This was the first true away series of the season for the Frogs, and the Longhorns got the better of them tonight in Austin. The Texas crowd seemed to grow the entire game, and by the ninth inning they were on their feet making noise and feeding off the positive energy that the team home generated all night. This honestly just seemed like Texas' night. It seemed like they hit five or six balls right up the middle past the pitcher, they were catching balls at the fence in the outfield and just about everything else was bouncing their way. Connor Wanhanen let several balls get past him at first base, even though most of them were bad throws by the rest of the infield. With a runner on first, one of those balls bounced off top of the dougout fence and came back into the play to allow Wanhanen to keep the runner on, but it snuck just far enough into the dougout for the officials to award the runner second base anyway. It was just one of those weird nights where TCU couldn't catch a break.
Some sloppy, and what looked at times like confused, infield play led to Texas getting runners on base early and often. It's a shame too, because Baker looked especially sharp in the early innings tonight. He struck out the first batter he faced on three straight fastballs. The Longhorns put one on the board in the second and another in the third to take and early 2-0 lead. In the top of the fourth the Frogs found some life at the plate. Cam Warner started off the inning with a walk and Steinhagen singled to put runners on the corners with no outs. Evan Skoug hit a monster shot to right field for a three run bomb to give TCU the 3-2 lead. The Frogs had runners in scoring position after the homer in the fourth and in each of the next two innings with less than two outs, but never could get the hit they needed to add to their run total.
In the fifth inning Texas hit a two run homer to retake the lead at 4-3 and that would prove to be the final score. Baker exited the game after 4 2/3 innings, as did Texas' pitcher Morgan Cooper. Both pitchers had their pitch counts up around 90 at that point. Jared Janczak came into the game to relieve Baker and put together an incredible appearance over the next 3+ innings. He finished the game for the Frogs, saving the bullpen for the uphill climb that TCU will face over the next two days. He pitched a total of 3 1/3 innings, over which he allowed just two hits, struck out a staggering seven batters and didn't issue a single walk. Texas threw five different pitchers after Cooper left the mound, but they combined to keep TCU at bay. Over the last three innings, TCU didn't manage a single hit until there were two outs in the ninth. By then it was too little, too late.
This was the first game of Big 12 play for Texas, who improved to 10-12 on the year and 1-0 in conference with the win. TCU dropped to 17-4 and 3-1 in conference, as they suffered their first Big 12 loss of the year. TCU has a tall task ahead of them to win the next two games and take the series, but thanks to Janczak's stellar work on the mound they have the hitting and enough pitching left to do so. Texas had not won a game against TCU in the last two year, and prior to tonight they had only beaten us once as conference foes. They really wanted this win. If TCU wants to stay on track to win the Big 12 and earn a national seed, they need to want it just as badly.