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SWEEP! Frogs take down KSU on the road

TCU has won 8 straight and swept consecutive Big 12 series, as they defeat the Cats 12-4.

Melissa Triebwasser

TCU didn’t wait until the extra innings to score today, striking for six runs in the third and five in the sixth to dispatch the Wildcats 12-4 on a Sweep Sunday. The Wildcats had a first of their own, as they put up their first runs of the weekend in the fourth, though they wouldn’t be nearly enough.

Brian Howard started the game, and unlike his two predecessors, gave up an early hit to the Wildcats. Though he would pitch himself into trouble a couple times in the first three innings, he kept KSU off the board until the fourth, after his teammates had already built a big lead behind him.

That big lead came on the strength of the aforementioned six run third, an inning that saw six straight Frogs reach safely. Connor Wanhanen started things off by taking a pitch off the guard, putting a runner on first with one out. The Frogs would then strike for consecutive singles by Austen Wade and Cam Warner, scoring the first run of the game on Wade’s RBI after Wanny stole second. Evan Skoug walked to load the bases, and Luken Baker’s single plated a pair. Josh Watson followed by ripping a double to the gap to make it a 4-0 lead for the visitors. Nolan Brown hit a sac fly, ending the streak, but scoring the fifth run of the inning. Elliot Barzilli followed with a walk, leading to a pitching change, and Ryan Merrill greeted the new arm with an RBI single. Wanhanen ended the inning a batter later - he was the first to score and the last out of the frame.

The Cats would finally break through for a run - the first time of the weekend that could be said - with Hans Harker hitting a two run blast off of Brian Howard. TCU wasn’t having it though, as they got both runs back and more a half inning later. Josh Watson started things off with a leadoff single, but was erased on the bases by Brown’s fielder’s choice. Elliot Barzilli, who had made an unbelievable barehanded play for the last out of the fourth inning, followed Brown with a single, putting a runner in scoring position for Ryan Merrill. The Frogs’ short stop came through with an RBI double, and after Wanny popped up to short, Wade was intentionally walked after getting ahead 3-0. That brought up Cam Warner, the RBI leader for TCU, and on the second pitch he saw, Warner blasted a ball off the scoreboard in right for a grand slam - the second of the week for the Frogs - giving them an 11-2 lead.

Brian Howard came back out for the bottom of the fifth, and settled in nicely for the next two frames, retiring the side in order both innings. He would finish the day with six innings pitched, surrendering two runs on four hits, a pair of walks, a pair of hit batters, and striking out five. With the ‘get-away day’ run rule in effect, TCU pushed run number 12 across in the top of the seventh, on back to back singles by Wanny and Wade and an RBI sac fly by Skoug. The Frogs could have closed things out by keeping K State off the board in the bottom of the inning, but Ryan Burnett gave up three singles and the Cats scored a pair to keep the game alive and make it 12-4 through seven.

Cal Coughlin replaced Burnett in the eighth, after getting two quick outs, he surrendered a single and walked a batter to give KSU a chance. But with two on, he fought back to get a strikeout to end the frame and send the game to the ninth. TCU went in order in their half of the last inning, leaving it up to Austin Boyles to finish things off. Boyles started the bottom of the ninth with a strikeout, and after a groundout to third, surrendered a two out single. But he fought back to get Rolette looking and seal the game for the road team.

The Frogs were led by Cam Warner, who was 2-5 with five RBI and a pair of runs scored. Luken Baker and Ryan Merrill had two RBI days of their own, and all but late inning sub Michael Landestoy had at least one hit on a 15 hit day for TCU overall. The Frogs worked four walks, were hit by one pitch, and the best news: they struck out only once. It was one of the more complete and dominant offensive performances of the season for a lineup that was expected to do much more of this. Meanwhile, TCU pitchers had 11 Ks verses only three walks and 2 HBP, allowing four runs on eight hits, It was a weekend dominated by the visiting team, as they ran their record to 8-1 in Big 12 play and 22-5 overall. TCU will travel to UT Arlington Tuesday before welcoming in Murray State this weekend at home for a mid-season non-conference three game set. If they keep hitting and pitching the way they did this weekend, it could be another great week for Schloss’ squad back in DFW.