Kansas pitching did a number of the TCU bats over the weekend, holding the high-powered Frog offense below their average in each of the three games they played. But the Frogs pitchers were excellent as well, ensuring the home team would earn a series victory to open the Big 12 season.
But on Sunday it was Kansas hurlers who got the job done, riding a no-hitter from Jackson Goddard through seven innings as they built a 3-0 lead. Brian Howard had a strong start as well, he was exceptional through the first five frames, holding the Jayhawk hitters to a pair of walks and a single. But in the sixth, KU finally broke the offense open, starting things off with a single that bounced just over the outstretched glove of third baseman Elliot Barzilli and putting runners at the corners with two outs. After a mound visit, Howard stayed in to face Jaxx Groshans, who ripped a single right back up the middle to score the first run of the game. Schlossnagle would make the call for Charles King after that, and after giving up a run scoring single of the first pitch he threw, he got out of the inning with a ground out to second.
Kansas would strike again for a third run in the top of the eighth, as Jake Eissler replaced King for TCU. Eissler sandwiched a pair of outs around a HBP, opening the inning with a groundout and getting a batter interference for the second. But with two down and a runner on first, a single to right made it 3-0. TCU would finally break through in the bottom of the eighth, striking for three runs with some excellent at-bats by the home team.
After Elliot Barzilli hit a first pitch fly out, Ryan Merrill worked a four pitch walk. Connor Wanhanen, who was getting his first start of the weekend, ripped a double on a 2-2 count, giving TCU their first hit of the game. With runners at the corners, Austen Wade walked, leading to a Kansas pitching change - as they called on the side armer Villines. Cam Warner was the next man up, and he hit a high chopper to short that left the Jayhawks without a play. With the bases loaded, Evan Skoug strode to the plate. After an 0-3 start, Skoug produced an excellent at-bat, and struck for a game-tying single through the right side. On the play, Cam Warner was called out at third on a phantom tag - a bad call that would come back to haunt the Horned Frogs. Luken Baker was intentionally walked a batter later, and Josh Watson’s 13 game hitting streak came to an end as he struck out with two outs to end the frame. But the momentum looked to be heading TCU’s way as they tied things up at three.
TCU went back to the pen once again in the ninth, turning to Sean Wymer - their most reliable reliever to date. But Wymer was touched up for the first time all season, surrendering a solo shot to right - into the wind - to nine-hole hitter Owen Taylor. The 4-3 advantage would hold up for the Jayhawks, as TCU got a runner to third but couldn’t score in the bottom of the ninth.
The Frogs fall to 14-5 overall and 2-1 in conference play. TCU was led by Skoug’s two RBIs, and the Frogs three hits came from him, Warner, and Wanhanen. The team drew seven walks and struck out nine times, as Goddard was brilliant, though he finished with a no decision. Wymer takes the loss for TCU, and finished allowing two hits and two walks in addition to the one run. Howard had an encouraging start, striking out four, walking three, and allowing just three hits and two runs in 5.2 innings of work.
The Frogs will hit the road for a Tuesday night contest at Abilene Christian, before returning to Lupton to face a very good Oklahoma State team for three Big 12 contests.