TCU starter Sam Stoutenborough went 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits, three earned runs, walking one batter, and striking out three to help the Horned Frogs get to the Big 12 Championship Game. (Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Horned Frogs of TCU took care of business Saturday, beating Kansas State University 6-3 and earning a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game on Sunday.
The Horned Frogs offense mustered just three hits, but small ball tactics along with Kansas State’s three errors were enough to help them score six runs.
“I am disappointed with the way we played. I think I would have signed up for a red hot offense getting only three hits today, before the game…but we put them over at third base,” said Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes. “We did it four different times. There was just an inability to play catch. They played well enough and just played cleaner defense. We have been doing that all year long. So, it was a disappointing way to go out.”
In the top of the fourth, Wildcats catcher Raphael Pelletier unleashed a solo home run to the right field stands to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, TCU’s Cole Fontenelle drove a sacrifice fly to center field and catcher Karson Bowen scored to tie the game up at one.
During the top of the fifth inning, Wildcats shortstop Nick Goodwin hit a two-run single to right, scoring Brady Day and Cash Rugely and Kansas State went up 3-1.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Horned Frogs cut the deficit to one run when designated hitter Kurtis Byrne hit a solo home run into the left field seats to make it 3-2. A few batters later, Austin Davis’ sacrifice fly scored Logan Maxwell to tie the game up at three.
Kansas State starting pitcher Collin Rothermel pitched five innings, allowing three hits, three earned runs, walked three batters, and struck out one. Horned Frogs starting pitcher Sam Stoutenborough went 5.2 innings, allowing nine hits, three earned runs, walking one batter, and striking out three.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Horned Frogs broke the tie when Anthony Silva grounded into a 6-4-3 double play with the Kansas State infield trading two outs for a run. Brayden Taylor came in to score the go-ahead run and make it 4-3.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Horned Frogs looked to added insurance runs as second baseman Trace Richardson laid down a safety squeeze bunt and Fontanelle came in to score after breaking to the plate late from third base just as Kansas State reliever Owen Boerema picked up the baseball to throw out Richardson at first. Wildcats first baseman Roberto Pena then airmailed the throw to third base and Taylor came in to score to make it 6-3.
Boerema went three innings in relief with no hits allowed, no earned runs, walking two batters, and striking out four.
Kansas State will have to wait on the NCAA Selection Committee to see if they’ll be in the 64-team field for the NCAA Tournament.
TCU will play in the Big 12 Championship Game on Sunday at Globe Life Field against Oklahoma State at 6 p.m. EDT on ESPNU.