TCU baseball turned in another strong series at an MLB ballpark over the weekend, earning shutout victories against Michigan and Rice while falling one run short against Louisville to finish 2-1 over three games at the 2023 Shriners Children’s College Classic at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Horned Frogs (7-4) are currently No. 10 in the D1 Baseball rankings.
Friday: TCU 6, Michigan 0
Ryan Vanderhei took the ball to open the series for the Horned Frogs, recording his third consecutive quality start of the season. The former Kansas transfer struck out eight batters and notched his first win as a TCU athlete, allowing only one earned run on three hits and one walk. Outfielders Austin Davis and Cole Fontenelle each blasted home runs to spark the TCU offense, with Davis crushing a solo shot to left field in the fourth inning and Fontenelle adding a two-run bomb to give the Horned Frogs a 3-0 lead in the seventh inning.
TCU iced the win over the Wolverines with a three-run eighth inning, where RBI groundouts from catcher Kurtis Byrne and second baseman Tre Richardson set up an RBI single from first baseman David Bishop. Right-hander Luke Savage threw the final three innings and recorded the save, striking out one batters and allowing no runs and only one hit. Bishop went 2-for-4 and Davis scored two runs to propel the Horned Frog offense in the victory.
Saturday: Louisville 3, TCU 2
TCU saw three freshmen take the mound against the Cardinals, with right-hander Kole Klecker earning his first start of the season. Klecker tossed four innings, striking out three batters and allowing two runs despite conceding nine hits. Left-hander Chase Hoover relieved Klecker and fired four consecutive shutout frames, allowing just two hits. The final frame went to left-hander Ben Abeldt, who escaped a bases-loaded jam after allowing two hits and one walk to emerge from the ninth inning without allowing a run.
Freshman catcher Karson Bowen drew a start and launched his first collegiate home run in the eighth inning, crushing a two-run shot to bring the Horned Frogs within one of the Cardinals. Louisville opened the game with a 3-0 lead, hitting a two-run homer in the third inning and scoring one run on a double and an error in the fourth inning. TCU finished with four hits in the loss, with one coming from center fielder Elijah Nunez, who made his return to the lineup earlier in the week after being cleared from concussion protocol.
Sunday: TCU 7, Rice 0
Right-hander Cam Brown was dominant on Sunday, firing seven innings of shutout baseball while striking out eight batters and allowing only three hits to earn the victory. Freshman right-hander Louis Rodriguez continued a blazing start to the season as well, closing the game with two straight innings of shutout relief and two strikeouts. Brown was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and Rodriguez was named Big 12 Co-Newcomer of the Week.
Reserve infielder Brody Green enjoyed a breakout start for the Horned Frogs, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBIs after slapping a two-run double in the eighth inning. Outfielder Luke Boyers has struggled mightily to open the season, but the junior smashed a three-run homer in the second inning to give TCU an early lead. Boyers also drew two walks in the victory. Bowen and Richardson each added one RBI for the Horned Frogs, who compiled nine total hits.