After a disappointing performance Friday night, one that saw TCU commit three errors in a single inning and four altogether, the Horned Frogs looked much more like the team we have come to see to this point in the season Saturday.
Behind Austin Krob, TCU Baseball went up early and cruised to a 13-4 victory over the Ragin Cajuns,
The Frogs started the game strong, scoring two in the first despite collecting just one hit. Porter Brown, starting in left field with Luke Boyers still out of the lineup, walked and stole second, scoring when Zach Humphreys’ grounder to third was thrown away. Humphreys was able to take second on the error and scored himself thanks to a Conner Shepherd single.
Neither team would score over the next two innings as both pitchers — Austin Krob for TCU and relief pitcher Austin Perrin for Louisiana — kept the offenses at bay with some excellent pitching. But the Cajuns got to Krob in the fourth, taking advantage of two straight walks and a hit by pitch by Krob to get in scoring position. After throwing out Alex Hannie, who took a full count walk to start the fourth, Krob allowed Conn Kimple and Ben Fitzgerald to reach via free pass. That set up Drake Osborne for an RBI single, giving Louisiana their first hit and first run of the day and cutting the Horned Frogs’ lead to 2-1.
After neither team did much in the fifth, TCU got the run back and more in the sixth, exploding for a three run frame. Brayden Taylor struck first, launching a no-doubter over the right field fence for his third home run of the season and giving the Frogs a little breathing room. Gene Wood would provide even more; after Humphreys struck out, Perrin allowed a base hit to Shepherd and walked Phillip Sikes, setting up Gene Wood with two on and two out. Wood, who has struggled at the plate this season, delivered a huge hit, tripling to right center on the first pitch of the at-bat to make it a 5-1 ball game.
Meanwhile, Krob kept dealing.
The Horned Frogs came into the season 6-0 when their starting pitcher goes at least five innings and 5-1 on Saturdays, a trend Krob continued with his strong performance. The sophomore allowed just two hits while striking out nine through 6.0 innings, and though he did walk three batters, he was in control the entire time he was on the mound. The normally stoic lefty even showed some emotion, letting loose a big yell after battling back against Hannie to strike him out in the top of the sixth after falling behind 3-0. Krob put the leadoff runner in the second and fifth innings but struck out the first batter he faced in the third, fifth, and sixth. He also retired the side in order in the first, second, and fifth, part of a dominant and efficient performance that saw him throw just 92 pitches despite the nine Ks — 64 of which were for strikes.
The Frogs added a run in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with three straight walks to Gray Rodgers, Elijah Nunez (his college baseball leading 21st this season), and Porter Brown. A Zach Humphreys groundout, aided by a good slide by Porter Brown to breakup the double play, made it 6-1. Shepherd walked one batter later, and Sikes walked in a run when he was hit on the elbow padding by the first pitch he saw. With the bases loaded once again, Wood delivered once again. After missing a grand slam by just inches, Wood put one on the ground through the right side for a two RBI base hit, giving him four runs batted in on the day and making it 9-1 as the game hit the seventh inning stretch.
Marcelo Perez replaced Krob in the seventh and struck out three batters around a leadoff double and a walk. TCU loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, with Rodgers leading off with a walk, Elijah Nunez getting his first hit of the series and breaking a 1-13 slump, and Hunter Wolfe singling after coming in as a defensive replacement in the bottom of the seventh. Taylor picked up an RBI on a sac fly and then Zach Humphreys turned on a fastball, sending it deep over the left field wall for a three run home run to make it 13-1 good guys.
Perez, returning from COVID protocols, struggled in the eighth, allowing a walk, a single, and a three run home run to right. Perez exited having allowed three runs on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks and he continues to try and round himself back to form after his absence. Augie Mihlbauer replaced him, after a hard-earned base hit against the shift, retired the final batter of the inning via strikeout.
Austin Henry led off the ninth with a base hit, but things were quiet from there: the most exciting part was Louisiana pitcher Peyton Havard, who is listed at 6’, 251 and looks like Ham Porter, talking trash to Gray Rodgers as he tagged him out on a ground ball down the first base line.
Garrett Wright relieved Mihlbauer in for the ninth, allowing a base hit after two quick outs but ending the game with a swinging K.
The TCU offense was led by Humphreys and Wood, each of whom plated four runs on two hits. TCU had just 10 hits on the day, but took advantage of nine free bases (eight walks and a HBP) and a Louisiana error to score their 13 runs. They will look for the series win tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00pm.