It was a 2-1 count.
Third baseman Brayden Taylor was up to bat for the Frogs, who were leading Texas A&M – Corpus Christi 11-6. Center fielder Elijah Nunez, who doubled the prior at bat, was stretching his lead at second base.
Up big, the Frogs weren’t done piling on runs just yet.
Taylor turned on a pitch, sending it 415 feet for a home run. Lupton roared as Taylor trotted around the basepaths. Associate Head Coach Bill Mosiello gave Taylor a high five as he rounded third.
Nunez was waiting for Taylor at home plate. Taylor gave him a hug. He then turned to hug first baseman, David Bishop.
“The Bashbros” is a nickname that Bishop and Taylor have for each other. They have been a dynamic duo this season, driving in a combined total of 62 RBIs.
When a Frog hits a home run, it’s tradition to hug the player batting next.
Taylor said that hugging Bishop at the plate is always a good feeling.
“Whenever I give him a hug, it’s always like ‘hey man, you’re up next. Go get ‘em’,” said Taylor.
That’s exactly what Bishop did.
On the first pitch of the at bat, Bishop launched a high fly ball to deep left-center field.
The bullpen stood up and scrambled into three lines as they watched the ball fly through the sky and celebrated by doing “the Bernie” in unison as the home run ball touched earth.
Bishop trotted around the bases with a massive smile on his face.
After rounding third, Bishop gave coach Mo a high five and made eye contact with second baseman Gray Rodgers. He stuck his tongue out jokingly as he approached home plate and hugged Rodgers. Bishop gave Rodgers a pat on the shoulder before returning to the dugout.
The Frogs still weren’t done.
They were having fun and feeding off each other’s energy.
Rodgers stepped up to the plate.
On a 2-2 count, Rodgers hit a hard line drive down the first baseline that went all the way to the wall.
He rounded second hard, trying to stretch the hit into a triple. Rodgers slid into third, barely beating the tag. As the dugout cheered, Rodgers stood up.
He signaled his teammates with his hands and hit an uppercut, a typical celebration for Horned Frogs who hit for extra bases. Rodgers then hit his signature move, the dab.
Hitting a home run is one of the most fun and exciting things you can do in baseball. What makes it more exciting? Touching home plate and getting a hug from your teammate. The purpose of celebrating, for the Frogs, is not to brag but to spread energy to their teammates and cherish each other’s accomplishments.
“I think it shows a brotherhood, you know?” said Bishop. “It’s a rewarding thing to hit a home run and have guys at the plate waiting for you to give you a hug.”
Shortstop Tommy Sacco said that the team started giving out hugs after homers last year.
“That’s my favorite part about a home run, is getting home and getting a hug,” said Sacco. “It’s real special to be the first person to greet them, because you know that they’re feeling excited. That’s the best part about it.”
To the team, Frogball USA isn’t just baseball, it’s a lifestyle. Frogball USA is a band of brothers, a family of sorts.
Coach Mosiello agreed with Bishop that Frogball USA is a brotherhood. He said that this team is special; he cited their resilience and also the fact that they play for each other, not themselves, as reasons.
“It’s fun coming to the ballpark every day to be with them,” said Mosiello. “The kids are what makes our program. […] I’ve stayed here because, how can I leave these kids? They’re amazing kids. […] The players, the brotherhood, the kind of kids they are? They’re what life is about to me, besides my family.”
Head Coach Kirk Saarloos said that the family environment and brotherhood is “what we sell here” and a big reason why former players come back.
“Part of being a coach, why you do it, is because of those relationships with players and former players,” said Saarloos.
Starting pitcher Riley Cornelio said that when you play for TCU, you play for something bigger than yourself.
“You see everybody come out and the amount of people that are impacted by it [TCU Baseball],” said Cornelio. “I think it is always special to see.”
Cornelio said that TCU Baseball is a brotherhood and it runs deeper than what a lot of people see.
“A lot of people see the end result of what it looks like on the field and what they don’t see is the bonding and the brotherhood we have off the field, and that’s really where it starts, it’s that chemistry,” said Cornelio. “We’re all there for each other. Somebody goes down, we all go down.”
Coach Saarloos said that whether you win or lose, it’s important to have an understanding of what the end goal is.
“Yea, you want to win the last game of the year,” said Saarloos. “But [the goal] also is to teach [the players] how to be a really great young man when you do leave here.”