It has been almost a month since the TCU baseball season ended. It was a season that saw the Horned Frogs go 38-22, win the Big 12 regular season, and play an epic game against a Top Five team in the last game.
There were highs, and there were lows. We had some great games, some fantastic walk-offs, and some painful losses. We saw players suffer injuries and then bounce back. And we saw a new head coach take the helm and assure Frog Nation that all was still under control.
Before the season gets too far in the rearview mirror, I wanted to reflect on some of my best memories of Frogball USA – the 2022 version.
The early season of baseball usually provides an opportunity to hit the road or jump on a plane to see the Frogs – whether it’s been Houston, Southern California, or somewhere else, I’ve been fortunate to make many an early-season trip. This year, I got two opportunities.
Opening Weekend was at the MLB 4 Tournament in Scottsdale. The Frogs went 2-1, with a win over San Diego State, a loss to Cal, then a run-ruled win over Houston. The weather in Scottsdale in mid-February was fantastic. Playing at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Colorado Rockies training camp facility was fantastic. Great stadium with nice views. The Frog Faithful were there in force.
A dear friend of many years, well, okay, decades, lives in nearby Chandler. I was able to stay at her beautiful home and reconnect in between games. And the freshly-baked sea salt chocolate chip cookies each day were better than any hotel could offer.
Globe Life Field Season Bookends
The Frogs went from one MLB ballpark to another when they played Nebraska for a weekend series at Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers. It was a great weekend of intense baseball, and the Frogs came out with the sweep. I watched 24 of the innings – only missing the last three of Saturday’s game to make the mad dash down I-30 to make it for the TCU vs. Tech basketball game. And we know how that game ended, so missing a few innings of Frogball was an acceptable option.
TCU at Globe Life Field
TCU at Globe Life Field
The Horned Frogs swept Nebraska in an early-season series at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
TCU at Globe Life Field
Brayden Taylor of TCU baseball during the Big 12 Tournament at Globe Life Field
The Frogs returned to Globe Life at the end of the season for the Big 12 Tournament, the first time the tourney was not in Oklahoma City for many years. Bookending the season in this ballpark is a great option which I hope continues – February and May can both be brutal at Lupton, so having the games inside made weather a nonfactor.
Bourbon & Baseball
When the Frogs’ schedule came out and had the four games in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, I at once began planning a Bourbon and Baseball trip. A couple of friends were going to make the trek with me but had to cancel. I made the trip solo. I enjoyed the games at UK, even though the Frogs could only take one of the three.
But I had some dang good bourbon when I wasn’t at the ballpark. I was enjoying a bourbon flight and some delicious food at Old Bourbon County Kitchen (I would highly recommend just for the "Bacon in a Glass" with the peanut butter sauce) and met David Bishop’s aunt. She had driven up from Atlanta to see him play, and we had a wonderful conversation about his early contributions to the team.
A walk-off win is always memorable. Doing it at home is fun. But dang, they can be stressful. Especially in those games when you ask, “How did we get in this situation, to begin with?” Speaking of Bishop, his bottom of the 11th grand slam walk-off against Incarnate Word on May 10 was all of that – fun to watch, tense as we went two extra innings, but all the while asking, “Is UIW that good?”
But if you’re going to enjoy a walk-off, why not do it twice! Such was the case on March 12 against Army. The Friday night game was canceled due to weather, so a doubleheader was played on Saturday. It took a 3-run Luke Boyer’s bottom of the 9th bomb to win the first game. And if that wasn’t enough, it took a bases-loaded walk of Elijah Nunez in the bottom of the 10th to win the next game. Two games in one day. Both walk-offs. Talk about stress, excitement, and more all rolled into a very long day of baseball!
Raise the Trophy
The last weekend of the regular season was a crazy one. There were so many scenarios of what could happen, but the stars aligned. Tech lost two games, OU didn’t sweep, and Baylor got one win over Oklahoma State. TCU was the outright regular-season conference champion. That weekend, the Frogs were playing a nonconference series against Santa Clara. The pressure was off as our conference play had concluded. By Sunday afternoon, the Frogs got to have a pregame honoring all the seniors and a postgame where they raised the championship trophy. And oh yeah, we got the sweep over Santa Clara too! It was a fun day to be at Lupton.
Until Next Year…
Did the season end in Omaha? No. But after that mid-season slump where we lost to UTSA, ACU, and lost a series to West Virginia, we thought we were doomed. But we bounced back, won the championship, and played a competitive College Station Regional game against the No. 3 team in the nation through eight innings.
This team was fun to watch. And our team is young. Six of our regular starters were either a freshman or sophomore this last season. The team isn’t going anywhere. Bring on the 2023 season!
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