Catcher Evan Skoug launched his fourth home run in six games Sunday as No. 6 TCU rebounded for an 8-5 victory over Baylor, taking the series against the Bears two games to one.
One day removed from a puzzling 16-5 loss on home turf, the Frogs turned things around Sunday by using the long ball to power past Baylor for the series win, staying atop the Big 12 standings in the process. Skoug and Cam Warner connected for back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the third inning before Austen Wade launched another solo-shot in the bottom of the seventh.
Skoug’s shot continued a hot-streak at the plate for the junior, now with a team-high nine home runs on the year. Skoug hit three home runs a week ago during the series against West Virginia, including two in one game on April 15, and improved his on-base streak to 22 games.
TCU’s catcher wasn’t alone either in continuing recent success at the plate. Wade extended his own on-base streak to 25 games with the blast, while Warner tallied his thirteenth multi-hit game of 2017 in the win.
While production at the plate may have been the name of the game Sunday, TCU regrouped nicely from Saturday’s pitching fiasco, as starter Brian Howard provided 5 2/3 innings of two-run baseball, striking out six while allowing four hits and just one earned run. Howard improved to 6-2 on the season as he recorded the win, moving his ERA to 4.19.
After Baylor stranded a runner in the top of the first, TCU struck first in the contest when Josh Watson singled in Wade with two outs in the bottom half of the inning. The back-to-back homers from Skoug and Warner made it a 3-0 game, chasing pitcher Cody Bradford before the Bears fought back with two RBI singles in the top of the fourth to make it 3-2.
The Frogs added insurance late though, with Wade’s seventh inning blast building the lead back to two before TCU plated four runs in the eighth inning, breaking the game wide open at 8-2. The Frogs’ rally began with a one-out bases-loaded situation after Watson walked and Nolan Brown and Michael Landestoy recorded back-to-back singles off Baylor reliever Kyle Hill.
Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez replaced Hill with Joe Heineman in hopes of escaping the jam, only for Heineman to walk in a run in his first batter faced. One batter later, Elliott Barzilli doubled to left field, scoring Landestoy and Brown to make it 7-2. Wade then hit a sac-fly after a pitching change to give the Frogs an 8-2 lead.
The game wouldn’t end without drama for TCU, however. One week after blowing his first career save, closer Durbin Feltman failed to finish the contest when he walked the bases loaded for the second Sunday in a row. TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle drew on Haylen Green to seal the deal, but Green walked in the first batter he saw, making it 8-3 with one out.
After inducing a strikeout, Baylor clawed even closer with two-out double from Richard Cunningham, making it an 8-5 game with two runners on base. With Shea Langeliers representing the tying run at the plate, Schlossnagle handed the ball over to Dalton Brown for the final out. Brown got Langeliers to swing and miss on an 0-2 count, giving TCU the 8-5 win and the series victory, 2-1.
The Frogs reached the 30-win mark with the victory, now at 30-8 on the season and 11-4 in conference play. It was Brown’s fist career save.
UP NEXT: TCU will return to action Tuesday night against Stephen F. Austin for the final game of their homestand. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at Lupton Stadium.