No. 8 TCU avoids series sweep to Florida State behind strong pitching performances

TCU relief pitcher Kole Klecker throws four perfect innings in a 3-2 victory over Florida State on Feb. 26, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – No. 8 TCU baseball avoided a sweep behind an electric performance from freshman pitcher Kole Klecker in relief of starting pitcher Cam Brown. Klecker threw four perfect innings to slam the door shut on Florida State, leading the Horned Frogs to a 3-2 win on Sunday.

Klecker said “everything was working” referring to his fastball, curveball and changeup.

“I felt good,” Klecker said. “I was kind of warming up early in the bullpen. And just made sure to pace myself and make sure I was ready when I came in. I thought I did that well and then just tried to execute pitches and everything went well.”

Brown set up Klecker to finish out the Seminoles, keeping the ballgame close after a rough first inning; the right-hander struggled with control, walking in two batters. Technically, Brown didn’t allow any earned runs due to an error by first baseman David Bishop that prolonged the inning. 

Brown settled down and persisted, finding his control and striking out nine Florida State batters. In five innings pitched, Brown allowed one hit and zero earned runs. 

Saarloos said Brown “got rolling” once he got control of the breaking ball and that it was good to see him respond facing adversity.

“I think the big thing for [Brown] is seeing himself being able to do that,” said Saarloos. “… And knowing he can do that from first pitch and not having to get backed into a corner, but I thought it was awesome in terms of … him getting us into the sixth inning.”

Florida State struggled to make solid contact off Brown’s high-velocity arsenal of pitches. Brown reached the 96-99 mph range on his fastball and mixed in change-ups as fast as 90 mph.

On the offensive end, shortstop Anthony Silva shined, tallying three base hits and drawing a hit by pitch. Silva, the Preseason Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year, more than made up for a throwing error in the third inning.

“[Silva is] talented … and that’s why we continue to run them out there,” Saarloos said. “And there’s going to be growing pains with all young players, so we just got to keep coaching them and keep getting better.”

The Horned Frogs, facing a series sweep, needed to respond. With their backs against the wall, they delivered.

“I think everyone on the team [responded],” Klecker said. “Offense [and] defense.”

The Horned Frogs respond

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Bishop made amends for the first-inning blunder with an RBI single to left field to score right fielder Luke Boyers, who was hit by a pitch. 

In the fifth inning, the Frogs had a golden opportunity with runners on first and third, but Byrne’s double play ended the scoring threat. The Frog pitchers kept the game within striking distance, giving TCU an opportunity to retaliate. In the seventh inning the Frogs, once again, hit into a double play, this time off the bat off designated hitter Brody Greene.

In the seventh inning, Silva sparked a rally with his third single of the ballgame.

The Horned Frogs finally managed to avoid a the rally-killing double play and tie the game with an RBI single through the left side of the infield from Byrne. After a throwing error by second baseman Nander De Sedas, TCU took the lead.

Klecker secured the save with a one-two-three ninth inning and the the Horned Frogs avoided the series sweep.

Up next

TCU (4-3) will face Dallas Baptist University (7-0) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28 in Dallas. Freshman right-hander Braeden Sloan will start for the Frogs and center fielder Elijah Nunez is set to return from concussion protocol.