Charles King looked like the guy who was TCU Baseball’s best (or at least most consistent) pitcher through much of 2019, pitching six full innings of one run ball while allowing just three hits, striking out two, and walking none. The senior was a little shaky early on in his first start of the season, needing 44 pitches to get through the first two innings, but settled in nicely late to keep the Frogs in the ball game.
TCU’s early error helped Kentucky get on the board and allowing the Wildcats to take their first lead of the series, but a slough of sloppiness by the Wildcats in the third inning allowed the Frogs to tie it up, and the offense kicked into gear in the seventh to put the Cats away. Center fielder Phillip Sikes got things going with a one-out walk, and with two outs, turned a bad pickoff attempt into two free bases, advancing all the way to third. He would score a batter later, when Tommy Sacco’s ground ball was fielded by the Cats’ short stop, who airmailed the throw to first.
The game would stay knotted at one for the next several innings, as both King and Kentucky’s Mason Hazelwood kept any threats at bay. But the TCU offense kept pressing, and finally got to UK pitching in the seventh.
After Austin Krob relieved King for his TCU debut and limited the Wildcats to just one hit, the Frogs attacked the Kentucky bullpen for five runs on four hits, and benefitted from another defensive miscue by the Cats. Freshman catcher Kurtis Byrne drew a walk and was replaced on the bases by senior catcher Zach Humphreys, who made Schloss look smart by going first to home on a Gray Rodgers double to right center. Sikes put runners on the corners with a single, and Porter Brown loaded the bags by drawing a walk. With one out, senior first baseman Austin Henry singled home two, giving the Frogs a 4-1 lead. It would be more than enough, but they weren’t done yet.
After Gene Wood struck out, Wolfe doubled with two down, emptying the bases and making it a 6-1 ball game. TCU added one more in the eighth when Brown singled home Rodgers, who knocked a one-out double to right center.
Krob pitched two scoreless frames and freshman Jacob Meador closed things out in the ninth, working around a hit and a walk to end the game with a 7-1 score.
The Frogs will look for a Sweep Sunday tomorrow, with Russell Smith scheduled to make his return after missing all of 2019 with an injury. First pitch is scheduled for 12:30pm.
• TCU did not allow an earned run in the contest.
• TCU improved to 5-for-5 in stolen bases with Hunter Wolfe’s steal in the second inning.
• Kurtis Byrne made his first career start.
• Austin Krob and Jacob Meador made their TCU debuts on the mound.
• Austin Henry tallied his 12th career multi-RBI game.
• Hunter Wolfe collected his 14th career multi-hit game and his eight career multi-RBI contest.
• Gray Rodgers tallied his first career multi-hit game, tallying two doubles in the game.
• Phillip Sikes notched his first career multi-hit game.
• Porter Brown tallied his first career outfield assist.