The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Though there’s a new skipper in town, the Cardiac Frogs never left, as TCU Baseball needed a ninth inning rally to overcome the Aztecs in their season opening winner over San Diego State.
TCU struck first, scoring a run in the first inning when freshman first baseman David Bishop notched his first career hit and first career RBI, driving in Brayden Taylor who opened his season with a double. The Frogs wouldn’t get another hit until the sixth inning, though, as the Aztecs’ pitching staff was dealing.
Thankfully, so were the Horned Frogs.
Austin Krob struggled a little in his first appearance of the season, throwing 82 pitches in just four innings of work but holding the Aztecs scoreless while allowing just four hits and striking out seven. Angie Mihlbauer struck out two of the four batters he faced, but was charged with an unearned run thanks to a fielding error. Marcelo Perez was nails across two frames, pitching two perfect 1-2-3 frames after SDSU struck for three runs in the sixth, and making way for River Ridings to collect his first save of the season and second of his career as he allowed just a dribbler of an infield single in the ninth. It was not the best appearance of Luke Savage’s career, as the sophomore allowed two runs on one hit with a walk and a wild pitch. But thankfully, his teammates were there to pick him up.
Though the Frogs loaded the bases without a hit in the second, they rarely threatened offensively again until the sixth, forcing a run across on a Kurtis Byrne double (the catcher was an early injury replacement for Michael Petrie, who had gotten the nod to start the game behind the plate). Things were quiet again until the ninth, but clutch hitting overcame the struggles when it mattered most. Freshman Logan Maxwell walked, and took second on Elijah Nunez’s 0-2 single. After Luke Boyers flew out, Brayden Taylor did Brayden Taylor things, ripping a double to right to tie the game at 3 in the final frame. That brought up Bishop, the freshman who had been impressing folks all fall, and for the second time of the night, the rookie delivered:
TCU added a little insurance when a pair of wild pitches pushed a fifth run across, and River Ridings handled his business in the bottom half of the inning to ensure the win.
Though it’s easy to look at the way Friday played out and think maybe things should have come a little easier for TCU in their opener, at the end of the day their best players made big plays and the young guns delivered. Seeing guys like Byrne step up when the opportunity came as well as the highly touted freshmen — Bishop and Maxwell — make big plays is a great sign for the future. And as many said on social media, there was something special about the energy of the team down the stretch that made us feel some Lupton Magic, even on the road.
Next up is a matchup with Cal, who beat Houston earlier Friday afternoon. Riley Cornelio will make his debut as a member of the weekend rotation as TCU looks to go 2-0 in the desert, and get Kirk Saarloos his second win as skipper. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00pm.