‘Hopefully, we’re catching our stride’: TCU baseball secures series win vs. Cal State Fullerton


TCU’s Cam Brown tosses three 1/3 scoreless innings in a 6-1 victory over Cal State Fullerton on May 7, 2023. (Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com)

By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – At this point in the season, every game is incredibly important for TCU baseball.

The Frogs are entering the final stretch of the regular season; if they want an invite to an NCAA Regional Tournament, they’ll need to finish strong. On Sunday, TCU took another step in the right direction, defeating Cal State Fullerton 6-1 to win the weekend series.

“Hopefully, we’re catching our stride, and guys are getting opportunities and taking advantage of them,” TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos said. “But if you can pitch like that, you’re going to have a chance.”

In three games, TCU allowed seven total runs. The Titan offense averaged 2.3 runs per game throughout the weekend.

“They scored seven runs on the weekend, and those came in three innings,” Saarloos said. “So there’s a lot of zeros and a lot of quality in there.”

Cam Brown had struggled in his last four outings, allowing 18 runs in eight innings pitched. He returned to the mound on Sunday, tossing three 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Kole Klecker.

“Cam [Brown] looked better, kept [Cal State Fullerton] off the scoreboard, and gave us an opportunity to win,” Saarloos said.

Kole Klecker tossed two scoreless innings but “ran out of gas”. Klecker has been struggling to recover from throwing 59 2/3 total innings this season, which is why he didn’t start on Friday or Saturday; the total workload is more than what the freshman right-hander is used to.

“[Klecker has] never been at this amount of innings in his career,” Saarloos said.

Brown, Cohen Feser and Ben Abeldt were ready, and took over pitching duties to keep the Titans at bay. Feser tossed three scoreless innings and Abeldt slammed the door shut to end the series.

“We just handed it from one guy to the next,” Brown said. “Everything stayed super fluid. … Everyone hopped in there without skipping a beat.”

Brown mentioned the team is playing as a “cohesive unit”, adding the pitchers are playing for the hitters, and the hitters are playing for the pitchers. Personally, he’s trying to “go out there and have fun with it again.”

“I feel like we’re playing really good baseball right now,” Brown said. “We’re playing together as a team.”

Heating up on offense

Through the first four innings, TCU’s offense couldn’t manage to score a run. The fifth and the sixth innings, however, were a different story; the Frogs scored six total runs, taking a sizable lead over the Titans.

Designated hitter Kurtis Byrne led the way with two hits and two RBIs. Facing two outs, Byrne delivered an RBI single up the middle to extend TCU’s lead; Saarloos called it the “biggest at-bat of the game.”

“Kurtis [Byrne] is on fire,” left fielder Logan Maxwell said. “I’m so happy for him. He struggled early on, and now he’s picking it up. So he’s been on time with the fastball. He’s been on time to curveball. He’s confident at the plate right now, and it’s good to see.”

Maxwell also had a decent day at the plate, kickstarting the run scoring with an RBI triple. In the following at-bat, Maxwell scored on a wild pitch.

“Logan [Maxwell] is getting a little bit more, obviously, more playing time and opportunities and he’s running with it,” Saarloos said.

For Maxwell, seeing more pitches and having more plate appearances has helped his timing and confidence.

“Just being on time [for pitches] and seeing more at-bats has really made me feel more comfortable,” Maxwell said.

First baseman Cole Fontenelle and Karson Bowen also had notable performances; both tallied two hits and an RBI.

“We’re going to need it all,” Saarloos said. “We need guys on the mound and then guys in our lineup to be playing their best baseball at the end of the year.”

Up next

TCU will have four days off before their next matchup on Friday, a weekend series against Baylor at Lupton Baseball Stadium. With TCU’s pitching staff being “depleted”, Saarloos said the break is “coming at a really good time.”

“They have finals, so they have Monday and Tuesday off so they can take care of finals and get off to a good in the classroom this week,” Saarloos said. “We’ll get back to it on Wednesday practice wise and then have a big series this weekend.”