No. 8 TCU baseball struggles offensively, falls to Florida State to open weekend series

TCU tallied two hits in a 10-1 loss to Florida State on Feb. 24, 2023. (photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – The Horned Frogs were thrashed by the Seminoles in their first-weekend series ballgame of the season at Lupton Baseball Stadium. No. 8 TCU baseball struggled offensively, tallying only two hits in a 10-1 loss to Florida State.

Ryan Vanderhei, the Horned Frogs’ starting pitcher, had a solid performance, keeping the Frogs within striking distance through five 2/3 innings. TCU’s offense, however, didn’t do the right-hander any favors.

Florida State pitchers Jackson Baumeister and Wyatt Crowell were terrific, allowing one hit each. The Frog offense, after averaging 11 runs in its first four games, was shut down. 

TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos called Baumeister and Crowell “two premium arms” that pounded the strike zone.

“When teams don’t gift you runs, you’ve got to be able to stand in there and do some stuff offensively,” said Saarloos. 

Saarloos said you have to beat elite pitching talent on Friday nights.

“And we didn’t do that,” Saarloos said.

A Friday night pitching duel

TCU’s Ryan Vanderhei started strongly, sending the Seminoles down in order in the first two innings. Although he allowed a one-out double in the third inning, the Horned Frog right-hander struck out two Florida State batters with sliders. 

Saarloos said the slider is Vanderhei’s “bread and butter.”

“You could tell the difference between [Vanderhei’s] slider and some of the sliders [Florida State] saw later in the game,” Saarloos said. “It’s a really good pitch.”

Although Vanderhei thrived on the mound, the Frog offense couldn’t capitalize. Baumeister was lights out, keeping TCU hitless through five innings. Vanderhei battled hard but his efforts had little to no impact, considering the offensive performance. 

Baumeister ended the fifth with a wicked 75 mph curveball to strike out second baseman Tre Richardson. In the following frame, the Seminoles finally got to Vanderhei.

The Seminoles’ offense comes to life

Florida State started the sixth inning by making solid contact; catcher Colton Vincent sent a double down the left-field line just past the extended glove of TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor and CF DeAmez Ross followed it up with a single.

The Seminoles plated their first runner of the ballgame after a wild pitch from Vanderhei, who bounced back with a strikeout. Centerfielder Austin Davis made a terrific play near the warning track and held Ross at second, but the ball was, once again, hit to the fence. Davis couldn’t make two terrific plays in a row and Florida State took a two-run lead.

The Frogs made a call to the bullpen, ending Vanderhei’s outing; TCU’s Friday night starter, in five and ⅔ innings, allowed two earned runs, four hits, one walk and struck out nine batters.

Saarloos, discussing his decision to take Vanderhei out, said “it’s about the long haul” and mentioned Vanderhei was upset about the pitching change. 

“[I] probably could’ve left [Vanderhei] out there, but for me it’s more about the long season,” Saarloos said. “We’ve got to make sure we protect him.”

Relief pitcher River Ridings took over, forcing a ground ball to the right side of the infield. First baseman David Bishop couldn’t field it cleanly, bobbling the ball twice; the runner reached safely due to the blunder, and it also resulted in a run.

After the Frogs finally got out of the nightmare inning, Davis tallied the Frogs’ first hit, a double to right field. TCU managed to force a bullpen change, ending a fantastic outing from Baumeister, who allowed one hit, zero runs, two walks and struck out eight through five and ⅔ innings.

Wyatt Crowell took over, ending the scoring threat; Crowell continued Baumeister’s strong performance, and the Frogs couldn’t find a way to string together base hits.

Although TCU managed to score in the eighth due to a Seminole error, the Frog relievers couldn’t keep Florida State off the base paths. After FSU scored five runs in the ninth inning, the game was all but out of reach. 

Up next

No. 8 TCU baseball will face Florida State in game two of the weekend series on Saturday at Lupton Baseball Stadium. The first pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. and Cam Brown will start for the Horned Frogs.