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Don’t call it a comeback! TCU Baseball exorcises demons, beats K State in walk off win, 7-6

Phillip Sikes’ game winner may well have saved the Horned Frogs season.

TCU Baseball at UTA (4.27.21)
Phillip Sikes was money when his team needed him most.
Melissa Triebwasser

It felt a little like April Wednesday, when Hunter Wolfe and Phillip Sikes played the hero in TCU Baseball’s walk off win against Kansas State in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament Wednesday afternoon.

For an offense, and a program, that has struggled over the last month, getting this win in dramatic fashion could well serve to exercise some demons and hopefully get a team with Omaha aspirations right before the real postseason begins.

Now, TCU will get an opportunity to defeat Texas Tech, with the winner being a front runner for a national seed and the loser in danger of falling out of the top ten.

But before we get there, let’s appreciate how we got here: on the backs of the Horned Frogs’ best players.

Jim Schlossnagle made an — let’s call it unusual — decision to start Jacob Meador, a COVID freshman who has been used sparingly throughout the season. Meador struggled early, allowing four runs in the first inning, and was lifted after five runs across two frames.

But the bullpen came through, and that, along with an aggressive offense, enabled the team to stay in — and eventually win — the game.

The Frogs picked up two in the first as Humphreys and Taylor singled and Wolfe brought them both home with a bases clearing double. Humphreys cut the lead to 5-3 with a base hit in the second that scored Porter Brown, and after the Cats got to six, TCU tied the game at that number with a three run sixth with Porter Brown and Zach Humphreys providing the bug sticks.

After Garrett Wright solidified the last few innings, Hunter Wolfe doubled to lead off the ninth, Conner Shepherd hit a sac fly to get him 90’ away, and Phillip Sikes delivered the game winning base hit.

Hump was huge Wednesday, going 3-4 with three RBI and a triple, and Hunter Wolfe added two batted in as well. Now the Frogs get Texas Tech, while still having Russell Smith and Austin Krob available to start and Haylen Green rested out of the pen. Both the red Raiders and Horned Frogs are vying for a national seed, and the winner of Thursday’s game will certainly have the inside track.

The name of the game is survive and advance: that’s TCU Baseball’s job Thursday.