Cam Brown throws seven scoreless innings, leads No. 10 TCU baseball past Rice

TCU starting pitcher Cam Brown throws seven scoreless innings in a 7-0 win over Rice on March 5, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

HOUSTON – Following a loss where poor pitch selection and an inability to work counts cost the Frogs, the offense bounced back, putting together a flurry of solid at-bats and finding newfound power.

Powered by home runs from left fielder Luke Boyers and second baseman Tre Richardson, No. 10 TCU baseball defeated Rice 7-0 to secure a winning weekend at Minute Maid Park.

The College Shriners Classic provided TCU with an opportunity to play three tough out-of-conference opponents, and it also allowed the Frogs to support a good cause: raising money for Shriner’s Children’s Texas and Layla, an honorary team captain and patient of Shriners Children’s Texas.

Saarloos said spending the weekend with Layla was an “amazing” experience.

“[Shriners Children’s Texas] understands how much sports can be a benefit in terms of kids that are going through some difficult times,” Saarloos said. “… I can’t give them enough credit.”

Right-handed pitcher Cam Brown allowed zero earned runs for a second consecutive outing, recording eight strikeouts in the process. Brown, who was backed up by a solid defensive outing, gave up three hits and three walks.

The Frog head coach credited Brown for a great performance, saying you can’t ask for much more in a Sunday ball game from a starting pitcher. Saarloos added the big thing for Brown is getting past the first inning.

“I thought [Brown] did a really good job of pitching and throwing secondary stuff at some counts,” Saarloos said. “I thought his changeup in the last inning was really nice.

Brown said getting the slider going early “was huge.”

“You know, I think the scouting report on me is I’m going to throw hard, and I’m going to throw a lot of fastballs,” Brown said. “… just getting the slider going, it just kind of throws them all off.”

Saarloos called a weekend series in college baseball a three-game boxing match, adding that Sunday is about which team brings more attitude and energy. The Frogs brought the fight and secured their second win in a weekend full of offensive inconsistency.

The Frogs battled through struggles at the plate, and it taught Saarloos that TCU has the ability to win ugly.

“We didn’t swing the bat like we’re capable of and we still came out with two wins,” Saarloos said. “So … that’s a huge plus in my book.

Improvements at the plate

Boyers has struggled at the plate in 2022 and headed into Sunday’s contest against Rice with a .152 batting average. The Frog left fielder snapped out of the funk, recording a monster 378-foot three-run home run to left field in the second inning.

“It felt good to finally get a hold of one no doubt,” Boyers said. “Felt like it lifted some weight off my shoulders. So yeah, it definitely felt good.”

The home run, Boyer’s first of the season, gave TCU an early lead. Boyers didn’t like getting behind in counts to start the weekend, but he stayed aggressive against Rice. Still, he was able to draw two walks.

“I just need a balance between being aggressive and then still get the right pitch,” Boyers said.

The left fielder added the team is trying to avoid strikeouts and make opposing defenses work for outs. TCU struck out seven times, an improvement from the 10 and nine on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Part of the improvement was due to Richardson, who hit his first home run of the season, an opposite field blast in the third inning. First baseman Brody Green, starting over David Bishop, also had a solid showing, tallying two base hits, one of which was a two-run double facing two outs in the eighth inning.

Defensively, the Frogs made one error, a fumbled ground ball to Green in the fifth inning. Green was, however, able to make a heads-up play to throw out an Owl runner trying to capitalize and score.

Other than the one inconsequential mistake, the Frogs continued to make plays to back up Brown on the mound.

“Hopefully, we’re turning the corner defensively,” Saarloos said.

Up next

No. 10 TCU baseball will face UT Arlington at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Lupton Baseball Stadium. The Horned Frogs will attempt to secure their eighth win of the season against the Mavericks.