The No. 4 seeded TCU baseball team opened the Big 12 Conference tournament in dominant fashion on Wednesday, crushing the No. 5 seed Kansas State 16-3 after seven innings to reach the semifinal round of the championship bracket. The Horned Frogs (34-22, 13-11 Big 12) will take on either the No. 1 seed Texas or the No. 8 seed Kansas on Thursday at 4 p.m. with the winner advancing to play in the championship bracket finals on Saturday.
TCU took the early lead and never looked back, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first inning, where third baseman Brayden Taylor and designated hitter Kurtis Byrne each belted home runs to spark the Horned Frog offense. RBI doubles from Taylor and freshman catcher Karson Bowen ignited a three-run effort from TCU in the bottom of the second inning, where an RBI groundout from shortstop Anthony Silva helped the Horned Frogs go up 8-0.
Right-hander Cam Brown started on the mound Wednesday, throwing three and one-third innings with four strikeouts and six walks while allowing two earned runs on one hit. TCU added two runs in the bottom of the third inning, scoring on an RBI double from center fielder Elijah Nunez and an RBI groundout from Bowen. Kansas State avoided the shutout with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, but the Horned Frogs answered right back, exploding for six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to surge ahead 16-2.
Byrne, Nunez and right fielder Austin Davis each notched RBI singles in the fourth inning for the Horned Frogs, who took a 14-run lead after Taylor’s two-run double capped off the six-run frame. Freshmen Jax Traeger and Chase Hoover threw the final three and two-thirds innings for TCU on Wednesday, totaling six strikeouts and only one earned run allowed. Taylor led the Horned Frog offense in the win, finishing 3-for-5 with a career-best six RBIs while Nunez went 3-for-4 with three RBIs. Bowen went a perfect 4-for-4 with two RBIs and Byrne went 2-for-4 with three RBIs to help pace the Horned Frog offense in the victory.