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TCU Baseball Series Recap: UNC-Wilmington

The Horned Frogs lose their nonconference series against the Seahawks over the weekend.


TCU baseball took a step backward after a strong series against Oklahoma State last weekend, losing a nonconference set with the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks after the team earned its way back into the top-25 rankings. Starting pitching woes continued for the Horned Frogs (22-14, 7-5 Big 12), who saw veteran right-handers Ryan Vanderhei and Cam Brown struggle on the mound once again. TCU will host Lamar for its midweek matchup on Tuesday before traveling for a Big 12 series at West Virginia beginning Friday evening.

Friday: UNC-Wilmington 14, TCU 6

One week after being removed from the weekend rotation for freshman left-hander Chase Hoover, Vanderhei took the ball for the start on Friday, but the former Kansas transfer was inconsistent once again, lasting only four and one-third innings with five runs and two walks allowed. Sam Stoutenborough, who had been pitching very well over his last several outings, also struggled on Friday evening, conceding six runs on seven hits over three and one-third innings despite striking out five batters. Veteran left-hander River Ridings didn’t fare much better, allowing two earned runs and recording only two outs in the loss.

Cole Fontenelle and freshman catcher Karson Bowen each recorded two-hit games for the Horned Frogs, while Tre Richardson led the offense with two RBIs. TCU held a 4-2 lead before allowing four runs in the top of the fifth inning and giving away seven runs in the top of the eighth inning. The Seahawks finished with 17 hits and two defensive errors, while the Horned Frogs were held to seven hits in the loss. Elijah Nunez doubled and added one RBI for TCU, while freshman Anthony Silva and lead-off man Luke Boyers each drew two walks.

Saturday: TCU 17, UNC-Wilmington 5

The Horned Frogs evened the series with a dominant offensive showing on Saturday, compiling 14 hits while six different players recorded at least two RBIs. TCU also drew seven walks in the win and held a 5-2 lead over the Seahawks before exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Brayden Taylor, Cole Fontenelle and catcher Kurtis Byrne all launched home runs for the Horned Frogs, who saw five different players steal one base.

Freshman Kole Klecker improved to 7-2 on the season, throwing six innings and allowing only one hit while striking out two batters. Klecker now holds a 3.42 ERA this year. Taylor went 2-for-3 with four runs, two walks and three RBIs to lead the TCU offense in the win. Silva walked twice and added three RBIs, while Tre Richardson went 3-for-5 and four players including Fontenelle, Byrne, Karson Bowen and Elijah Nunez finished with two RBIs.

Sunday: UNC-Wilmington 12, TCU 6

The Horned Frogs squandered a first-inning homer from Tre Richarsdon on Sunday, with Cam Brown allowing four earned runs in just one and two-thirds innings before Chase Hoover conceded three more runs over the next inning of relief. Freshman left-hander Ben Abeldt struck out four batters in three innings, but allowed three runs on four hits as UNC-Wilmington eventually built a 12-5 advantage over the Horned Frogs after six innings.

Brayden Taylor brought TCU within two runs during the bottom of the third inning, belting a grand slam for his 12th home run of the season. But the early hole proved too deep for the Horned Frogs, who saw right-hander and former UNC-Wilmington transfer Hunter Hodges toss one and one-third innings of relief against his former club, striking out two but adding two walks and one run allowed. Right-hander Garrett Wright tossed shutout frames over the eighth and ninth innings, continuing a strong recent stretch of outing. Taylor, who bombed his 13th home run this season in the bottom of the eighth inning, went 2-for-5 with five RBIs.