By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
ARLINGTON – TCU’s bats did enough to win on Sunday, but the defense let them down.
Five errors, four of which came in the seventh inning or later, led to extended innings and several runs as the Frogs fell to Missouri 9-8 in 10 innings. Coach Kirk Saarloos knew that cost the Frogs as they squandered a four run lead.
“We gave [Missouri] a little bit too much,” Saarloos said. “On a Sunday you can’t give people extra outs. Really any game, but especially on a Sunday when you’re starting to get a little bit thin from a bullpen standpoint.”
After two wins over top 10 opponents, TCU ends the weekend with a loss on their ledger. While that’s never the goal, Saarloos noticed something from his team in the defeat.
“The feeling of victory is not quite as sweet as the agony of defeat,” Saarloos said. “They’re disappointed that we couldn’t finish off the weekend. You never want to lose a ballgame but I liked how they competed and I can tell that it meant a lot to them in terms of not coming out on the right end of it.”
Cal transfer Sam Stoutenborough got the start for TCU and put together quite an interesting pitching line. The tall righty used a good mixture of pitches throughout his appearance, striking out seven, but also allowing seven hits for two earned runs in four innings pitched.
Stoutenborough made good use of his changeup as an out pitch on the evening, but left his fastball over the middle too often, allowing Missouri to get men on base.
He did a good job of minimizing the damage, though, stranding seven runners on base.
“I thought his changeup was really good,” Saarloos said. “They didn’t miss his fastball, and that’s something that we’ve got to get better at in terms of being able to pitch with that a little bit more often and get to some spots. I thought his changeup was huge in terms of getting back-to-back strikeouts against their one and two-hole hitter in that bases loaded situation was phenomenal.”
Arizona transfer Javyn Pimental started on the mound for Missouri, but couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. Back-to-back walks ended his night, and his relief didn’t help him out by allowing both runners to come around to score. He finished the night having allowed five earned runs.
Missouri got the scoring started in the top of the first inning, with an RBI double off the bat of Ross Lovich. Lovich appeared to limp into second base, causing the Missouri training staff to come check on him. He stayed at second base for one pitch, but was then brought off the field for a pinch runner.
Stoutenborough retired the next two batters without incident, turning the game over to his lineup.
As they’ve done all weekend, TCU’s bats didn’t waste much time. Austin Davis led things off with a bunt single, and Elijah Nunez reached base after taking a pitch from Pimental off the helmet.
Danny Wheat, TCU’s trainer, and coach Kirk Saarloos came out to check on Nunez, but he stayed in the game.
After an action rule penalty brought the count to 3-1, Brayden Taylor pulled a single into right field, scoring Davis from second. Two batters later, David Bishop hit his third double of the weekend to score Nunez and Taylor and give the Frogs a 3-1 lead.
Catcher Trey Morris brought the Tigers to within one run in the third inning with an RBI single.
The score stayed at 3-2 until the bottom of the fourth, when the Frogs surged for three more runs. Back-to-back walks to lead off the inning ended Pimental’s night for Missouri, with Carter Rustad coming on in relief.
Rustad’s first batter was Bowen, who laid down a bunt that bounced back towards the mound. Rustad fielded the ball and threw to third, but the ball went wide of the base and rolled into foul territory. Boyers rounded third and scored on the error, while Richardson reached third base. Anthony Silva’s groundout scored Richardson, and Davis followed with a double to left that plated Bowen, giving the Frogs a 6-2 lead.
Missouri spent the next four innings clawing their way back into the game while TCU’s bats went quiet for the first time all weekend.
The Tigers got one run in the fifth to cut TCU’s lead to 6-3.
Then, in the seventh, untimely mistakes by TCU helped Missouri push two more runs across the plate. A throwing error from Tre Richardson put the leadoff man aboard, before a walk added another runner to the mix.
That led to Saarloos’ first pitching change of the inning, as he pulled River Ridings in favor of Cohen Feser. Two batters later, following a single and a strikeout, Saarloos brought on Ben Abeldt for his second outing in as many days.
The freshman lefty should have been out of the inning unscathed. Instead, Bishop misplayed a pop up in foul territory, letting it hit the ground. That was followed up by a single that pushed across the first run of the inning.
Next, a ground ball to Taylor should have cut off the rally, but he kicked the ball and another run came across to score, cutting TCU’s lead to 6-5.
Missouri tied things up in the eighth inning, as Abeldt gave way to closer Garrett Wright. A leadoff triple came home to score on a groundout to shortstop, before a pop up to Silva ended the inning.
TCU’s bats couldn’t get much going against Missouri’s bullpen, and in a close situation the Tigers brought on their closer Zach Franklin. The hard-throwing righty struck TCU out in order in the eighth, giving way to his lineup to try and take the lead.
The Tigers did just that, sending eight batters up in the inning and scoring two runs, taking the lead 8-6.
After lying dormant for four innings, TCU’s bats woke up again…sort of.
Cole Fontenelle, pinch hitting for Silva, worked his way about after being hit by a pitch. Back-to-back walks by Nunez and Taylor loaded the bases with one out.
Byrne worked the count full, but struck out on an impressive slider away from Franklin. Bishop, the next batter, got down 0-2 in the count before singling to left field, plating two runs and tying the ballgame.
A Boyers fly ball ended the inning, sending the game into extras.
Missouri jumped right back on top with the help of two more Frog errors, one by Taylor and one by Bowen.
The Frogs couldn’t muster another comeback in the bottom of the tenth, going down in order for the Frogs’ first loss of the season.
TCU heads home to the friendly confines of Lupton Stadium on Wednesday night, where they’ll host UT Arlington in the first of three midweek games between the two teams.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org