TCU baseball clinches weekend series with dominant victory against Jayhawks


By Charles Baggarly

Opportunistic offense has become a recurring theme for the Horned Frogs.

TCU capitalized on Kansas’ mistakes in the early innings, securing an early, sizable lead and cruised to a 18-5 victory on Saturday. The Horned Frogs secured the weekend series and extended their win streak to four games.

Through the first two innings, TCU scored eight runs on three hits. Starting pitcher Sam Ireland lacked control, putting Frog runners on the base paths with walks and bean balls. Allowing three steals and missing opportunities on defense made matters worse for the Jayhawks.

TCU associate head coach TJ Bruce said one of the goals of the game was to knock the starter out early. Through patience, the Frogs did just that, and Kansas’ starter, Sam Ireland, was pulled after one 1/3 innings.

“I thought we did a really good job [forcing the starter out] and taking our walks,” Bruce said. “With an offensive approach and being super offensive, there’s a fine line of being overly aggressive but also taking your walks and passing the baton. I thought they’ve done that really well the last few days.”

The Frogs plated bunches of runs with timely swings, including a three-run home run from Karson Bowen in the first inning.

“I think we were very disciplined and we had a good game plan,” Bowen said. “We did a really good job not chasing so it led to walks and then we capitalized.”

In the second inning, the Frogs were gifted runners on a silver platter. After centerfielder Elijah Nunez walked, Boyers was hit by a pitch for the second time in the contest, moving into first on the team with seven bean balls drawn this season. The next at-bat, second baseman Tre Richardson wore a pitch, tying Boyers for the team-high.

Bruce said his coaching style involves having the hit by pitch as a “big part of the offense”, adding it creates other opportunities. 

“Your job is to get on base any way you can pass and pass the baton to the next guy, and the next guy,” Bruce said. “So I think they’ve done a really good job with that.”

The Frogs made the best of their fortunate situation with an RBI groundout from third baseman Brayden Taylor and plating another runner on a wild pitch. Cole Fontenelle continued his hot streak with an RBI double to right field, and Bowen picked up his fourth RBI of the ballgame with a hard-hit single through the left side; Fontenelle put himself in position to score by stealing third base.

Richardson and shortstop Anthony Silva hit RBI singles in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.In the eighth, the Frogs extended what was already a massive lead with five walks and three hits. The Jayhawks couldn’t stop stepping on their own feet.

Kole Klecker had a solid outing, tossing seven innings and allowing two earned runs. He struck out five batters and gave up eight base hits. In every one of his six appearances this season, Klecker has held his opposition to two earned runs or less.

Klecker said he approaches every game with a competitive spirit and credited the defense for playing behind him.

“My big thing is throwing strikes, and I think I’ve done that well,” Klecker said. “Obviously, today I didn’t think I had my best fastball, but I thought my other pitches were working.”

Up next

TCU will face Kansas tomorrow with a chance to sweep the series and extend its win streak to five games. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. and Cam Brown will start.