TCU’s Tre Richardson, right, and Karson Bowen celebrate a Horned Frogs run during the Big 12 Championship at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. (Photo Courtesy of the Big 12 Conference)
By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network
Texas Christian University’s designated hitter Kurtis Byrne led the offensive charge for the Horned Frogs hitting two home runs in the Fayetteville Regional to knock out the No. 3-ranked University of Arkansas Razorbacks (43-18) in the NCAA Tournament 12-4 and advance to a Super Regional.
The 2023 Big 12 Conference champion TCU Horned Frogs (40-22) will appear in their eighth Super Regional and will look to reach their first Division I College World Series since 2017.
TCU just used two pitchers yesterday during the clincher.
Horned Frogs starting pitcher Cam Brown pitched 4.1 innings, allowing two hits, four earned runs, walking four batters, and striking out four through 86 pitches. Horned Frogs reliever Ben Abeldt went the rest of the way, throwing 4.2 innings, allowing one hit, no earned runs, walking two batters, and striking out four through 65 pitches.
During the top of the first inning, the Razorbacks’ Ben McLaughlin drove a sacrifice fly to left field and Josenberger came in to score the first run of the game.
In the bottom of the second inning, Horned Frogs right fielder Austin Davis drove a two-run RBI single to left center field and Byrne and shortstop Anthony Silva came in to score as TCU took the lead at 2-1.
Razorbacks starting pitcher Cody Adcock lasted just 1.1 innings, allowing one hit, two earned runs, walked one batter, and struck out two through 36 pitches.
During the top of the fifth inning, Arkansas took the lead once back when Jack Bohrofen launched a two-run home run to center field with Tavian Josenberger coming in to score as the Razorbacks went up 3-2. The next batter, Arkansas left fielder Jared Wegner, lifted a solo home run over the right field fence to go up 4-2.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, the Horned Frogs inched back into the game as Tre Richardson hit a ground ball to second base scoring catcher Karson Bowen, and TCU cut the deficit to one run at 4-3.
During the bottom of the sixth, TCU’s Austin Davis launched a two-run home run over the left field wall scoring Silva and the Horned Frogs took a 5-4 lead. A few batters later, Horned Frogs first baseman Cole Fontenelle roped a RBI single to right-center field and center fielder Elijah Nunez came in to score to extend the lead to two runs.
In the bottom of the seventh, Byrne launched a solo home run to right center field to go up 7-4.
During the bottom of the eighth inning, the Horned Frogs added five more runs, starting with Fontenelle’s two-run double to left field, scoring Bowen and Brayden Taylor to put TCU up 9-4.
The next batter, Horned Frogs second baseman Tre Richardson, drilled a two-run home run to center field, scoring Fontenelle to make it an 11-4 ballgame. Richardson’s home run was his fourth home run in two games, after his three homer, 11 RBI day Sunday – a surprise power display, considering Richardson had just two home runs during the 2023 regular season.
The next batter, Byrne, launched a solo home run over the right field to cap the scoring at 12-4.
The Horned Frogs pitching staff combined for three hits allowed, six walks, and eight strikeouts during Monday’s 12-4 win.
TCU’s 40th win of the season marked the 13th time that the program has won 40 games in a season and recorded their ninth consecutive win, which is their longest win streak since the 2021 season.
TCU will play No.14 Indiana State University this upcoming weekend in the Super Regional Round, which will be hosted by TCU. Game one of the Super Regional will start at 5 p.m. EDT Friday, June 9, with game two scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m. EDT. Game three, if necessary, will be played Sunday, June 11 at a time to be determined.