinker and change-up pitches, Lockwood relies on throwing strikes and trusting his defense. As Schlossnagle puts it, "He lets the opponent hit pitches he wants them to hit."

The result is a lot of ground balls on the right side of the infield. His teammates have responded with a team fielding percentage of .974 in the regular season, one-one-thousandth off the school record.

"When he catches a rhythm, I'll look up and notice that we're in the sixth inning and we're ahead," Schlossnagle said. "He doesn't walk many guys, and he gives us what every coach would want from a pitcher, especially a starter - consistency and a chance to win." 

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