No. 8 TCU falls to Florida State after disastrous seventh inning, drops weekend series

TCU third baseman Brayden Taylor launches a home run to right field in a 10-8 loss to Florida State on Feb. 25, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – No. 8 TCU baseball failed to contain Florida State’s offense on Saturday, allowing 10 runs in two consecutive games; The Horned Frogs lost 10-8 to the Seminoles, dropping their first weekend series of the season.

TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos said Florida State’s three home runs were the difference in the ballgame.

“We didn’t execute pitches when we needed to,” Saarloos said. “That’s what ends up happening when you face a good ball club on an offensive day.”

The Seminoles took a six-run lead in the seventh, which was too large for the Frogs to overcome. The offense showed resilience, scoring two runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Saarloos said one of the only bright spots of the game was the offense putting the team in a spot to tie the game.

“That was good resiliency by them,” Saarloos said. “We just can’t put them in that kind of spot on the mound. We’ve had two decent starts. It’s just a matter of being able to bridge the gap after that point to keep runs off the board and give our offense a chance to extend leads.”

The Frogs start strong

TCU’s starting pitcher, Luke Savage, began the ballgame with a walk and a single but quickly settled down, continuing forward to tally three shutout innings. The right-hander forced ground balls with ease, letting the Frog defense make plays.

Meanwhile, the Horned Frog offense retaliated after a two-hit performance on Friday, scoring in the first inning with an RBI single from designated hitter Kurtis Byrne. They added another run in the second inning, capitalizing off a throwing error by Seminole shortstop Jordan Carrion; Catcher Karson Bowen drove second baseman Tre Richardson home with a single up the middle.

The Seminoles strike back

In the fourth inning, the Seminole offense made its presence known. Savage allowed four straight base hits, which plated Florida State’s first run. First baseman David Bishop limited the damage by catching a hard-hit line drive and doubling up the runner at first; Savage ended the threat with a swinging strikeout.

After a 1-2-3 inning for relief pitcher Conner Whittaker, the Seminoles continued their offensive onslaught. Catcher Colton Vincent sparked the rally with a double to left field and centerfielder DeAmez Ross followed it up with a single.

After a shallow flyout, Saarloos made a call to the bullpen. 

Left-handed freshman Ben Abeldt took over and forced a ground ball to second base. Richardson attempted to tag the base runner out prior to throwing to first but missed. 

The officiating crew and Saarloos discussed the play but the call was upheld. As a result, the Seminoles took the lead. Right fielder Jamie Ferrer added fuel to the fire, launching a baseball over the centerfield fence to tally a towering two-run home run and extending the FSU lead to three.

The Horned Frogs respond 

Third baseman Brayden Taylor cut into the Florida State lead in the fifth inning with his second home run of the year, a 396-foot home run to right field with an exit velocity of 106 mph. 

The Horned Frogs got back on the scoreboard in the sixth after a single Bowen scored Richardson, who barely beat the tag. When Richardson stood up and celebrated the run, Whittaker bumped into the second basemen, throwing out a shoulder and not attempting to avoid contact.

After a Silva strikeout and a pop out from centerfielder Austin Davis, the Seminoles secured three outs and fizzled the Frog rally.

A disastrous seventh inning

In the seventh inning, Abeldt was rocked by the Florida State offense; The left-handed freshman allowed five earned runs in the frame, giving up two 400-plus-foot home runs in the process.

Saarloos did not remove Abeldt from the game to save arms for Sunday and added the freshman lefty was “throwing the ball okay.”

“[Abeldt] just missed his spots when he was ahead,” Saarloos said. “You know, we tried to go two fastballs, when we got in both 0-2 counts. And both of those pitches were left over the middle of the plate. And I know [Abeldt] wasn’t trying to do that. [Capitalizing is] what a good hitter does in terms of making someone pay for a mistake.

As the game moved forward, relief pitcher Cohen Feser kept the Seminoles off the scoreboard for 2 2/3 innings, giving TCU a shot to complete a large comeback; the Frog reliever allowed two hits and struck out three batters.

“I thought Cohen [Feser] threw the ball well tonight and he’s thrown the ball well a couple of times now,” Saarloos said. “… So that’s good to see but we need more guys to be able to step up and do what [Feser is] doing.

Although the Frogs chipped away at the massive lead with two runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings, Florida State held onto the lead and secured the weekend series victory.

Up next

TCU baseball will face Florida State at 1 p.m. Sunday with a series sweep on the line. Right-handed pitcher Cam Brown will start for the Frogs and centerfielder Elijah Nunez, in concussion protocol, will remain out.

Saarloos said the Frogs need to excel at all three facets of the game: defense, pitching and hitting. The Horned Frog head coach added the team needs to focus on what they can control.

“[We’ve] got to show up with great attitude and great effort,” Saarloos said.