Survive and advance!
Back-to-back 6th inning home runs from Brayden Taylor and Kurtis Byrne on two consecutive pitches propelled TCU Baseball to a 3-1 win over Oral Roberts this afternoon.
With the win, the Frogs advance to the next stage of the College Station regional, where they’ll face the loser of tonight’s A&M vs Louisiana matchup.
It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest win, but stellar performances from Marcelo Perez and Garrett Wright on the mound were exactly what the Frogs needed.
Perez finished the game with 5 strikeouts, just 1 walk, and a 61.6% strike rate. He got into a couple jams but always seemed to find his way out.
The scariest situation though came in the 5th inning, which is partly why Perez was pulled. After two singles and a walk, the Golden Eagles had the bases loaded. Caleb Bolden came on to relieve him, but ended up costing Perez an earned run.
The only Oral Roberts run of the game came by a wild pitch by Bolden, sound familiar? Not that Bolden in particular struggles with this, but that’s now 3 runs scored on 3 wild throws in the last two games for the Frogs. Eventually, he got out of the jam and moved on to the 6th.
Perez and Bolden make up less than half the TCU pitchers used in today’s game, as Brett Walker, Augie Mihlbauer, and Garrett Wright all saw the mound as well.
Brett Walker, a usual starter rather than a reliever, took the mound for a less-than-exciting 6-pitch outing. In those 6 pitches, he gave up back-to-back singles putting the Frogs in another jam. Mihlbauer also had a short stint, as he relieved Walker only to throw 4 pitches, though those 4 pitches got the Frogs a much-needed strikeout.
Garrett Wright was brought on for Mihlbauer for the last out of the 7th and would go on to finish the game for the Frogs. He was fantastic.
Wright finished the game with 4 strikeouts on just 11 batters faced, shutting down any hope the Golden Eagles had for a rally.
Although the pitching was what likely won the Frogs the game today, Kurtis Byrne made A LOT of plays behind home plate that may have gone unnoticed. Even ORU head coach Ryan Folmar pointed out Byrne’s excellence:
“One of the big differences in the game for me was their [TCU] catcher,” said Folmar. “There had to be 12, 14 balls in the dirt that were not routine or easy blocks, and man that guy made every one of ‘em. Byrne behind home plate was some kind of special today.”
All in all, it was a slow offensive day for the Frogs. They finished 5 for 31 as a team from the plate, and not a single Frog had a multi-hit game. Of course, Brayden Taylor and Kurtis Byrne led the way with a solo home run each, but the Frogs will need a bit more firepower if they want to make it out of this regional.
Tomorrow is a big day for Frogball. TCU is set to take on the loser of Texas A&M vs Louisiana in a win-or-go-home scenario tomorrow at 1 pm. If all goes well, the Frogs will then have a double header to face the winner of the previously mentioned game at 7 pm. The games will be broadcast live on ESPN+.