Following a blowout loss on Friday, No. 21 TCU bounced back, winning two-straight against No. 3 OSU to secure the series victory.
The Horned Frogs now sit on top of the Big 12 Conference standings.
Starting pitcher Austin Krob made his return to the mound in relief after being out of action since March 13. Head coach Kirk Saarloos said he was happy to see him back on the field.
“He [Krob] worked his tail off to get back to this point,” said Saarloos. “It ended up being the perfect weekend for him to come back.”
Powered by a dominant performance from the offense, OSU soundly defeated TCU 13-2 on Friday. The Horned Frogs trailed the entire game.
Sam Thompson got the start in left field. He made a spectacular play in the 1st, tracking down a fly ball in the wind and crashing into the barrier to make the catch. He then made two errors as the game continued.
OSU’s starting pitcher, Justin Campbell, was dominant on the mound, giving up one earned run and striking out 14 through 8 innings.
Associate head coach Bill Mosiello said that he hated to admit that Campbell was “that good”.
“[He had a] great changeup to nullify our left handed hitters,” said Mosiello.
TCU’s starting pitcher, Riley Cornelio, didn’t have his best stuff, giving up 8 runs and allowing 11 hits in 3.1 innings. Cornelio gave up more earned runs (7) than he did in his last five starts.
Coach Mosiello said that there was nothing specific that went wrong with Cornelio’s performance, saying it was “just one of those nights”.
“He’s been so great for us,” said Mosiello. “He had a tough one. That’s just part of it. And part of being a good team is picking each other up.”
Third baseman Nolan Mclean led the way for the Cowboys; he tallied four hits, including a home run, and drove in four runs.
The Frog offense was, for the most part, shut down. Third baseman Brayden Taylor and right fielder Luke Boyers both hit solo shots, which were two of the three Horned Frog hits. The Frogs had one walk in the game, tying their season low.
The Frogs captured an early lead and held onto it, defeating the Cowboys 6-4 and evening the series on Saturday.
Against one of the Big 12’s best offenses, the TCU pitching staff gave up two earned runs. OSU, after the 3rd inning, captured the momentum, but the Frogs did a great job holding the lead.
Moseillo said that his team was resilient.
“They came to play, and the pitchers were outstanding,” said Mosiello.
Shortstop Tommy Sacco put the Frogs on the board in the first with a deep fly ball that was carried over the fence by the wind, barely staying fair. They added two runs in the 2nd with a flurry of hits from catcher Kurtis Byrne, second baseman Gray Rodgers, and center fielder Elijah Nunez.
Right fielder Luke Boyers piled on the runs with a deep three-run blast to center field. The Horned Frogs didn’t score the rest of the ballgame but the pitchers did a great job keeping the OSU offense at bay.
Starting pitcher Marcelo Perez gave up a 1st inning run but pushed onward and had a great outing. He said that he felt in control throughout the game.
“I never got out of my headspace,” said Perez. “I had all my three pitches for strikes.”
After being thrown into the weekend rotation three weeks ago, Perez has stepped up to the challenge and performed. Perez threw five shutout innings against Texas Tech last week and gave up 2 earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched to OSU.
Relief pitcher Luke Savage, who replaced Perez, got himself out of two jams with the help of some great defensive plays; Byrne caught a greedy runner trying to take third, Rodgers and Sacco turned a timely double play, and Savage himself fielded a grounder with his bare hand to secure the final out of the 8th.
Closing pitcher River Ridings recorded the first out for the Horned Frogs in the 9th but then gave up a triple. After Ridings struck out the next batter, TCU made a call to the bullpen.
Relief pitcher Garrett Wright, throwing his fastballs in the high 90s, struck out the last batter to secure the victory.
TCU won their second-consecutive game on Sunday afternoon, defeating OSU 7-6 and moving to the top of the Big 12 Conference standings.
The Cowboys were able to strike first, but the Horned Frogs responded with a three-run 3rd. Thompson hit a game-tying solo shot to right field that left O’Brate Stadium and bat flipped as he admired his work.
Following a Nunez base hit, Sacco sent another ball out of the confines of O’Brate stadium, giving the Horned Frogs a two-run lead. He walked slowly to first, watching his blast leave the stadium to the joy of the TCU dugout.
OSU retaliated with a three-run inning of their own in the 4th. Starting pitcher Brett Walker struggled in the frame, giving up four-consecutive hits and walking in a run.
Relief pitcher Auggie Mihlbauer took over and dealt with a no out, bases loaded jam. He limited the Cowboys to only one run. The Frogs secured a double play and a ground out to end the inning.
Saarloos said that Mihlbauer wiggling out of the jam with minimal damage won the game for the Frogs.
“They could’ve turned that three-run inning into a five or six run inning, and it’s a totally different ballgame,” said Saarloos.
After a scoreless 5th for both squads, Boyers continued his excellent play in the series, tying the game with a double down the right field line.
The Horned Frogs recaptured the lead in the 7th with a two out single from Rodgers.
Krob, the former Friday night starter, secured two hitless shutout innings in his return. Krob said that he was nervous but felt confident once he stepped on the field.
“Right when I stepped on this mound I was like ‘alright, you’re an animal now’,” said Krob.
First baseman Reed Spenrath, who started in place of an injured David Bishop, added to the Frog lead with a blast to right field, the Frog’s third home run of the day.
Rodgers drove in another insurance run with a single, which turned out to be important, as the Cowboys added two runs against Ridings in the bottom of the 9th.
Wright was then inserted into the game and secured his second-straight save.
After winning two-straight series against top 5 teams, the Frogs will play No. 23 Dallas Baptist University at Lupton on Tuesday. First pitch is at 6 p.m.
Bishop’s X-rays came back negative and Saarloos said that he “doesn’t foresee him being out on Tuesday.”