Steven Branscombe, USA Today Sports

Frogs’ bats struggle, late comeback not enough in 4-3 loss to Kansas

After taking the first two, TCU couldn't complete the sweep on Sunday, losing to Kansas, 4-3.

After rebounding from a bumpy California road-trip with two-straight wins at home, the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs couldn’t overcome the Kansas Jayhawks in Sunday’s series finale at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, falling 4-3 after TCU reliever Sean Wymer allowed solo home-run to Owen Taylor in the ninth inning that broke a 3-3 tie.

The Frogs did not record a hit until the eighth inning, when Connor Wanhanen hit a one out double off Kansas starting pitcher Jackson Goddard. Down 3-0, the Frogs struck for three runs before the inning came to an end to knot the contest heading to the ninth, but Taylor’s long-ball with one out in the ninth negated the comeback and pushed the Jayhawks on to victory. TCU finished the day with only three hits in the loss. 

The game evolved into a pitchers duel for the first five innings, tied 0-0 as Goddard and TCU starting pitcher Brian Howard only surrendered one hit combined in the span. The Jayhawks however finally found an answer to Howard in the sixth when a walk and two singles gave them a 1-0 lead with 2 outs, ending Howard’s day. He finished with four strikeouts over 100 pitches.

TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle turned to reliever Charles King to record the final out of the inning, but King was unable to answer the bell, as Kansas third baseman David Kyriacou singled to make it a 2-0 game before King got the third out on the next at-bat. Two innings later, Kyriacou recorded another RBI single, this time off TCU reliever Jake Eissler to put the Jayhawks up 3-0.

The Frogs, however, refused to go down with a fight. After Ryan Merrill walked with one out in the eighth, Wanhanen ended Goddard’s no hitbit with a double to left before a bases-loading walk to Austen Wade on the next at-bat ended Goddard’s day. He finished with seven strikeouts and six walks over 118 pitches.

With reliever Stephen Villines now on the mound for Kansas, Cam Warner recorded an RBI single on the next at bat to finally but the Frogs on the board, down 3-1. With the bases still loaded, Evan Skoug immediately followed up with a with another single, scoring Wade and Wanhanen to tie it at 3-3 while Warner was caught up between second and third for the second out of the inning.

The tie-game would only last three more at-bats however, as Taylor’s solo-shot with one out in the ninth put the Jayhawks back on top, 4-3. A fielding error by Kansas put Nolan Brown on second with no outs to begin the bottom half of the inning before advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Villines was able to limit the damage, getting Merrill to fly out to center before striking out Wanhanen to end the ballgame. Villines picked up the win (1-2) while Wymer recorded the loss (1-1).

The Frogs brought home the series win, but fell to 14-5 with the loss, their fourth in a span of eight days. TCU will return to action when they face Abilene Christian University on Tuesday night in Abilene, with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.

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