The Frogs had a golden opportunity to secure a series win in Sunday’s resumed game two this morning, as they entered play with a 2-1 lead and a full compliment of bullpen arms. But Coach Jim Schlossnagle appeared to be looking ahead, as he started - and stayed with a little too long - Charles King in game two.
King, who was given the start Tuesday night against SFA, was once again not particularly sharp, as he struggled to keep runners off the base paths and gave a powerful Red Raiders offense too many two-out chances. He finished his day with 3.0 innings pitched in which he allowed five runs on seven hits, walked a pair and struck out three.
Play started Saturday afternoon with Mitchell Traver facing Tech’s best starter, Steven Gingery. Gingery was solid, going 3.0 innings or three hit ball, two walk ball, though he did allow two runs - though only one was earned. His five strikeouts did not bode well for the Frogs, but they had momentum going into the rain delay with a 2-1 lead, off the strength of a Luken Baker solo shot and some chippy-ness an inning later. Baker, who has a habit of breaking Red Raider hearts, was a little too enthusiastic for Tech in flipping his bat after his bomb, and took a pitch in the pec an inning later in what appeared to be retaliation after Evan Skoug singled - and in fact, Skoug was plunked on the throw to first once he reached base safely. The hit by pitch moved Skoug into scoring position, and he would touch home plate on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error during Josh Watson’s bat, giving the Frogs a 2-1 lead.
Mitchell Traver was finding his groove about that time; though he likely wouldn’t have gone more than four innings, he was really settling in as he hit his third frame of work on a day where he went 2.2 innings, allowing just a single hit while striking out three, though the five walks allowed were concerning.
Once the rain became too heavy to allow play to continue on Tech’s terrible turf field, the game was called, ending the series for Traver and Gingery. As the game restarted Sunday, Tech sent Kilian to the mound while the Frogs turned to King. The Red Raiders tied things up in fourth on a pair of singles and a wild pitch, but Schloss stuck with King, hoping to keep his bullpen intact. TCU pounced back in the top of the fifth, as the top of the lineup came through. Austen Wade opened up the frame with a single, and Cam Warner followed with a walk. Skoug’s single brought Wade around, and a sac fly by Luken Baker gave the lead back to the Frogs. It wouldn’t last long.
King continued to put runners on, but it didn’t really hurt him until the sixth, when Tech put up a three spot on a big blast. A one out single put the tying run on, but it was King’s two out walk to Jung that set up the trouble, as Klein put one up in the jet stream and over the wall to give the home team a 6-4 advantage. A two out single by Hunter Hargrove ended his day, as Schloss and Saarloos were forced to go to Sean Wymer, thus eliminating their best bullpen arm from the rubber match.
The seventh passed uneventfully for both teams; though the Frogs were able to put two runners on, they couldn’t move them past second base. TCU went in order in the top of the eighth, and Wymer set down the Red Raiders 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame to counter. He finished his day with 2.1 perfect innings in which he struck out three. Maybe he should have gotten the start, but second-guessing doesn’t do any good at this point. The Frogs had the big guns due up in the top of the ninth, and it looked like they might rally in the final inning. After Barzilli hit one hard, but right at somebody (story of his season), Austen Wade and Cam Warner hit back to back singles to put the tying runs on base and sending Evan Skoug and Luken Baker up with a chance to give TCU a late lead. But Skoug went down looking on strikes and Baker lined out to end it, leaving the Frogs to fall 6-4.
Game three is scheduled for 2:00pm and will air on ESPN. TCU should come out feeling salty after letting one get away from them, and failing to put the Red Raiders away when they had the chance, leaving nine runners on base. They also shouldn’t forget their two big bats each getting plunked - one at the plate, one on the base paths - and Skoug and Baker will certainly be looking for revenge as both had an opportunity to give the Frogs the late lead and couldn’t come through. The Frogs’ lead falls to two games over both WVU and Texas Tech in the Big 12 standings, and a game three win becomes hugely important for the Frogs as such.