Pitching dazzles in TCU’s 5-2 win over West Virginia in the Big 12 Championship

Jay Hinton/Courtesy of TCU Athletics

TCU continued its dominance at Globe Life Field in the team’s 5-2 win over West Virginia on Tuesday in the 2024 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.

The Horned Frogs got their Big 12 Championship defense off to a good start and improved their record to 16-5 at Globe Life Field.

Head coach Kirk Saarloos was impressed by how his team rebounded after dropping their final series, including losing their last two in a row, against West Virginia to end the regular season.

“There was no hangover effect from a really tough way to end a regular season two days ago, you know, I thought they put it in the rearview mirror, they’re ready to go and just played really clean baseball, which was great,” Saarloos said.

The Horned Frogs rank fourth in ERA in the Big 12 and their pitching was dominant in Tuesday’s win.

TCU started Caedmon Parker on the mound and the redshirt sophomore had one of his best games of the season giving up two runs off two hits in five innings of work with four walks and seven strikeouts.

Parker is a Texas native who played his high school baseball at The Woodlands Christian Academy before committing to TCU and missed all of last season with an injury.

It was Parkers’ longest outing of his career surpassing his previous high of 4.1 innings in his previous start against New Mexico State and he set a new career high in strikeouts surpassing his previous mark of five, also set against New Mexico State.

“I kind of feel like it’s all due to the coaches that we have guiding us in the right direction on how to handle adversity, going one pitch at a time and things like that and for me, you know, obviously, I was really just trying to take it pitch by pitch batter by batter,” Parker said, “My biggest thing has been a short memory, a lot of confidence and just trying to execute as many pitches out of my total as I can.”

Braeden Sloan came on in relief and followed Parker’s lead tossing four scoreless innings in relief and allowing only one hit while striking out six.

Sloan spoke about how his faith helped him prepare for games like Tuesdays.

“I went through a pretty rough, couple of months where I just wasn’t seeing good outings and a testament to the coaches just having faith in me, kept throwing me out there, letting me work through what I needed to work through. And honestly, what God has done for me, in the moment it’s tough when you have a rough patch,” Sloan said. “But God really just showed me why his thoughts are higher than my thoughts and why his ways are higher than my ways and he provided me through that two month period with the tools I needed to go out there and do what I did for the team today.”

The Horned Frog offense was able to get runners on base throughout the game, getting the bases loaded in the fourth and fifth innings but struggled to get those runners across the plate, only scoring two runs across both innings.

TCU hit 3-for-14 with runners on base and 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the game. Despite their production Saarloos was happy with the offense’s approach to the game.

“You gotta give credit to West Virginia, they, they did a good job pitching out of some different innings and limiting our [offense] and not letting us get crooked numbers, which made the game closer than what I thought it probably was,” the coach said after the game. “I thought we had a good offensive game plan that we executed pretty well, just didn’t really get the big hit to kind of bust it open.”

Logan Maxwell and Brody Green performed well at the plate for TCU, going a combined 4-for-9 with one RBI and three runs scored in the game.

TCU will play the No. 1 seed Oklahoma Sooners at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday and the game will air on ESPN+.