TCU Baseball loses to Texas A&M in an instant classic with their season on the line

Starting+pitcher+Austin+Krob+tosses+5.1+innings+giving+up+two+earned+runs+and+striking+out+five+batters+on+June+5%2C+2022.+%28photo+courtesy+of+GoFrogs.com%29

Starting pitcher Austin Krob tosses 5.1 innings giving up two earned runs and striking out five batters on June 5, 2022. (photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com)

By Charles Baggarly

After starting pitcher Cam Brown powered TCU past Louisiana, the Frogs fell to Texas A&M in a classic, back and forth ballgame with their season on the line.

“Obviously, it didn’t go our way, but you have to give a ton of credit to Jim (Schlossnagle) and [Texas A&M],” said Head Coach Kirk Saarloos. “That’s what they’ve done all year. That’s what they’ve really hung their hat on; playing great offensive baseball.”

Saarloos said that he was proud of the way the offense battled.

“After they (Texas A&M) put up a five-spot in the seventh inning to take the lead, you can’t say enough about our offensive ball club and what we did coming back,” Saarloos said. “Tommy (Sacco) hitting the two-run homer. Brayden (Taylor) hitting the game-tying homer.”

After starting pitcher Austin Krob was pulled, Texas A&M’s offense was too much for TCU’s depleted bullpen to handle. The Aggies scored all 15 of their runs after the fifth inning to move on to a super regional. 

In the post game presser, Texas A&M Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle was visibly emotional after eliminating TCU. Schlossnagle, who spent 18 seasons at TCU, still has a lot of love for the Horned Frogs that he has coached.

“I told my team I love our players at Texas A&M as much as I love my children, but you have to understand that ninety percent of the guys over there [TCU] I love as much,” siad Schlossnagle. “This time last year we were going through the same battle.”

TCU vs Louisiana: the rematch

Brown put the Horned Frogs on his back and carried them to a 6-1 victory over Louisiana to keep TCU’s chances of making a super regional alive in one of the gutsiest performances of the year.

After his first start of the year in February, Cam Brown said that he wanted to be a big part of the team.

“I want to help our team have success,” said Brown. “The only way I’m going to do that is if I believe in myself as much as my team believes in me.”

Brown, with a fastball that reaches the high 90s, has the tools to be an elite pitcher. At times this season, he’s lacked confidence and it has shown in his performances.

“He’s had some awesome outings, and then he’s had some outings where it just didn’t go his way,” said Saarloos. “He was out of the rotation, and we talked about it and told him that there were a couple of big starts for him left this season.”

With the Frogs’ back against the wall, this was one of those starts. Brown didn’t disappoint, tossing a season high eight innings and throwing 114 pitches, giving up zero earned runs in the process.

Brown said that the season being on the line, as well as the careers of second baseman Gray Rodgers and the rest of the seniors, gave him confidence.

“I want these guys to keep going,” said Brown. “These are the guys that give me confidence every day.”

Brown only had three strikeouts, but was able to force ground balls, allowing the Horned Frog defense to turn two timely double plays.

Center fielder Elijah Nunez and third baseman Brayden Taylor, who homered in the first inning, led the offense, tallying two RBIs each. Catcher Kurtis Byrne tallied a team high three hits.

The Frogs led the entire game, giving them an opportunity against Texas A&M.

TCU vs Texas A&M: an instant classic

After starting pitcher Austin Krob exited the ballgame, Texas A&M scored in bunches to power past TCU 15-9. The TCU bullpen, playing their third game in two days, was stretched thin, and the Aggie offense took advantage of it.

Although TCU was the home team, the Aggies had a strong home field advantage. The fans were chanting Austin Krob’s name, trying to get into his head, but it didn’t phase him.

Saarloos said that Krob, who gave up two runs in five and a third innings, did a phenomenal job.

“He [Krob] did just enough in terms of pitching ahead, and then threw some really good breaking balls,” said Saarloos.

Krob was the Friday night starter for TCU but has been used as a reliever since returning from injury in late April. When the Frogs needed him most, Krob stepped up, keeping the Aggies off the scoreboard through five innings and striking out a season high eight batters.

After Krob was pulled and replaced by relief pitcher Luke Savage, the Aggie offense came alive, scoring seven runs in two innings.

The Horned Frogs, facing the toughest challenge of the season, didn’t back down. Taylor launched a home run, his third of the College Station Regional, to tie the ballgame in the seventh inning. After all hope of a comeback seemed lost, the Frogs erased a four run deficit in the blink of an eye.

The Aggie offense responded with another run in the seventh, once again pressuring the Horned Frog offense to make something happen.

Once again, the Horned Frogs showcased their resilience. Shortstop Tommy Sacco, playing with his college career on the line, hit a go-ahead home run to left center, silencing the crowd at Blue Bell Ballpark. After a rough offensive year in 2021, he turned things around and became one of, if not the best, hitters on the team.

Saarloos said that if MLB teams want a player that can respond to a challenge, they should pick up Sacco.

“It’s easy when things are going good, but a lot of times, teams are looking for a guy who, when things aren’t going well, is able to rebound,” said Saarloos. “That’s what Tommy did in terms of carrying this ball club the whole year, defensively, offensively, and from both sides of the plate. I can’t say enough about him.”

With TCU running out of options in the bullpen, the Aggies scored seven runs to put the game out of reach, eliminating the Frogs from the College Station Regional.