The Frogs earned their first series sweep of the season at the most opportune time, dispatching Kansas State Sunday in shutout fashion by a final of 6-0.
Things started auspiciously for the Wildcats, as they allowed three first inning runs without surrendering a hit. K State starter Justin Heskett walked three batters in the bottom of the first and the Cats’ defense committed two errors as the Frogs jumped out to a 3-0 lead despite not getting a hit out of their offense. Heskett settled in from there, as he didn’t walk another batter over 6.0 innings and allowed just three hits while striking out two. But his improved performance wouldn’t matter, as Sean Wymer was absolutely dominant on the other side.
Wymer, who had struggled in his first few starts of the season, seemed to turn a corner in his last appearance, though it came out of the pen. He kept that fire going Sunday, though, as he impressed the legion of scouts on hand to watch his start by mixing his pitches and hitting the mid-90s on the gun. Wymer held the Cats hitless through the first three frames, set a career high in innings pitched (7.2) and tied a career high with nine strikeouts. He kept the Kansas State hitters off balance all game, and it wasn’t until the eighth inning that the Cats managed more than one player on base.
As has been a habit all series, the Frogs’ offense took advantage of a pitching change to see their bats come alive. This time, it was in the seventh, as TCU added three runs on three hits and got some help from more sloppy KSU defense. Adam Oviedo led off the inning with a single to second base, and Conner Shepherd followed with a bunt single to third. Both were plays that could have been made by the defense, but both were ruled hits. After Coby Boulware struck out, Connor Wanhanen worked a full count walk to load the bases, brining up Zach Humphreys. Humphreys came through with a double down the left field line to clear the bags and give the Frogs a 6-0 lead that would prove more than enough.
Wymer got in a little trouble in the eighth, leading to Augie Mihlbauer coming on in relief. He got the one out the Frogs needed before giving way to Durbin Feltman in the top of the ninth in a non-save situation. Feltman, who hasn’t had a ton of work this season, will likely be needed for save situations in multiple games during Big 12 play, so it was imperative to get him used to that routine. But he struggled with a big lead in his back pocket, walking the first batter he faced and surrendering a single to the second. But, after a visit from pitching coach Kirk Saarloos, Feltman found his groove, striking out the next two hitters and getting a fly out to center to secure the win.
Though the Frogs didn’t light up the scoreboard offensively with just six hits on the day, they drew six walks and struck out just four times. Adam Oviedo and Conner Shepherd each had two hits - for Shep, that culminated a 6-12 weekend that saw him raise his batting average significantly. Shepherd starred with two home runs and two RBI, in addition to scoring four times.
The win was the Frogs’ first shutout of the season, and provided a much-needed sweep to start off the always competitive Big 12 season. The 3-0 conference mark puts the Frogs atop the conference at the very start of league play, but these are the types of games - and series - TCU absolutely have to win at home if they want to earn back to back conference titles.
TCU will welcome in Dallas Baptist on Tuesday, weather permitting, before traveling to Oklahoma State for a three game set next weekend.