Dallas Baptist is TCU Baseball’s kryptonite. College World Series Regional games, mid-week games, home, away, doesn’t matter - DBU knows how to get under the Frogs’ skin and ruin a vibe. The Frogs were on a roll, coming off consecutive top-10 series wins in conference play, and looked to keep it rolling early Tuesday night, but DBU found a way to rally and steal the victory in Fort Worth.
The teams traded runs early as TCU took the lead in the 1st with a Kurtis Byrne double after a Tommy Sacco stolen base. DBU tied it up in the 2nd with a pair of hits, but attempted a double steal with runners on 1st & 3rd. The Frogs were on to it and Sacco caught the runner at home.
TCU appeared on its way to a route after adding a pair of runs in each of the 3rd and 4th innings. In the third, Sam Thompson and Tommy Sacco crossed the plate after reaching base via a walk and error. Luke Boyers and Gray Rodgers scored in the 4th thanks to an errant throw from the DBU catcher on a steal attempt and an Elijah Nunez single.
Caedmon Parker got the start for TCU and settled in after the early run, going 4 full innings, surrendering 4 hits, 2 walks, and just the one run while setting down 4 Patriots via strikeout. After his night ended, the game became a battle of the bullpens. The Frogs were unable to even threaten extending the lead, as TCU hitters were fully shut down, getting set down in order in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings.
DBU meanwhile was able to make things difficult for TCU relievers in each opportunity, even when not scoring runs - opening the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th innings with a base runner. The Patriots pushed one run across in the 6th as Jace Grady walked, stole 2nd, and was driven home on a single.
TCU reliever Drew Hill worked into and out of a bases loaded jam in the 7th, but that didn’t end the trouble for Hill on the mound. He returned to take on the top of the 8th and the Patriot rally was on, as three consecutive hits drove in a run and TCU turned to River Ridings to stop the bleeding. He quickly got a three pitch strikeout for the first out of the inning and had his second batter in a full count, but after three foul balls, DBU Catcher Ryan Wrobleski connected for a single to reduce the TCU lead to one. Next out of the bullpen was Garrett Wright, one of the heroes of the OK State series, for a chance to end the rally. He got a first pitch pop out, but then a pair of singles drove in the tying and go-ahead runs for DBU before Wright mercifully ended the inning with a strikeout.
TCU had an excellent opportunity to take the game right back in the bottom of the 8th as a Brayden Taylor single was followed by a Kurtis Byrne hit to deep right field that somehow didn’t score Taylor or allow Byrne to extend to a double. Frogs had two on, no outs, with the tying run standing 90 feet away. Reed Spenrath worked a 2-0 count, but after some foul balls he struck out, followed by a Bobby Goodloe strikeout. Luke Boyers sent a grounder to the first baseman who nonchalantly tossed the ball to the mound as he stepped on the bag. An umpire review determined he did touch first base before releasing the ball, and TCU’s opportunity was extinguished.
Garrett Wright struck out the side in the 9th, but it was too little, too late as DBU worked around a Sam Thompson walk to escape Fort Worth with the win.
Ultimately, it was the bullpen battle that proved the difference in the game. DBU’s Bubba Hall, Peyton Sherlin, and Zane Russell tossed 5.1 scoreless innings, with 2 hits and 1 walk and 6 Ks. TCU’s Caleb Bolden, Augie Mihlbauer, Drew Hill, River Ridings, and Garrett Wright combined to allow 5 runs over 5.0 innings on 9 hits, 3 walks, and 10 Ks.
TCU drops the season series to DBU and falls to 27-14 on the season. Next up for the Frogs is a 3-game road non-conference series at Florida State. Dallas Baptist improved to 25-15 on the season and will be on the road at Illinois State for the weekend.