No. 25 TCU baseball thoroughly defeated by UNC Wilmington with series on the line

TCU second baseman Tre Richardson hits a solo home run in a 12-6 loss to UNC Wilmington on April 16, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – The Horned Frogs were hunted by the Seahawks at Lupton Baseball Stadium.

TCU was thoroughly outplayed by UNC Wilmington on Sunday, losing the ballgame 12-6 and dropping the weekend series. The Frog pitching staff couldn’t handle the Seahawk offense, and the runs continued to pile up.

For the Frogs, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that it’s evident there are many issues that need to be addressed, primarily involving starting pitching and hitting for contact. The good news is that the results of the weekend won’t affect the Big 12 Championship title race.

TCU has had an interesting season with various highs and lows. Truly, it’s hard to predict which TCU team will show up on any given day. Still, the Frogs are within reach of first place in the Big 12 standings and have series against Big 12 leaders Texas and West Virginia remaining.

Frogs struggle on the mound

The Frogs couldn’t close out innings, and it proved costly. The Seahawks drove in 11 RBIs facing two outs, capitalizing in high-pressure at-bats.

Cam Brown had a rough outing, allowing four earned runs and failing to make it out of the second inning. Brown threw 63 pitches, and only 35 were strikes. The lack of control gave UNC Wilmington easy scoring chances.

The Frogs utilized Chase Hoover, Ben Abeldt, Hunter Hodges and Garrett Wright in relief of Brown, but the Seahawk offense continued to soar. UNC Wilmington added eight runs, putting the Frogs in a massive hole.

TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos emphasized that starting pitching didn’t put the Frogs in a position to succeed. He mentioned the stats didn’t accurately represent Abeldt’s performance, adding the left hander performed well. Abeldt allowed four earned runs in three innings of work.

Saarloos also credited Hunter Hodges, who made “a bad pitch” that resulted in a home run. Other than the one mistake, Hodges was able to tally two strikeouts in one and 1/3 innings pitched.

Wright had the best performance of the day from the mound, recording two scoreless innings. However, it was too little too late, as the Seahawks already had a big lead.

Three home runs helped ease the damage, but the Frogs made little noise offensively. Tre Richardson hit a solo home run while Brayden Taylor hit a grand slam and a solo shot.

“We only had four hits, you know, and two of them were Brayden’s homers,” Saarloos said. “So, you know, that’s not really sustainable to win games. Especially when you’re pitching like we are.”

Taylor’s slam brought the Frogs back to striking distance, but a three-run home run from right fielder Alec DeMartino created another mountain for TCU to climb. On a day where the Frogs struggled in all three aspects of the game, the sizable Seahawk lead was far too much to overcome.

“No time to feel sorry for yourself,” Saarloos said. “You know, we’ve put ourselves in this position. So it’s a matter of being ready to play Tuesday.”

Poor defensive play proves costly

After a ball went under the glove of shortstop Anthony Silva to start the second inning, Brown continued the team’s poor defensive play. The Frog starting pitcher fielded a slow hit ground ball and looked back Jac Croom, who was on third base.

Although Brown could’ve attempted a double play to end the inning, he threw to first after Croom pulled away his attention. Saarloos, after the game, said the right move is to go for the double play, even though there isn’t a guarantee the run won’t score.

“[Brown] decided not to,” Saarloos said.

On the throw, Croom scored. A few plays later, Brown chose to let the defense field a ball that he should’ve grabbed. Third baseman Brayden Taylor had to make a quick throw over to first to make up for Brown’s choice to lay off. It was inaccurate and another run scored.

Up next

TCU baseball will play Lamar University on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Lupton Baseball Stadium. After, the Head Frogs will head to Morgantown to face the West Virginia Mountaineers and resume their Big 12 Conference play.