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TCU Baseball 10, Kansas 3: Johnny Ray’s gem leads to another Big 12 series win

The Horned Frogs continue to pound Kansas pitching, scoring in double digits for the second straight game.

Elijah Nunez reacts after scoring a run in the third inning of Saturday’s 10-3 win over Kansas.
Melissa Triebwasser

Johnny Ray got himself in some trouble, Saturday, allowing a solo shot in the third and loading the bases in the fifth — an inning in which Kansas cut a four run TCU lead to just two. But, with Sunday’s starter still TBA, Schlossnagle did something he doesn’t do often: he left his starter in and let him work through his struggles.

Ray didn’t disappoint him.

Johnny went eight innings in the win, the second straight game a TCU starter has done so, a welcome sight after a couple of up and down weekends from the rotation. And, much like Austin Krob, Ray got plenty of run support from a Horned Frog offense that continues to roll.

The Frogs scored first once again Saturday, manufacturing two runs on four hits in the second, with Hunter Wolfe collecting an RBI on a double and Luke Boyers singling home the second. TCU added two more in the third after Kansas cut the lead in half in the top of the inning, with Elijah Nunez leading off an inning for the second time with a base hit, Zach Humphreys reaching safely on an error, and Gene Wood and Wolfe providing the run scoring hit and sac fly respectively. Phillip Sikes made it 5-1 with a solo shot to lead off the fourth, his third home run of the weekend and seventh of the season.

That’s when Ray got himself in a bit of a jam.

A one out single was followed by a two out walk, and on the next pitch, Ray hit a batter to load the bases. Maui Ahuna singled to right to bring in two runs for the Jayhawks, but the inning ended with a runner being thrown out at third on the play, preventing further damage.

A bunt single by Zach Humphreys led off the bottom of the inning, and the Frogs catcher would come around to score after a walk, a sacrifice, and a Gray Rodgers single, giving the Frogs a three run cushion.

It was almost surprising to see Ray come back out for the sixth — to say Jim Schlossnagle has had a quick hook with his pitchers this season would be a bit of an understatement. But Ray rewarded his skipper’s faith by retiring nine of the next ten batters he faced, including nine straight. He finished the day with a line of 8.0 innings pitched, three runs allowed on six hits, and eight strikeouts — including striking out the side in the seventh.

The Frogs added a run in the fourth, fifth, and sixth before striking for two in the seventh, and closed out their ten run day with one more in the eighth. The seventh was highlighted by three of the Frogs four doubles on the day, while the eighth saw Brayden Taylor collect his first hit of the day, a triple, and score the Frogs final run on a Humphrey’s steal.

Jacob Meador took over on the mound in the ninth, allowing only an infield single to help close out the 10-3 victory. Sikes led the Frogs with three hits and two RBI, while Nunez, Humphreys, Wood, and Wolfe had two hits apiece. Amongst the Frogs’ 15 hits were four doubles, a triple, and a home run, as they continue to absolutely hammer Kansas pitching this weekend.

TCU will look to sweep the Jayhawks tomorrow, with first pitch set for 12:00pm. The starter is to be announced, with Russell Smith ruled out for the weekend as he corrects mechanical issues.