The Horned Frogs, playing in their final series of the regular season, were backed by solid pitching and defense in a win where the squad only recorded five hits.
Mitchell Traver, who made only his third start after missing much of the season due to injury, recorded his first win of the year after pitching 4 1/3 innings – tallying six strikeouts over 67 pitches.
“He felt great,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “He was throwing 93 mph consistently, but we weren’t going to let him get past 75 pitches. He gave up some hits, but his stuff is continuing to get better and better.”
K-State put up an equally impressive pitching performance, with starter Levi MaVorhis throwing 123 pitches over eight innings, only allowing five hits and two runs. That, however, was still not enough to overcome TCU in front of a crowd bleeding purple on both sides.
The Wildcats would strike first when Traver walked in a run after loading the bases in the second inning. But, he managed to get out of the jam by retiring the next two batters.
This was the first of three times the bases would be loaded for the Frogs, all of which they emerged unscathed, aside from the walked in run. K-State would strand a total of nine runners on base in the game, six in scoring position.
Schlossnagle said that some of the jams were our fault, but we managed to keep making the plays we needed to make.
“We always remind guys they are always a pitch away from being out of the inning,” Schlossnagle said. “They just have to keep throwing quality pitches at the bottom of the strike zone, and that’s what we got.”
And Kansas State’s lead wouldn’t last forever. In the bottom of the second, first baseman Connor Wanhanen drove in a run on a groundout to tie the contest 1-1. And small-ball would be all the Frogs needed to emerge on top. Luken Baker came home during a Dane Steinhagen double-play in the bottom of the fourth inning to break the tie.
However, it was the Frogs’ bullpen that stole the show. Preston Guillory provided 3 2/3 innings of relief, striking out three and only allowing two hits over 10 batters and 36 pitches.
Guillory said this was the longest he had gone all year, but all that mattered was making good pitches and winning the game.
“Everything felt right and it was a great confidence booster,” Guillory said.
Schlossnagle said it was one of the best performances he had ever seen from the senior from Watson, Louisiana.
“That was as good as I remember him ever pitching in terms of pure stuff – better than 2015 Preston Guillory,” Schlossnagle said. “He had better velocity. He was pitching with a lot of aggression and confidence, and it was certainly a good time for him to have that.”
Guillory was also assisted by defense from Austen Wade, who threw out K-State designated hitter Josh Rolette with a perfect on target throw from deep right field to second base as Rolette was stretching for extra bags.
Durbin Feltman would come in for the save, striking out the first two batters before getting a pop-up third out to give the Frogs their fourth straight win and his second save in two games.
Schlossnagle said Feltman’s save was “impressive.”
“That was Riley Ferrell kind of stuff from him,” Schlossnagle said.
The Frogs will wrap up their regular season when they host K-State for the series finale tomorrow at Lupton Stadium. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.