Second baseman Gray Rodgers celebrates, as the Frogs win game one of their series with Texas Tech on April 14, 2022. (Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com)
print

After losing seven of their previous 10 games, TCU baseball got back on track this weekend by sweeping the No. 4 Texas Tech Red Raiders.

Catcher Kurtis Byrne said that the team is coming together as a unit and playing for each other.

“The boys are back,” the sophomore said.

TCU also set a new regular season attendance record with 17,461 fans at Lupton throughout the weekend.

Byrne noted that the Lupton crowd was phenomenal. 

“[Lupton] is literally the best atmosphere in college baseball,” said Byrne.

The Frog offense had been going through a rough stretch. This weekend, they bounced back and made a statement. TCU literally played with a “chip” on their shoulder. The word was printed on the shoulder of their undershirts. 

“We kinda decided to flip the switch as a team,” said relief pitcher Luke Savage. “I think we had enough […] There’s nothing that’s going to stop us.”

Game 1

The revamped Frog offense, powered by lineup switches and substitutions, defeated the No. 4 Red Raiders 7-4 on Thursday.

Gray Rodgers, who usually starts at second base, was moved to left field, allowing second baseman Hunter Teplanszki to enter the lineup. Saarloos said that the goal in switching things up was to create a spark for the offense. 

Texas Tech, after three scoreless innings from both teams, put the first runs on the board in the 4th after an error from first baseman David Bishop and a single from Tech third baseman Parker Kelly.

After a 1-2-3 inning from starting pitcher Riley Cornelio, Rodgers kickstarted a two out rally in the 5th with a single through the right side. Teplanszki followed it up with his first career hit, an RBI double down the left field line.

After another 1-2-3 inning from Cornelio, Sacco hit a leadoff homer to start the bottom of the 6th. Third baseman Brayden Taylor and Bishop then hit consecutive singles. 

Following a sacrifice fly, catcher Kurtis Byrne hit a grounder to Tech first baseman Cole Stilwel, who stepped on first base. He chose to fire home instead of second and it cost him, as Taylor was able to slide his hand in to touch home before being tagged. 

Right fielder Luke Boyers then scored Bishop with a two out double, giving the Frogs a two run lead.

Cornelio returned to the mound in the 7th and recorded his ninth strikeout, setting a new career high. TCU made a call to their bullpen after Cornelio gave up a two run home run to Tech left fielder Easton Murrell.

Although Tech scored four runs while Cornelio was on the mound, only one was charged to the TCU ace due to errors by the Frog defense. Cornelio completed his sixth-consecutive outing giving up two earned runs or less.

With the game tied, the Frogs sparked a big inning with a bunt single from center fielder Elijah Nunez. Taylor, after a Sacco walk, was able to bring home Nunez with a single. The Frogs added another run after a nicely placed grounder to the right side by DH Reed Spenrath.

Relief pitcher Luke Savage took over in the 8th and struck out the side. Rodgers then added an insurance run with a solo shot to right, giving the Frogs a three run lead.

Savage had the hot hand and was sent out to close the game in the 9th. He sent the Red Raiders down in order, as the Frogs secured the victory. Saarloos said that Savage did a great job getting both lefties and righties out. 

“He’s doing a really good job of executing pitches,” said Saarloos. “It’s fun to watch him [Savage].”

Game 2

TCU nearly blew a three-run lead but was able to hold on to secure the series victory, defeating Texas Tech 4-3 on Friday.

After a scoreless 1st for both teams, Byrne had a big 2nd, catching a runner stealing and putting the Frogs on the board with a double. 

Boyers was able to move another run across with a sacrifice ground ball to the right side. 

Marcelo Perez, who started the game for the Horned Frogs, held a no hitter through the 5th inning. Mosiello said that Perez outpitching Brandon Birdsell, Texas Tech’s ace, won the game. 

“Marcelo kept us in the game and we were able to get a lead and build,” said Mosiello. “So, he was fantastic.”

The Horned Frogs doubled their lead in the 6th after a pair of singles by Bishop and Byrne, a walk, and some wild pitches.

Closing pitcher River Ridings, fresh after not throwing Friday, was inserted into the game after relief pitcher Caleb Bolden put two runners on to start the 8th. Ridings gave up consecutive singles, which cut the Frog lead in half but was able to get three-straight outs to end the inning.

Ridings started the 9th by giving up a double to center fielder Zach Vooletich, plunking Murrell, and throwing a wild pitch.

The TCU closer struck out Stilwell but walked the next two batters, which scored a run. After Ridings drew an infield fly, the Red Raiders were down to their last out of the game.

Texas Tech had beat Texas earlier in the season with a walk off steal. Byrne, after the game, said that he had talked to Ridings about the runner during the mound visit and that he was very aware of the situation.

Ridings stepped off to check the runner at third, but the home plate umpire called a balk. Saarloos was livid and rushed out of the dugout to discuss the call. The third base umpire, who saw Ridings step off, overturned the call. 

Texas Tech skipper Tim Tadlock was furious, and after play resumed, Rodgers fielded a ground ball and secured the out to secure the series victory.

Even after a few mistakes, the TCU coaching staff never lost faith in Ridings.

“He [Ridings] sure does a great job of keeping us poised,” said Mosiello. “Talk about ice water in your veins. That’s what he’s got.”

Game 3

The Horned Frogs, powered by five RBIs from Nunez, dominated the Red Raiders, defeating them 11-3 and sweeping the series on Saturday afternoon.

Nunez had a quiet series until Sunday. Saarloos said that great players can switch things up in an instant, which Nunez did, clearing the bases in the 7th with a double to right field.

“You always have to be ready for the next at bat,” said Saarloos.

TCU took the lead in the 2nd after Spenrath hit a deep solo shot to center field and held onto it the rest of the way. The offense was relentless, scoring more runs than Tech did the entire series.

Sacco continued his excellent play, tallying three hits, including a two run double to right field.

Starting pitcher Brett Walker had his best start in quite some time, keeping a no hitter through the 4th inning.

After losing seven of 10, the Frog offense made a statement against the No. 4 ranked Red Raiders. Nunez said that the offense coming alive felt amazing.

“As a group of guys we know what we can do,” said Nunez. “I hope we can keep rolling. I’m sure we will.”

Up Next

The Frogs, who were unranked, moved up to No. 21 in the D1 Baseball top 25 after sweeping the Red Raiders.

TCU will play UT Arlington at Lupton on Tuesday ahead of their weekend series against No. 3 Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

+ posts

Charles Baggarly is a Junior Journalism and Criminal Justice Double Major from Claremont, California. Charles loves discussing, playing, and watching all sports. He is looking to break into the sports business. You can see his hot takes on Twitter (@swaggarly).