OKLAHOMA CITY – No. 2 TCU's early runs and pitching effort proved too tough for No. 7 Kansas as the Horned Frogs posted a 6-0 shutout Friday night in game 10 of the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.
TCU got off to an early lead with two bases-loaded singles, one by Nolan Brown and the other by Ryan Merrill. The Horned Frogs went up 4-0 on those two hits.
The Horned Frogs extended their lead in the fourth as Connor Wanhanen scored on a wild pitch after a leadoff triple. Austin Wade also reached home on a balk to take TCU's run total to six.
TCU benefitted from a complete game from right-handed pitcher Brian Howard. Howard struck out a career-high 12 batters and limited Kansas to four hits in the shutout. Brian recorded his ninth win of the season.
The Jayhawks walked five batters for the day, three of which to start off the game. Kansas' combined five pitchers held TCU to five hits on the day.
Big 12 Championship Notes
- TCU is currently 11-6 all-time in the Big 12 Championship.
- KU is currently 10-17 all-time in the Big 12 Championship.
- TCU earns its first win over Kansas in Big 12 Championship play.
- No. 2 seeds are currently 42-32 all-time in the Big 12 Championship.
- No. 7 seeds are currently 23-36 all-time in the Big 12 Championship.
- TCU advances to play Texas Saturday afternoon. Kansas is eliminated with their second loss of the Championship.
TCU (41-15, 2-1 Big 12 Championship)
- The Horned Frogs took advantage early, scoring four runs on two hits and three walks.
- Brian Howard was dominant in a full nine innings, giving up only four hits, no walks, and striking out a career-high 12 batters. (previous 11 vs Murray State)
- Howard now leads the 2017 Big 12 Championship strikeout total with 12. He was one strikeout shy of the all-time Big 12 Championship record (13 by Baylor's Kendal Volz, 2007). He also became the third pitcher of the Championship to throw a complete game.
- Tonight's outing was Howard's first full complete game pitched in nine innings. He previously pitched a complete game in a 8.5-inning loss against Texas on March 26, 2016.
- Ryan Merrill went 2-for-4 with two RBIs marking his eighth multiple RBI game of the season.
Kansas (30-28, 1-2 Big 12 Championship)
- Freshman James Cosentino made his 60th start in 60 career games for the Jayhawks. He was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week twice during the regular season.
- Starting pitcher Sean Rackoski walked the first three batters of the game. He went 1/3 of an inning, giving up three runs on two hits.
STAT OF THE GAME:
12 – TCU's Brian Howard recorded 12 strikeouts for a new career high. It is the most strikeouts recorded by a single pitcher in this year's Championship.
With TCU's victory, the Horned Frogs advance to face No. 6 Texas in game 12 of the Championship. First pitch for Saturday's contest is set for 12:30 p.m. CT. Should TCU win, the two teams will face off again at 7:30 p.m. CT with the winner going to the Championship final. Kansas is eliminated from the Big 12 Championship.