TCU lefthander Nick Lodolo (Aaron Fitt)


TCU’s Lodolo Has Coming-Out Party


LUBBOCK, Texas — TCU knew it was getting a bona fide, blue-chip Friday night ace when Nick Lodolo opted for school over the professional ranks last summer. This one was a no-brainer, just like Matt Purke in 2009. Tall lefthanders with advanced feel for pitching and excellent stuff — like Purke and Lodolo — don’t turn down opportunities to sign for seven figures out of high school very often, and when a guy like that shows up on campus, all a coach can do is pinch himself a few times and enjoy the ride.

And Purke made a monumental impact as a freshman, going 16-0 and playing a huge role in leading TCU to Omaha for the first time in program history. It was natural to expect Lodolo to make a similar impact as a freshman, because he was a very similar talent — and he ranked as D1Baseball’s No. 1 freshman prospect in college baseball heading into this spring.

So Lodolo’s bumpy ride through the first two-thirds of the season was rather startling. Through the first nine weeks of his collegiate career, Lodolo showed flashes of his prodigious potential, but he also had two starts where he failed to make it out of the first inning and another where he didn’t get through the second. He seemed to turn a corner last week against Baylor, throwing six innings of one-run ball, but he still carried a 4.96 ERA into this weekend’s huge showdown series at No. 8 Texas Tech.

And then, in his toughest test of the year against a very good offensive team in a rowdy road atmosphere, Lodolo became that bona fide, blue-chip Friday night ace. Lodolo limited the Red Raiders to just a run on four hits over eight strong innings to lead the Horned Frogs to a 4-1 victory.

“It’s a coming out party, I hope, for him,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

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