‘We’re playing every game like it’s our last’: TCU defeats Baylor in series opener


By Charles Baggarly

FORT WORTH – TCU baseball hadn’t won the opening game of a weekend series since March 25, 2023.

That changed on Friday after the Horned Frogs ran away with an early lead. TCU baseball defeated Baylor 5-1, extending its win streak to three games.

Starting pitcher Louis Rodriguez was at the forefront of TCU’s victory, holding the Bears to one run in six 1/3 innings of work. TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos said Rodriguez’s performance set the team up for a successful weekend.

“[Rodriguez has] allowed us to line up the game the way we want it to line up,” Saarloos said.

Saarloos said he enjoys watching Rodriguez pitch ahead in counts, pound the bottom of the strike zone, and throw a variety of pitches for strikes to keep hitters off balanced.

“[Batters] have to stay disciplined for two and a half hours against him,” Saarloos said. “And if you don’t, you see a lot of balls chopped in the ground.”

Rodriguez has recorded three consecutive quality starts, which is when an opponent is held to three runs or less in the span of a six-inning or more start. In Friday’s game, his goal was to “throw strikes and have controlled aggression.”

“My fastball and my cutter were working well,” Rodriguez said. “The slider was doing its job. I got a lot of swings and misses. Didn’t really throw my changeup much.”

His performance kept Baylor’s offense at bay, providing an opportunity for TCU’s bats to capitalize.

Chasing the Bears

TCU’s offense did just enough to score five runs and keep a sizable lead. The Frogs tallied eight hits; the Horned Frogs created more than enough scoring opportunities with eight walks and seven stolen bases.

Given TCU was playing with the win blowing in, they wanted to take advantage of every baserunner.

“We did really well on the base paths to make sure that we kept the pressure on [Baylor],” Saarloos said.

Even with the five runs, Saarloos said the Frogs were missing timely hitting with runners in scoring position.

“That’s the one thing I think we’re not quite getting right now is that big hit in those situations to really open up the game,” Saarloos said.

Against the Bears, the Frogs managed to move through the lineup and get the job done without a multiple RBI knock. Third baseman Brayden Taylor led the way, hitting a sacrifice fly, a single and a 383-foot solo home run on his way to collecting two RBIs.

“It was big time,” Taylor said, referring to winning the series opener. “I mean, we haven’t done that in a while. So it just felt good to get out there and get back in a routine.”

Centerfielder Elijah Nunez sparked the offense with a leadoff single in the first inning. Saarloos said Nunez set the tone, igniting the offense.

“You always want your leadoff guy on,” Saarloos said. “That’s his job is getting on base. And [Nunez] has been doing that at a really high clip.”

Logan Maxwell had an interesting game; the left fielder was hit by two pitches and drew a four-pitch walk. Maxwell also had an RBI double in the second inning.

Up next

Saarloos mentioned the Frogs won’t have to win an uphill battle in game two for the first time in a while. For the most part, TCU has responded after game one losses well; the Frogs are 4-2 in game two of a weekend series since their last opening game victory.

Saturday’s game will be played at 7 p.m. at Globe Life Field. TCU’s starter is to be determined.

“We’re playing every game like it’s our last,” Taylor said.