No. 10 TCU baseball thoroughly defeated by San Diego: Frogs fall flat

TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos takes a visit to the mound in a 14-2 loss to San Diego on March 10, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – The Toreros had the Horned Frogs beat after the third inning but continued to pile on runs in a complete and utter thrashing of the Horned Frogs at Lupton Baseball Stadium.

No. 10 TCU baseball fell to San Diego 14-2 on Friday and was outplayed in every aspect of the game. The Toreros scored all 14 of their runs through five innings, and the rest of the ballgame was all but a formality.

TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos was asked what his message was to the team after the lopsided loss and what it would take to bounce back on Saturday. He had a simple answer.

“Play better,” Saarloos said.

Defensive issues, once again, plagued the Horned Frogs. For the second consecutive ballgame, the Frogs conceded an early lead to their opponent due to a missed opportunity in the field.

TCU starting pitcher Ryan Vanderhei didn’t bring his usual velocity and command. After two walks and a single, he would’ve escaped the first inning unscathed, but centerfielder Elijah Nunez lost the ball in the lights. As a result, three runs scored.

Saarloos called the play a “bad break” and wanted to see Vanderhei respond to keep the Frogs in the ballgame. The Frog starter allowed six earned runs in three innings pitched.

“[Vanderhei] has been great all year,” Saarloos said. “Just wasn’t that good tonight.”

With the Toreros taking a commanding lead early, the Frogs couldn’t string together enough base hits to cut into the lead. TCU tallied seven hits to San Diego’s 14, and finishing the ballgame with two walks made matters worse.

TCU did have one positive takeaways from the contest, the performance of relief pitcher Jax Traeger, who was making his collegiate debut. Traeger threw five innings, and the Torero offense only managed to charge the freshman with one earned run.

In a game where the Frogs desperately needed some grit and toughness, Traeger delivered. Saarloos said Traeger’s performance was “awesome”. He credited him for capitalizing on the opportunity and showing competitiveness.

“[Traeger] wanted the ball, and competitive grit and greatness is being ready when your opportunity is given to you,” Saarloos said. “He’s earned himself a lot more opportunities in a lot more innings.”

Up next

TCU baseball will face San Diego on Saturday at 2 p.m. in game two of the weekend series at Lupton Baseball Stadium. Kole Klecker will start on the mound for the Frogs.