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Big 12 Tournament: Kansas Tops TCU 11-10

 Leif Skodnick  |    May 24th, 2024 7:12pm EDT

TCU senior third baseman Luke Boyers hit a crucial home run for the Horned Frogs, but it wasn’t enough to get past Kansas. (Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference)

Arlington, Texas – On the fourth day of the Big 12 Conference tournament with the sun glaring its shadows through the plate glass windows in the late morning at Globe Life Field with a periods of dark clouds right outside the chapel of College Baseball, the No. 7 seed Kansas Jayhawks beat the No. 9 seed Texas Christian University Horned Frogs 11-10.  

TCU (33-20) and fell to No. 35 in the RPI with the loss. The Horned Frogs will have to wait until Monday to see where they will be playing in  the 2024 NCAA tournament. 

The Kansas offense showed early life on Friday, exploding for nine runs in the bottom of the first inning against the TCU pitching staff. 

Jayhawks senior catcher Jake English got the offense started with a two-run single into left field, scoring sophomore third baseman Kodey Shojinaga and senior center fielder John Nett for the first two runs of the game.

A few batters later, Chase Diggins drilled a two-run single into center field, scoring English and Collier Cranford to extend the lead to 4-0. 

That brought TCU head coach Kirk Saarloos out of the dugout sto replace starting pitcher Chase Hoover with Cole Klecker. Hoover threw just .2 of an inning and allowed three hits, seven earned runs, three walks, and one strikeout. 

John Nett smacked a two-run double into the left-center field gap, scoring junior second baseman Chase Diggins and junior left fielder Mike Koszweski to make it 6-0. 

Kodey Shojinaga capped the nine-run inning with a screaming double down the left field line, scoring Koszewski, Nett, and Ben Hartl to jump out to a 9-0 lead early. 

TCU got on the scoreboard in the top of the second inning when Jack Basseer hit a solo home run over the left field fence. A few batters later, Karson Bowen launched a two-run home run over the left-center wall Jack Arthur scoring to make it 9-3. 

In the top of the third inning, TCU cut the deficit to three runs when Kurtis Byrne launched a three-run home run, scoring Sam Myers and Anthony Silva to make it 9-6. 

In the top of the fifth inning, got another when Byrne hit a solo home run, his second of the game, into the left field seats, to make it a 10-7 ballgame. 

Kansas starter Dominic Voegele threw five innings and allowed seven hits, seven earned runs, while striking out six batters, and facing 23 batters before yielding to Cooper Moore. 

In the top of the seventh inning with two outs, the TCU offense got a huge spark from senior third baseman Luke Boyers. Boyers cracked a two-run home run over the right field wall off Jayhawks relief pitcher Tegan Cain, scoring Silva to tie the game up at 10-10. 

“You throw up a nine spot in the first and the easiest thing would have been, you play a seven-inning game. You put your head between your tail and you drive back to Fort Worth and you cash it in,” Boyers said. “That’s the difference between a team that truly cares and never thinks they’re out of it and has a lot of toughness and grit.” 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Kansas’ English sent a solo home run into the left-center field bullpen off Horned Frogs relief pitcher Braeden Sloan give the Jayhawks an 11-10 lead. 

Fitzgerald trusted his bullpen and kept righty Hunter Cranton in the game to record the final six outs of the game. 

Cranton got the job done with the tying run standing 90 feet away, getting  Chase Brunson fly out for the final out. 

TCU is 17-7 at Globe Life Field since the venue opened in 2020. 

“I thought we did a phenomenal job at doing that and hopefully in defeat we can take and look for the good things that carry with us moving forward,” Saarloos said. “A heartbreaking loss but at the same time, super proud of the way they competed as the game continued to move on.” 

The Horned Frogs will wait for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. 

Kansas played No. 19 Oklahoma and lost 8-6 on a two-run home run from Sooner junior second baseman Jackson Nicklaus in the second straight game of the Big 12 Conference tournament semifinals on Friday shortly after beating TCU 11-10.

Kansas’s overall record was 31-22 heading into their game against Oklahoma on Friday and their conference record at 15-15.

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Leif Skodnick