By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today senior writer
FORT WORTH – Three home runs powered TCU to a 5-4 win on Sunday afternoon, as the Frogs took the rubber match and the series from San Diego.
Brayden Taylor, Austin Davis, and Kurtis Byrne all hit home runs on the day as the Frogs continue to be relatively dependent on the long ball. TCU coach Kirk Saarloos knows that isn’t the most sustainable way to win games, but for now it’s what they’ve got.
“You want your lineup to be a tough lineup one through nine,” Saarloos said. “Trey’s having good at bats, obviously it was good to see Kurtis run into a ball, Brayden run into a ball, but we’ve got to be more consistent throughout our lineup to be able to kind of string things together and not be solely dependent on the home run.”
Cam Brown labored through his outing, needing 81 pitches to get through 4 1/3 innings of work, but he managed to give up just one run before turning the game over to the bullpen.
San Diego took the lead in the top of the second inning, as Brown’s control wavered. A leadoff double was followed by a bunt single, as the Frogs couldn’t execute on the bunt coverage. A ground ball to Richardson pushed a run across, giving the Toreros a 1-0 lead.
Brown got behind in the count to four of the five batters in the inning, prompting a mound visit from Saarloos with two outs in the inning. The visit worked, as Brown got a ground ball out to end the inning, stranding a runner in scoring position.
Brown’s control didn’t return, as he got deep in counts for the rest of his outing, but he managed to keep the Toreros lead to just one.
Sam Stoutenborough came on in relief of Brown in the fifth inning, stranding a runner on base and keeping the game 1-0 for the time being.
San Diego got to Stoutenborough in the sixth inning, taking advantage of Brayden Taylor’s fourth error of the season. With two outs, Taylor fielded a ground ball hit by Kevin Sim, but his throw pulled David Bishop off the base. Sim advanced on a wild pitch from Stoutenborough, and scored on a double off the bat of James Arakawa, giving San Diego a 2-0 lead.
The Torero’s lead didn’t last long. Tre Richardson led the inning off with his second hit of the game, before Taylor hit his fourth home run of the season and second of the weekend to tie things up 2-2.
Two batters later TCU took the lead, as Austin Davis launched a home run into the Frogs’ bullpen to put them up 3-2. For Davis it was his third home run of the season, and first at Lupton Stadium. Davis’ first two home runs of the year came in major league parks – Globe Life Field and Minute Maid Park.
Kurtis Byrne gave the Frogs some insurance in the next inning, hitting his first home run of the season and scoring Taylor to give TCU a 5-2 lead. Byrne watched the ball leave the park before tossing his bat into the air, which brought San Diego’s head coach out of the dugout to complain.
Following his conversation with the umpires, Byrne was issued a celebration warning.
TCU needed the insurance Byrne provided, as San Diego battled back in the final inning.
The Toreros put two runners on base with two outs in the inning, prompting Saarloos to go to the bullpen and bring on Louis Rodriguez for the second straight day.
Rodriguez walked a runner and gave up a two-run double to make the score 5-4, before getting a lazy fly ball out to Luke Boyers to end the game.
For Rodriguez it was his second save in as many days, as Saarloos continues to become more reliant on the freshman.
“Late in games you go to people you trust,” Saarloos said. “And obviously Abeldt and and Louis are two guys that that we trust and our team trusts a ton.”
TCU heads on the road for their first true road trip of the season, with a midweek contest against Texas State ahead of a weekend series against Oklahoma in Norman.
Jamie Plunkett, firstname.lastname@example.org