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Luke Savage reacts after getting the final out of TCU’s 7-4 win over Texas Tech (TCU athletics/Gregg Ellman).

 

By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer

 

 

 

FORT WORTH — Luke Savage let out a scream Thursday night alongside the fans at Lupton Stadium, just moments after throwing the final strike of the night.

Savage closed out TCU’s 7-4 win over No. 4 Texas Tech with a two-inning save, retiring six consecutive batters while striking out four.

Savage closed out a win that TCU desperately needed. The Frogs had lost their last two weekend series in Big 12 play and seven of their past 10 games overall.

Despite the perceived significance of the win, coach Kirk Saarloos didn’t buy in to a “big-game” mentality when asked afterward.

“We try to play as much as we can in terms of playing for today,” Saarloos said, “It’s cliche, but playing one pitch at a time, one inning at a time.”

The Frogs focused on carrying energy from their dugout to the diamond Thursday night, using the energy from the Lupton crowd as added fuel.

That energy didn’t kick in right away, though. Texas Tech got on the board first, scoring two runs in the the fourth inning. An error by David Bishop on a potential double-play ball allowed the first run to come across, and a single to left plated the second run.

The Frogs responded with a run in the fifth, when Hunter Teplanszky, making his second start of the season, ripped a double down the left-field line to bring Gray Rodgers around to score.

One inning later Tommy Sacco tied the game with his sixth home run of the season, a no-doubter into the general-admission fans beyond the right-field fence. Brayden Taylor and Bishop followed Sacco’s long ball with two singles, putting TCU in a great position to take the lead and knocking Texas Tech’s starter out of the game.

After a wild pitch moved Taylor and Bishop to third and second base, Kurtis Byrne hit a hard ground ball to first base. The first baseman stepped on the bag and threw home, but Taylor managed to slide his hand under the tag and put TCU in the lead, 3-2.

Bishop came to score a batter later as Luke Boyers doubled to the wall in right-center field.

TCU starter Riley Cornelio gave the Frogs another strong outing, working at least six innings for the fifth straight start and striking out a career-high nine. He was in line for the win, but an error kept Tech’s seventh inning alive and Easton Murrell made the Frogs pay.

Murrell took Cornelio deep for a two-run homer that tied the game at 4. Cornelio was pulled one batter later after walking Cole Stilwell to bring up Jace Jung.

Jung, arguably Tech’s most complete hitter, faced Augie Mihlbauer in a lefty-on-lefty duel with the go-ahead run at first. Mihlbauer used his entire arsenal, striking out Jung on a slider on the outer half of the plate to end the inning.

Although he faced just one batter, Mihlbauer was credited with the win on the night.

TCU didn’t waste time getting back on top, pushing two more runs across in the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. A Rodgers home run, just his second of the season, gave the Frogs an insurance run in the eighth.

Savage took it from there, flashing his upper-90s fastball mixed in with a slider and a changeup that drop into the low 80s. It’s a dominant arsenal, one that Savage has begun to deploy more regularly since he struggled through the first part of the season.

The Frogs did not need to use closer River Ridings, who could be available for the final two games of the series Friday and Saturday.

“If we can get away with winning a ballgame and not using both him and River, I think that’s huge.” coach Kirk Saarloos said after the game.

Savage is available Saturday after needing just 23 pitches to get through his outing, and Saarloos is impressed with his ability to get guys out on both sides of the plate.

“A lot of times when a guy has a lower arm slot that left-hander gives them a little bit more trouble, but he’s doing a really good job just executing pitches.” Saarloos said.

TCU now sits at 22-12 with a chance to take the series from Texas Tech. Marcelo Perez gets his second career start after pitching 3 1/3 innings to start TCU’s lone win over Texas last weekend.

Watch the full postgame interviews with Saarloos, Rodgers and Savage right here, or on the Frogs Today YouTube channel:

 

Luke Savage let out a scream alongside the fans at Lupton, just moments after throwing the final strike of the night. Savage closed out TCU’s 7-4 win over No. 4 Texas Tech with a two inning save, retiring six consecutive batters while striking out four.

“If we can get away with winning a ball game and not using both him and River, I think that’s huge.” Kirk Saarloos said after the game. Savage is available Saturday after needing just 23 pitches to get through his outing, and Saarloos is impressed with his ability to get guys out on both sides of the plate.

“A lot of times when a guy has a lower arm slot that left-hander gives them a little bit more trouble, but he’s doing a really good job just executing pitches.” Saarloos said.

Savage closed out a win that TCU desperately needed. The Frogs had lost their last two weekend series in Big 12 play and seven of their last ten games overall.

Despite the perceived significance of the win, Saarloos didn’t buy in to a “big game” mentality when asked afterward.

“We try to play as much as we can in terms of playing for today.” Saarloos said, “It’s cliche, but playing one pitch at a time, one inning at a time.”

The Frogs focused on carrying energy from their dugout to the diamond on Thursday night, using the energy from the Lupton crowd as added fuel to the fire.

That energy didn’t kick in right away, though. Texas Tech got on the board first, scoring two runs in the top of the fourth inning. An error by David Bishop on a potential double-play ball allowed the first run to come across, and a single to left plated the second run of the inning.

The Frogs responded with a run in the fifth, when Hunter Teplanszky, making his second start of the season, ripped a double down the left field line to bring Gray Rodgers around to score.

One inning later Tommy Sacco tied the game with his sixth home run of the season, a no-doubter into the general admission fans behind the right field fence. Brayden Taylor and David Bishop followed Sacco’s long ball with two singles, putting TCU in a great position to take the lead and knocking Texas Tech’s starter out of the game.

After a wild pitch moved Taylor and Bishop to third and second base, Kurtis Byrne hit a hard ground ball to first base. The first baseman stepped on the bag and threw home, but Taylor managed to slide his hand under the tag and put TCU in the lead, 3-2.

One batter later, Bishop came to score as Luke Boyers doubled to the wall in right-center field.

Riley Cornelio, TCU’s starter, gave the Frogs another strong outing. For the fifth start in a row Cornelio pitched through the sixth inning, striking out a career-high nine batters in the process. Cornelio was in line for the win after the Frogs took the lead in the sixth, but an error kept Tech’s seventh inning alive, and Easton Murrell made the Frogs pay.

Murrell hammered a Cornelio fastball out of Lupton, driving home Hudson White and tying the game at four. Cornelio was pulled one batter later, after walking Cole Stilwell to bring up Jace Jung.

Jung, arguably Tech’s most complete hitter, faced Augie Mihlbauer in a lefty on lefty duel with the game tied and a runner on first. Mihlbauer used his entire arsenal, striking out Jung on a slider on the outer-half of the plate to end the inning. Although he faced just one batter, Mihlbauer was credited with the win on the night.

TCU didn’t waste time getting back on top, pushing two more runs across in the seventh to take a 6-4 lead. A Rodgers home run, just his second of the season, gave the Frogs a 7-4 lead in the eighth.

Savage took it from there, flashing his upper 90s fastball, mixed in with a slider and a changeup that drop down into the low 80s. It’s a dominant arsenal, one that Savage has begun to deploy more regularly since he struggled through the first part of the season.

TCU now sits at 22-12 with a chance to take the series from Texas Tech on Friday night. Marcelo Perez gets his second career start on the mound after pitching 3 1/3 innings to start TCU’s lone win over Texas last weekend.

Watch the full postgame interviews with Kirk Saarloos, Gray Rodgers, and Luke Savage right here, or on the Frogs Today YouTube channel:

Jamie Plunkett

Just a Frog fan covering TCU Athletics.

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