No. 15 TCU baseball routs No. 8 Arkansas, secures winning weekend to open season

TCU right fielder Austin Davis records three hits including a towering home run to left field in a win over the Arkansas Razorbacks on Feb. 18, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

The Frogs and Hogs started strong offensively, recording four runs each in the first two innings of their College Baseball Showdown matchup at Globe Life Field. At first, it seemed as if the ballgame would be a back and forth affair.

It wasn’t.

No. 15 TCU baseball piled on the runs as the game continued, securing an 18-6 win over No. 8 Arkansas. The win is the Frogs’ second consecutive victory over a top-ten team by seven runs or more.

The Frog offense continued its momentum from its matchup against Vanderbilt, tallying 19 hits in the game. Six players recorded two or more hits: Right Fielder Austin Davis, Center Fielder Elijah Nunez, Third Baseman Brayden Taylor, Left Fielder Luke Boyers and Second Baseman Tre Richardson.

Taylor notched a team-high four hits and Davis hit the Frogs’ sole home run, a moonshot to left field. Davis admired his work, bat flipping excessively and receiving a celebration warning from the umpire crew.

The offensive onslaught put the Frogs in a position to succeed. Two other aspects of the game fueled the Frogs’ offensive performance: patience and speed.

TCU drew 11 walks, dominating the freebee war. They also stole six bases which helped to force baserunners into scoring position. TCU Associate Head Coach TJ Bruce said the Frogs did a “really good job” at extending innings with patience at the plate. Head Coach Kirk Saarloos and Co. preach a “win every pitch” mentality.

“We just fought to see another pitch,” Bruce said. “And that’s been a big deal for us.”

Bruce also said it’s fun to watch the Frogs work on the basepaths in the dugout, the “best seat in the house.” The Frogs tallied six steals, and Nunez beat out two throws to extend innings.

“We beat out some balls that allowed us to get extra guys on base,” Bruce said. “We got RBIs out of them.”

It’s hard to draw up a better start to the season and Bruce’s tenure as a TCU coach. The Horned Frogs didn’t just beat No. 10 Vanderbilt and No. 8 Arkansas. They thrashed them.

The Frogs added insult to injury in the final two frames, adding seven runs to a lead that was already out of reach. Bruce credited Saarloos for his leadership and game plan.

“Kirk [Saarloos] does a great job leading us all,” Bruce said. “All we have to do is follow his plan.”

Young relievers hold lead in collegiate debuts

TCU’s Starting Pitcher Cam Brown had “one of those days” against Arkansas, according to Bruce. The right-hander’s control was decent but every Razorback hit was the result of solid contact.

Bruce said Brown, who gave up four earned runs in 1 2/3 innings,  is going to receive “so many more” opportunities.

“Cam Brown is a really good arm,” Bruce said. “Cam Brown is going to pitch for a really long time.”

Freshman Kole Klecker relieved Brown of his duties, continuing to throw 4 1/3 innings and allowing one earned run in a fantastic collegiate debut. Freshmen Ben Abeldt and Justin Hackett also made their first appearances as Frogs, giving up zero and one earned run, respectively.

Klecker and Hackett allowed solo home runs but bounced back with strikes on the following pitches. Bruce called those moments “huge victories” for the young players.

“There’s small details that get overlooked but I think they’re huge deals,” Bruce said. “But I thought they came in and pounded the zone. They act like they’ve been here before. And that’s hard to do when you’ve got 20,000 people here.”

Up next

TCU will attempt to secure a sweep of SEC teams in the College Baseball Showdown on Sunday against Missouri. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. and the Frogs’ starting pitcher is yet to be determined.