TCU pitchers and hitters kept the Horned Frogs from getting swept with a 5-2 win Sunday over the Kansas State Wildcats.
Multi-run innings were key for TCU. The scoring started in the third with a single from junior catcher Kyle Bacak. Sophomore shortstop Keaton Jones then pulled a hit-and-run to move Bacak to third, so there were runners on both first and third. Center fielder Cody Jones, also a sophomore, then came up and singled to bring Bacak in for the first lead in the game.
A walk to freshman left fielder Boomer White loaded the bases for junior second baseman Paul Hendrix, who faced a new pitcher. He grounded out, but with only one out at the time, Keaton Jones was able to come home for the second run of the inning. Before the last out, senior third baseman Jantzen Witte beat the throw to first to allow Cody Jones to score for the third, and final, run of the inning.
The single by Witte stretched his hitting streak to nine games and was the second in a 3-for-3 game. Sunday was Witte’s 20th three-hit game of his career. With two walks, he reached base in all five of his at-bats.
The single from Bacak took his hitting streak of six games. He also got his third pick-off of the season as catcher. The throw to first to get the runner as he ran back was in time to end the fourth inning.
Kansas State looked to tie the game in the fifth, but a double play ended the inning, so just one runner was able to score.
A double from Jon Davis started off the Wildcats offense in the fifth. A subsequent walk and single loaded the bases for Mitch Meyer, who hit a sacrifice fly to bring Davis home and made the score 3-1.
With two runners on and one out, TCU senior right-hander Justin Scharf came in to finish the inning. The first pitch he threw to Ross Kivet was a double play ball to end the inning, stranding two runners and preserving the TCU lead.
TCU regained its three-run lead and then some in the sixth, when sophomore Kevin Cron walked to first and made it to third within the next at-bat after a wild pitch and a passed ball. The at-bat ended with junior right fielder Brett Johnson getting a triple to bring in Cron. Then Bacak hit a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to four, making it 5-1.
The triple was Johnson’s second of his career. The last time he tripled was in 2011 against Cal State Fullerton.
The final score came in the bottom of the sixth after a lead-off single from Tanner Witt resulted in a run. After getting the following two batters, Austin Fisher hit a double to bring in Witt. Travis Evans came in for what could have been the tying run, but instead struck the batter out with three pitches.
TCU went through five pitchers, while K-State used seven throughout the game.
TCU’s starter Andrew Mitchell, a righty, went 4.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits. He walked two batters and struck out four in the no-decision.
Scarf (1-2) got the win while allowing one run on two hits in his 1.1 innings. He issued one walk and did not strike anyone out.
Sophomore lefty Travis Evans, freshman righty Riley Ferrell and freshman lefty Alex Young closed out the game without allowing any runs, hits or walks. The three relievers sat down all 10 batters they faced in the final three innings. Each of them recorded one strikeout. The win gave Young his third save of the season.
Evans has not allowed a run in 13.2 innings pitched this year. Of the 21 runners he has inherited this season as a reliever, he has allowed four to score, while stranding the rest.
Kansas State’s Blake McFadden (4-2) took the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in his 2.1 innings. He also issued a walk and struck out two.
Wildcat right-hander Gerardo Esquivel gave up the final two runs on one hit. He issued one walk and did not get an out during his time on the mound.
Tanner Witt, who started in left field, came in as the final pitcher for the Wildcats gave up one hit and struck out one in the final inning.
The win brings TCU to 20-23 overall and 8-10 in Big 12 Conference play. The Horned Frogs return to Lupton Stadium for a midweek game against the Texas Southern Tigers. First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in Fort Worth.