By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
ARLINGTON – It was close until it wasn’t, and then it never was again.
TCU managed to top Friday’s offensive outburst with an 18-6 shellacking of Arkansas on Saturday night. The Frogs now have back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents by a combined score of 29-10.
Austin Davis starred in the victory, going 3-6 at the plate with a home run, three RBIs, and making a diving catch in right field. The West Virginia transfer was humble afterward when talking about his performance.
“I’m just out there hitting the ball hard,” Davis said. “The coaches are giving us great scouting reports and my teammates are getting on base, so I’m going to give all the glory to my teammates and God.”
Brayden Taylor notched the first four hit game of his career, and six Horned Frogs recorded multi-hit games. Five Frogs reached base four times on the night, and the Frogs stole six bases.
It was a clinic in getting on base, moving runners, and scoring runs by the Frogs. A lot of that credit goes to first year associate head coach T.J. Bruce, who came in during the offseason and retooled TCU’s hitting and baserunning approach.
“Mostly you’re just trying to win pitches,” Bruce said. “That has been a huge focus for us, and the good news is they’ve done that and they’ve stayed the course.”
Cam Brown got the start for TCU on the mound, but didn’t have his best stuff. Brown lasted just 1 2/3 innings before being pulled in favor of freshman Kole Klecker.
Klecker’s first collegiate start was impressive, as he pitched 4 1/3 innings of one run baseball, striking out six and walking none. Freshmen Ben Abeldt and Justin Hackett came on in the later innings as well, combining for three innings of one run baseball with four total strikeouts and one walk.
“I think the one thing is, Klecker gave up a home run then got a strike one the next pitch,” Bruce said. “Hackett did the same thing, gave up a home run then got strike one the next pitch. I think those are huge victories. They’re such small details that get overlooked but I think they’re huge deals. I thought they came in and pounded the strike zone, and the other part is they acted like they’ve bene here before. That’s hard to do when you’ve got 20,000 people here and you’re playing Arkansas.”
The game was played at Globe Life Field in front of 20,244 fans, but at times it sounded more like Fayetteville, Ar. with the number of Razorback fans in attendance.
TCU silenced the Arkansas crowd early, though, scoring three runs in the top of the first to take a 3-0 lead. A two-run double off the bat of David Bishop got the scoring started, as he took the second pitch he saw and hit it to the wall in left-center field.
Luke Boyers singled Bishop in just moments later, bringing the TCU fans to their feet.
The Razorbacks jumped right back into the mix in the bottom of the inning, though, following a three-run home run off the bat of Jared Wegner.
TCU jumped back ahead in its half of the second, and chased Arkansas starter Will McEntire in the process. After the Frogs put runners on the corners with just one out, Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn went to his bullpen, calling on lefty Zack Morris.
Morris did his part to stop the threat, inducing a ground ball from Elijah Nunez, but Nunez beat out a potential double play throw to first base, scoring Tre Richardson and keeping the inning alive.
Similar to his counterpart, Cam Brown couldn’t make it through the second inning. After allowing a solo home run to Hudson Polk, Brown gave up two singles to put runners on the corners with two outs. Saarloos made the call to the bullpen, bringing in freshman righty Kole Klecker.
Klecker needed just three pitches to strike out Caleb Cali and end the Arkansas threat.
The Frogs gained their third and final lead of the night in the fifth inning. Cole Fontenelle’s first hit as a Horned Frog drove Bishop in from third base to put the Frogs up 5-4. Two batters later, Anthony Silva drew a bases-loaded walk to extend the Frogs lead by one.
TCU really broke things open with a four run sixth inning.
Byrne opened the scoring with an RBI single, followed by another bases-loaded walk – this time to Boyers. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from Fontenelle and Richardson extended TCU’s lead to 10-4.
Meanwhile, Klecker continued to deal out on the mound for TCU. The freshman struck out his final two batters in the sixth inning, following Arkansas’ third home run of the night, to keep TCU’s lead 10-5.
In the top of the seventh Davis launched a 400-foot no-doubt home run, celebrating just hard enough to get a warning from the umpire when he crossed home plate.
“He definitely gave me a celebration warning,” Davis said. “I guess I flipped the bat too high.”
TCU continued to pour it on, scoring three runs in the eighth and four more in the ninth to extend their lead to 18-5.
A solo home run off the bat of Jayson Jones in the bottom of the ninth gave the Razorbacks their sixth run of the evening, and elicited a calling of the Hogs from the few Arkansas fans remaining in the stadium.
Hackett’s next three pitches were all strikes, as he sat down Brady Slavens to close the book on TCU’s second dominant win of the season.
Other Showdown Games
Oklahoma State and Texas both dropped their Saturday games. The Cowboys opened the day with an 11-9 loss to Vanderbilt, while Texas was walked-off by Missouri, 6-5.
A double down the left field line couldn’t be fielded cleanly, allowing the winning run to come around to score for the Tigers.
Oklahoma State will have a chance to come away with a winning weekend when they face Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. central on Sunday, while Texas will try to avoid starting the season 0-3 when they face Vanderbilt at 1100 a.m.
TCU closes out the weekend with a Sunday evening game against Missouri. Cal transfer Sam Stoutenborough is expected to take the mound for TCU.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. central.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org