Frogball returned over past weekend, when TCU battled SEC rivals Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Missouri in the 2023 College Baseball Showdown at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The No. 15 ranked Horned Frogs opened the season on a high note, securing victories over the No. 10 ranked Commodores and the No. 8 ranked Razorbacks before bowing out with an extra-inning loss against the Tigers to conclude the series with a 2-1 record.
Friday: TCU 11, Vanderbilt 4
Right-hander Ryan Vanderhei took the ball for the Horned Frogs to start the season opener, throwing five innings while striking out three batters and allowing only two hits. Right-hander Luke Savage entered in relief and closed out the game to earn the victory, striking out two batters and allowing only one run over three and one-third innings. The TCU offense opened the season with a 12-hit performance, while the defense finished with zero errors.
Vanderbilt held a 3-2 lead entering the bottom of the sixth inning, where TCU exploded for five runs to surge ahead of the Commodores. Left fielder Luke Boyers and second baseman Tre Richardson each singled before right fielder Austin Davis drew a two-out walk to load the bases. With the Horned Frogs needing a clutch at-bat, center fielder Elijah Nunez belted a three-run double to give TCU a 5-3 advantage. Third baseman Brayden Taylor stepped in and crushed a two-run home run in the next at-bat to move the Horned Frogs ahead 7-3.
All-American third baseman Brayden Taylor follows that up with an absolute mammoth shot on an 84 mph slider over the wall in RF to make it 7-3, @TCU_Baseball. Taylor's home run landed about 10-15 rows up in the right field seats. Bomb. #MLBDraft— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) February 17, 2023
TCU added four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, where freshman shortstop Anthony Silva slapped a two-run double before RBI singles from Davis and Nunez gave the Horned Frogs a seven-run lead. Nunez went 3-for-5 with four RBIs, while Taylor went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and Richardson went 2-for-4 with one RBI. Davis reached base three times.
Saturday: TCU 18, Arkansas 6
While right-hander Cam Brown struggled in his season debut on the mound, TCU saw freshman Kole Klecker shine with four and one-third innings of relief, striking out six batters without allowing an earned run. Left-handed freshman Ben Abeldt added two innings of shutout relief and two strikeouts for the Horned Frogs, who scored four runs in both the sixth and ninth innings to secure their win over the Razorbacks. Two players including Silva and Davis, who homered and went 3-for-6, finished with three RBIs to lead the offense.
— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) February 20, 2023
Congrats to Austin Davis, who made an immediate impact in his TCU debut! Davis drove in a run in all three games and hit .583 with a double, home run and three stolen bases on the weekend.#FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/i6Q9hoGY5E
Five players including Nunez and Boyers as well as first baseman David Bishop, catcher Kurtis Byrne and designated hitter Cole Fontenelle totaled two RBIs. The Horned Frogs showcased their speed on the basepaths, stealing five bases with only one runner caught stealing. TCU and Arkansas were tied at 4-4 entering the top of the fifth inning, where an RBI single from Fontenelle and a bases-loaded walk from Silva gave the Horned Frogs a two-run lead. TCU added four runs in the top of the sixth inning, where a pair of sacrifice flies from Fontenelle and Richardson helped the Horned Frogs surge ahead 10-4.
Davis homered in the top of the seventh inning before adding a two-run double in the top of the eighth inning, where the West Virginia transfer scored on an infield single from Nunez to give the Horned Frogs a 14-5 lead. TCU iced the victory over Arkansas with a four-run ninth inning, which featured a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch by Byrne.
Sunday: Missouri 9, TCU 8
California transfer Sam Stoutenborough started the series finale for the Horned Frogs, striking out seven batters over four innings with three runs allowed. Despite leading 6-2 after four innings, TCU was unable to hold off the Tigers, who rallied for six runs over the final five innings to tie the score and take the lead entering the bottom of the ninth inning. Right-hander Garrett Wright struggled in relief for the Horned Frogs, walking three batters and throwing two wild pitches while allowing consecutive RBI singles in the ninth inning.
One of the things @kirk_saarloos talked a lot about in the fall with me was David Bishop's increased strength. Well, he showed some of that off just now with a smashed two-run double into LCF on an 82 mph slider from Will McEntire. @TCU_Baseball leads Arkansas, 2-0, early.— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) February 19, 2023
TCU extended the game after Bishop delivered a two-out, two-run single through the left side of the infield in the bottom of the ninth inning. Missouri answered with one run in the top of the 10th inning, where a throwing error from freshman catcher Karson Bowen allowed the Tigers to take the 9-8 lead. TCU finished with four defensive errors in the loss. Bishop went 2-for-5 with four RBIs to lead the offense, while Davis went 3-for-4 with one RBI.