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Howard, Wade power Frogs to big win

TCU has won 12 games in a row, including three straight weekend sweeps.

Melissa Triebwasser

Brian Howard had a career high 11 strikeouts in just five innings of work, and Austen Wade turned in a 5-5 day as TCU sent Murray State packing early in a 13-2, seven inning win.

The Racers struck first off of Brian Howard, scoring a first inning run on the power of a leadoff walk, steal, error, and single. But TCU tied things up in the bottom half of the frame, as Skoug singled home Wade - who led off the game with a double - to knot things up at a run a piece. Howard walked the leadoff man once again in the second, but struck out a pair and got a ground out to end it, then got all the run support he would need a half inning later. TCU opened things up with another leadoff hit, this one a single by Elliott Barzilli. Barz went first to third on a Zach Humphreys single, and Mason Hesse brought them both around with a double to give the Frogs their first lead of the game. Wade followed up with his second hit of the day, moving Hesse to third and advancing to second himself on the relay in. Hesse scored a batter later on Cam Warner’s base knock to center, and the Frogs had a four spot and a 5-1 lead.

Things were quiet until the bottom of the fourth, when the Frogs added an insurance run. Wade had another single to put the leadoff man on once again for TCU, and matriculated to third by way of a poor throw on Warner’s fielder’s choice. Skoug singled a batter later to give the Frogs a 6-1 advantage through four. But the Racers struck back in the top of the fifth with back to back hits to tighten things up at 6-2.

The Frogs stretched their lead in the bottom of the fifth though, striking for four runs on five hits in the frame. Brown singled and stole second to start things off, advancing to third on Barzilli’s single to right. A four pitch walk to Zach Humphreys loaded the bases, and after Hesse struck out, back to back singles by Wade and Warner plated a pair. Skoug went down swinging a batter later, but Luken Baker came through with a two RBI single to stretch the lead to 11-2 TCU.

Trey Morris took the mound for TCU in the top of the sixth and held serve, recovering from hitting the first batter he faced to retire the side in order, with help from a Humphreys throw out on a steal attempt. With the mercy rule in play, the Frogs needed two in the bottom of the frame, and they did one better, scoring three runs off of three hits, with Wade’s two RBI single to left center being the difference maker. Cal Coughlin took the mound in the seventh, and after surrendering back to back singles, settled in to induce a double play ball and ended the game with a swinging strikeout.

Howard finished with 5.0 innings of four hit, two run ball, reaching a new career high in strikeouts with 11. He threw 96 pitches, 61 for strikes, and walked just three batters. On the other side, TCU was absolutely dominant at the plate, smashing 18 hits, including three doubles, walking five times against just five strikeouts. Wade’s 5-5, three RBI day stands out in a day that five Frogs had multi-hit games, including three each from Warner and Brown. Warner, Skoug, and Baker knocked in a pair apiece, and Mason Hesse continued to make the most of his opportunities with a three RBI day, giving him eight in his last two starts. TCU had four two-out RBIs and went 4-7 from the plate with two down. They were 19-27 when presented with the opportunity to advance a runner, and hit .563 on the day in total.

The Frogs travel across the Metroplex to take on Dallas Baptist Tuesday night, with Mitchell Traver expected to make the start. First pitch is set for 6:30, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.