TCU baseball used solid hitting and a quality outing from Russell Smith to knock off Minnesota 11-2 on Monday afternoon, taking the series from the Gophers and improving to 6-1 on the season.
Smith went five innings, striking out five and allowing just two earned runs on the day. He needed just 60 pitches to get through five innings. On the day, TCU pitchers needed just 94 pitches to dispose of Minnesota, while the Gophers needed 240 to get to the end of the game.
Conner Shepherd had a fantastic day at the plate, notching his second home run of the season in the second inning, driving in a run in the third, and recording the 100th hit of his career - an RBI double in the sixth inning for TCU’s 11th and final run of the day.
Zach Humphreys also gave Minnesota trouble all day, driving in three runs on two doubles and scoring twice himself.
Shepherd’s home run in the second got the scoring started for the Frogs, and Porter Brown drove in TCU’s second run of the inning on an absolute rope of a double to left center, scoring Phillip Sikes.
Humphreys helped TCU break the game open in the third with his first RBI double of the day, driving home Austin Henry and Gene Wood to give TCU a 4-0 lead. One batter later Shepherd singled Humphreys home.
Minnesota hit solo home runs in the fourth and fifth innings to cut into TCU’s lead, but the Frogs responded with a huge six-run sixth inning to put the game away. Hunter Wolfe, Humphreys and Shepherd all drove in runs in the inning, while Austin Henry’s speed prevented a double-play, allowing a run to come across as well.
Meanwhile, TCU’s bullpen put together four scoreless innings of work to relieve Smith. Drew Hill, Austin Krob, and Harrison Beethe needed just 34 combined pitches to get through the end of the game, while Krob needed just six pitches to get through the 8th inning, and Beethe needed just eight pitches to get through the 9th.
It was an all-around dominant performance to end the series on a high note for the Frogs, who outscored Minnesota 29-9 on the weekend. Minnesota is projected to be a top team in the Big 10, so this series win should be considered as impressive as TCU’s sweep of Kentucky to open the season.
Sitting at 6-1 now, TCU heads back to Fort Worth to host Stephen F. Austin on Wednesday night at 6:30pm.