TCU baseball secures series victory over Oklahoma State with late offensive onslaught

Third baseman Brayden Taylor scores on a wild pitch in TCU’s 12-5 victory over Oklahoma State on April 8, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – The series was on the line, and the Frogs and Cowboys were tied at five heading into the eighth inning.

All of a sudden, TCU’s offense came alive, scoring seven runs to capture a 12-5 win and a series victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday. In a high-pressure contest, head coach Kirk Saarloos and the Horned Frogs took care of business when it mattered most.

Before the rally began, the Hypnotoad appeared on the Lupton Baseball Stadium scoreboard. The crowd was energized, and the players fed off the energy. Was it a coincidence? Maybe.

“It was pretty fun in the eighth inning to see the Hypnotoad in all its glory,” Saarloos said. 

With the wins on Saturday and Sunday, the Frogs are 7-5 in Big 12 Conference play and control their own destiny, even after losing a hard-fought series to Texas Tech in Lubbock. Saarloos talked about the importance of defending your home field, considering how tough it is to play on the road.

“You’re trying to win a series obviously every single time you play,” Saarloos said. “It’s really hard to win [on the road].”

In college baseball, defending your home field separates the decent and great. The Horned Frogs faced the pressure head-on and delivered.

The Frogs, in the fourth inning, found themselves in a 5-3 hole after starting pitcher Cam Brown gave up a three-run home run to Tyler Wulfert and a triple to Marcus Brown, who scored on a wild pitch. TCU played well from behind and continued to battle, scoring seven total runs while facing two outs.

“Proud of how our guys competed after [Oklahoma State] put up a four-spot to take a five-three lead,” Saarloos said.

The Frog offense comes alive

Due to a back injury, Kurtis Byrne has appeared in 18 of 32 games. Today, Byrne delivered a timely, clutch performance.

At times, Kurtis Byrne has struggled to lift the ball this season. He has tallied a .225 batting average and has hit into a team-high four double plays.

Lifting the ball certainly wasn’t an issue for Byrne on Saturday. In the second inning, the veteran designated hitter hit a three-run home run to center field facing two outs, eliminating the Cowboy’s early lead.

“Honestly, I was just trying to hit a line drive to right field,” said Byrne, who also walked in a run in the eighth inning. “The guy hung up a breaking ball and I put a good swing on it.

Home runs have been common all weekend. For the most part, that had played in Oklahoma State’s favor. Although the Cowboys had a three-run home run of their own, the Frogs were able to match the firepower with Byrne’s blast.

“It’s nice for us to run into a ball and get three quick runs,” Saarloos said.

Centerfielder Elijah Nunez also had a great day at the plate, tallying two RBIs on a pair of base hits. Nunez said he’s been struggling in his own head at times, and has had an up and down season by his standards. However, he was confident in his approach heading into the game.

“I’m not letting them down this time,” Nunez said, referencing his mindset before the RBI double. “Not this time.”

Nunez has one goal: playing and helping the team win.

“And that’s all I can do,” Nunez said. “And that’s all I want to do. So wherever I’m at, I’ll just perform.”

Slamming the door

After Brown’s subpar start, the Horned Frogs needed strong performances from the bullpen to keep themselves in striking distance. Sam Stoutenborough took over, tossing three 2/3 scoreless innings and allowing zero hits. He struck out four batters and walked three.

Saarloos said Stoutenborough smoothed things out in a mentally tough performance.

“[Stoutenborough] is such a valuable weapon, as you saw today,” Saarloos said.

Following Stoutenborough’s stellar stretch, Garrett Wright closed out the ballgame with two 1/3 scoreless innings and four strikeouts.

Defensively, the Horned Frogs continued to build momentum. Shortstop Anthony Silva and second baseman Tre Richardson continued to excel in the middle infield, making hard plays look routine. Yesterday, Richardson stole the spotlight. Today, Silva impressed with multiple highlight worthy plays.

The duo also performed on the offensive end. Silva notched two base hits while Richardson drove home two runners with an RBI double in the seventh inning.

Up next

TCU will hit the road to face Abilene Christian on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. prior to a weekend series against UNC Wilmington at Lupton Baseball Stadium.