TCU outfielder Elijah Nunez made a potentially season-saving catch at the center-field wall on Saturday, robbing Kansas State of a near home run that clinched a one-run victory as well as a Big 12 Conference series win over the Wildcats. With several conference schools jockeying for position in the standings, TCU moved into the No. 4 seed for the Big 12 tournament, while Kansas State fell to the No. 5 seed after losing on Saturday. The Horned Frogs (33-22, 13-11 Big 12) and Wildcats will face off on Wednesday at 9 a.m. in Arlington.
@elijahnunez__ #FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/vbPoH0UG9t— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 20, 2023
Saturday: TCU 4, Kansas State 3
The Horned Frogs and Wildcats traded runs in the fourth inning, where Brayden Taylor belted a solo shot to give TCU a brief 1-0 lead before Kansas State answered with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the frame. Austin Davis pushed the Horned Frogs ahead 2-1 with a sacrifice fly of his own in the top of the fifth inning. TCU gained a 4-1 lead after freshman catcher Karson Bowen’s solo blast in the top of the eighth inning and an RBI bunt single from Davis in the top of the ninth inning.
Big fly for @BowenKarson! He leads off the eighth with his sixth home run of the season.#FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/ibNOY8ra9y— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 20, 2023
Right-hander Sam Stoutenborough earned the series-ending start for the Horned Frogs, throwing five and two-thirds innings with two strikeouts and no walks allowed. The former California transfer limited the Wildcats to five hits and only one run. Luke Savage entered in relief and slammed the door on Kansas State, firing two and one-third innings of hitless baseball with three strikeouts before conceding the mound to closer Garrett Wright. The Wildcats nearly rallied for their second walk-off win of the series, tallying two hits while scoring two runs on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The 18th trot around the bases this season for @braydentaylor02 #FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/cikGLWcULo— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 20, 2023
With his team trailing 4-3, Kansas State’s Kyan Lodice sent a deep fly ball to center field, where Nunez successfully snagged the final out of the game to secure Wright’s fourth save of the season. Stoutenborough also improved his record to 3-0 on the season.
Friday: TCU 8, Kansas State 1
The Horned Frogs dominated the second game of the series, scoring eight unanswered runs over the first seven innings. A fielder’s choice and a successful double steal in the top of the first inning gave TCU a 2-0 lead before a wild pitch allowed Tre Richardson to score in the top of the fifth inning. Cole Fontenelle followed with a solo home run in the top of the seventh inning, where the Horned Frogs tallied five runs to take an 8-0 lead. The five-run frame included a two-run double from Bowen and an RBI single from Davis.
6️⃣ no-hit innings and the win for @KleckerKole. #FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/o5o1Cw0FAW— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 20, 2023
Right-hander Kole Klecker made his case to be named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for the second straight weekend, throwing six no-hit innings with six strikeouts and four walks to earn his ninth win of the season. Cohen Feser and Ben Abeldt combined to throw the final three frames of the game, with each pitcher recording two strikeouts. Freshman shortstop Anthony Silva went 3-for-5 in the game, while three players including Bowen, Richardson and Fontenelle each totaled two hits.
Big fly for @ColeFontenelle #FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/hJ5WVLvE4o— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 20, 2023
Thursday: Kansas State 7, TCU 6
Two solo homers over the first two innings gave the Wildcats a 2-0 lead over the Horned Frogs, who tied the score after Taylor slapped a two-run single in the top of the third inning. Kansas State responded with a two-run single of its own in the bottom of the third inning, surging ahead 4-2 before an RBI single from Silva in the fifth inning and an RBI double from Richardson in the seventh inning evened the score once again, this time at 4-4.
TIE GAME!! @_trerichardson_ doubles home the tying run in the seventh!#FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/jQIAmfDtuc— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 19, 2023
A bases-loaded walk from the freshman left-hander Abeldt allowed the Wildcats to sneak ahead 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh inning. Bowen answered for the Horned Frogs in the top of the eighth inning, sending a clutch two-run double into the left-field corner that brought Davis and Luke Boyers home to move TCU back in front 6-5. Wright took the mound in the bottom of the eighth inning and logged the final one and two-thirds innings, striking out four batters but walking two, hitting one and throwing a wild pitch.
Big time swing @BowenKarson #FrogballUSA | #GoFrogs pic.twitter.com/SuSoICgmBg— TCU Baseball (@TCU_Baseball) May 19, 2023
Wright held Kansas State off the scoreboard in the eighth inning, but the Wildcats successfully rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning, tying the score on a passed ball before an RBI walk-off single from second baseman Brady Day sealed Kansas State’s comeback win. Richardson went 3-for-5 and three players including Bowen, Fontenelle and Davis each recorded two hits in the series opening loss.