Tre Richardson’s historic 3 home run, 11 RBI performance powers TCU past Arkansas

TCU second baseman Tre Richardson tallies 11 RBIs in a 20-5 win over Arkansas on June 4, 2023. (Photo courtesy of

By Charles Baggarly

FAYETTEVILLE – A small amount of thunder and lightning came from the sky; more came from the bat of second baseman Tre Richardson, who hit three home runs, two of which were grand slams.

TCU defeated Arkansas 20-5, advancing to the Fayetteville Regional Championship. The ballgame started at 2 p.m. and lasted over six hours due to two lightning delays.

Richardson, somehow, hit both grand slams in the first and second innings. After, Richardson tied the TCU single-game program record for home runs with a 2 RBI blast; he completed the historic performance with his fifth hit of the game, driving home his 11th run to break TCU’s program record for RBIs in a game and tie the NCCA record for RBIs in a playoff game.

Richardson, who had IHOP pancakes for breakfast, said he approached today’s game with one goal: win each pitch.

“Going out there and having the approach of winning each pitch and winning each inning,” Richardson said. “That’s been our biggest thing. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”

The Frogs quickly rattled Arkansas starter Hagen Smith, who entered the contest ranked third in the SEC with a 2.69 ERA. Smith had allowed 20 earned runs all season; he allowed eight to TCU, failing to record an out in the second inning.

Richardson said there’s “nothing but respect” for Smith and the Razorbacks. He knew Smith would bring the heat, but the Frogs’ approach stayed the same.

“Whatever the velocity is or anything, we’re gonna be aggressive on the pitch that we can handle,” Richardson said.

Loving the process is the most important thing when playing baseball, according to Richardson. He credited his teammates at the top of the order for putting together tone setting at-bats.

“It’s pretty awesome to be able to do this,” Richardson said. “Especially with this team and, you know, the journey that we’ve gone through all season and knowing that, you know, we’re not done yet.”

The Horned Frogs need one more win to advance to a super-regional; their last regional tournament victory was in 2017, the last year they made the College World Series.

Richardson called baseball a crazy sport and a “emotionally taxing” game.

“But to have days like this, I mean, this is why we play the sport because of moments like this,” Richardson said. “… I can’t thank my supporting cast enough. My teammates and all my coaches.”

Arkansas and Santa Clara will face off at 8 p.m. for the opportunity to face TCU in the championship. Whichever team wins will have to beat TCU twice.

The Frog offense keeps rolling

Facing the No. 3 national seed in its own ballpark, TCU has won its eighth game in a row; the Horned Frogs are averaging 13.3 runs per game in postseason play. The offense kept rolling with 17 total hits, four of which were home runs.

Third baseman Brayden Taylor had three base hits, including a three run home run. In postseason play, the veteran third baseman is 16 for 27 with 21 RBIs and five home runs.

Centerfielder Elijah Nunez tallied four hits, two of which were doubles down the first base line. The freshmen had stellar performances; shortstop Anthony Silva and catcher Karson Bowen had two and three hits, respectively.

After the fantastic all-around performance, head coach Kirk Saarloos was most proud of the ninth inning performance. The Frogs dealt with another lightning delay, but took the field and kept playing winning baseball while up big.

“They didn’t give away any at-bats in the ninth,” Saarloos said. “That’s what championship clubs do. So I was proud of that.”

Saarloos said the big thing during TCU’s run has been the team’s selflessness.

“If it’s not me, it’s gonna be the guy behind me,” Saarloos said, reflecting on the team’s mentality. “I’m not gonna try and do too much, and when you have nine guys thinking that way and operating that way, you have a chance.”

Arkansas’ four home runs not enough

Home runs were the Razorback’s only source of scoring against the Horned Frogs, who started Sam Stoutenborough. The graduate student right hander threw six innings, giving up three home runs; Stoutenborough allowed four earned runs, six hits, zero walks and struck out five.

Even after the first lightning delay, pulling Stoutenborough “didn’t even cross” Saarloos’ mind; Stoutenborough received the start because of his consistency this season.

“I don’t think he skipped a beat,” Saarloos said. “It was a humid, warm day, and I thought [Stoutenborough] gave us literally every last ounce he could give us.”

The Hogs ran into a few balls, but Stoutenborough persisted. He threw six innings, saving some of the bullpen arms for the regional championship.

“I’ve always been taught as a starter, solo home runs don’t hurt you,” Stoutenborough said. “So I just kept my nose down, kept making pitches and my defense kept making plays behind me.”

Stoutenborough pounded the strike zone, making Arkansas’ bats beat him. Stoutenborough, and the rest of the Frogs, didn’t walk any Razorbacks.

“That’s something I pride myself off of, is just filling up the zone with all my pitches,” Stoutenborough said. “Walks are my biggest pet peeve.”

Relief pitchers Hunter Hodges and Mason Speaker took over after Stoutenborough. Hodges allowed one run in an inning of work; Speaker threw two scoreless innings.

Up Next

TCU will play in the regional championship Monday at Baum-Walker Stadium. The opponent and the start time of the game has yet to be determined.