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TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

Delaney Vega, a TCU journalism junior, is painting a school in Belize. (Courtesy of Teja Sieber)
“The week of joy”: Christ Chapel College’s annual trip to Belize
By Ella Schamberger, Staff Writer
Published Apr 23, 2024
174 students, a record number, went on this year's trip.

No. 5 TCU uses some Lupton magic to walk it off against Washington State 8-7

Tyler Chan
TCU outfielder Luke Boyers leads the TCU alma mater after hitting a walk-off single at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on February 27th, 2024. The TCU Horned Frogs beat the Washington State Cougars 8-7 in 12 innings. (TCU360/Tyler Chan)

The Frogs continued their season-opening win streak, improving to 8-0 after beating the Cougars 8-7 via a walk-off single from Luke Boyers in the 12th inning.

Boyers, who came off the bench instead of his normal starting role, had his first at-bat in the 10th inning. He made a few outfield catches on balls that could have given Washington State the lead if they had fallen.

Then, with bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th with two outs, he came up clutch.

Head coach Kirk Saarloos talked about the heroics from Boyers in the late innings, saying baseball rewarded him.

“He has been in our program for four years,” he said. “He didn’t start today, but ended up having the biggest at-bat of the night.”

Saarloos said the Frogs got “punched in the face” by Washington State’s late-inning comeback, but he said everyone in the dugout is learning that “nothing is over until that 27th out.”

Boyers said the team never had a doubt.

“We have a mentality that we can’t lose,” he said. “We’re never in a situation where we feel like we’re going to lose the game.”

Karson Bowen put down a bunt to advance the runners, which was so well-placed, he was safe at first. It would prove to be the difference maker in allowing Boyers to come to the plate because Anthony Silva and Kurtis Byrne both failed to drive in the winning run.

Boyers knocked in the game-winning run, Saarloos didn’t let anyone play down the excellent pitching performance from reliever Zachary Cawyer.

“I told him when he went out there–this is why we brought you here,” said Saarloos. “He’s been in some high-leverage situations now and he’s answered the bell. You can’t say enough about him.”

The Fort Worth native earned his third win of the season with a three inning performance. He tallied three strikeouts and held the Cougar offense to just two hits.

His performance was even more important because he was in a pitcher’s duel with Washington State pitcher Chase Grillo, who shut the Frogs down for three innings of his own, racking up seven strikeouts and allowing no hits.

“He was pretty good, keeping us off the scoreboard with a fastball-slider combination,” said Saarloos.

Bats were hot, pitching was not

TCU pitcher Ben Abeldt gave up one run but allowed three inherited runners to score, allowing the Washington State Cougars to tie the game at seven in the ninth. Feb. 27, 2024. (TCU360/Tyler Chan)

Offensively, TCU didn’t skip a beat, knocking in eight runs on 16 hits. However, they did have 16 left on base, including three after the walk-off single.

Every player that went to bat for the Frogs came out with at least one hit. Six of them had a pair of hits. There is a saying that hits are contagious, and Boyers said the team is all in on that motto.

“It’s dangerous,” he said. “You’re just trying to get on base any way possible and that’s all we do–we pass it to the next guy and have faith in the guy behind us if we don’t succeed.”

One was Peyton Chatagnier, who added to his already busy stat line for the season with two hits, one RBI, a walk and two runs scored.

Another was freshman Ryder Robinson, who was taken out of the starting lineup after a rough opening weekend. He notched his first two hits of the season and played clean at third base, allowing Brody Green to rest up.

“We wanted to get him [Robinson] out there again,” said Saarloos. “And with Brody banged up a little bit, we wanted to get him off his feet and Ryder was ready.”

Other than the bunt single in the 12th, Bowen had another hit, two RBIs, a walk and two runs scored.

Silva joined the hit parade with two hits, two RBIs and a walk. Byrne also had two hits, one RBI, two walks and a run scored.

TCU’s pitching started well with Ben Hampton going 4.1 innings again. He was going steady, only having given up a lead off home run on the first pitch of the game, before he ran into trouble in the fifth.

He was relieved by Louis Rodriguez, who allowed two inherited runs to bring Hampton’s earned runs to three. However, he, Chase Hoover and Hunter Hodges all held the Cougars scoreless through the eight inning.

It was the ninth when the wheels started to fall off. In a non-save situation, Saarloos went to Kyle Ayers, who topped out at 96 mph in his .1 innings pitched. He let the leadoff man on, got the next guy via the strikeout before loading the bases.

That was all the manager would allow, turning to his big lefty closer, Ben Abeldt.

Normally a sure momentum-killer, Abeldt worked his way out of this jam only after allowing back-to-back doubles and the Cougars to tie the game at seven.

“You have to give credit to Washington State,” said Saarloos. “They had four hits in a row against two high-end bullpen arms. We didn’t do anything poorly, they had to hit their way through it.”

After that, it was up to Cawyer, who did exactly what he needed to do. He held Washington State scoreless while also eating up innings to preserve arms for a rare second weekday game in a row tomorrow.

Up next

TCU welcomes Arizona to Lupton tomorrow for a sneak peak at a possible Big 12 matchup next season. First pitch will be at 6 p.m. again and will be broadcast on ESPN+.

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