TCU ended the regular season Saturday the way it wanted to — with another win to produce a five-game winning streak and some momentum that can be loaded on the bus headed for Oklahoma City.
Jared Janczak, making his second start, pitched five strong innings, and Josh Watson and Connor Wanhanen each drove in two runs as the Horned Frogs swept a three-game Big 12 series against Kansas State with a 9-3 victory at Lupton Stadium.
The No. 11 Frogs (38-14, 15-9) were assured the No. 3 seed in the Big 12 tournament before the game, so they will open in Oklahoma City against No. 6 seed Baylor at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
TCU is in a pool with Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas at the Big 12 tournament next week. The Horned Frogs open against Baylor at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
“We had a talk this morning as a club about what great teams do, and great teams, they find ways to win,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “They continue to get better. They ride out the ebbs and flows of the season, and I think this team has done that.”
Janczak (6-3), a redshirt freshman from Belton who entered the rotation last week at Baylor after 19 relief appearances, allowed a solo home run among three hits, struck out four and walked none.
Schlossnagle called the performance “outstanding” and said Janczak could have pitched longer if not for the conference tournament.
“We didn’t want him to go much beyond 70, 75 pitches,” Schlossnagle said. “With the way the tournament is set up, he could have to be back as early as Friday if we’re there beyond two games. It made it a lot easier when we scored six runs in the bottom of the fifth.”
I really feel like we’re going to play well in the postseason ... We have enough guys that have been in that situation. I really feel like the lights will come on for them.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle
Those six runs scored on Ryan Merrill’s triple, Elliott Barzilli’s sacrifice fly, Watson’s sharp single past the mound and Wanhanen’s flare to short left. It was TCU’s highest-scoring inning in 12 games.
Kansas State (26-29) used nine pitchers, walked nine hitters and hit two.
TCU’s Dane Steinhagen, pulled with two outs in the ninth so he and reliever Preston Guillory could come off the field for an ovation, added to his team-leading RBI count (46) with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Cam Warner broke an 0-for-24 slump with an RBI single in the sixth.
6Runs in the fifth inning for TCU, its highest-scoring inning since a seven-run fifth against Texas Tech on April 30, 12 games ago.
“I really feel like we’re going to play well in the postseason,” Schlossnagle said. “What that means, I don’t know. I think we have enough guys that have been in that situation. I really feel like the lights will come on for them.”
TCU’s scoreless inning streak out of the bullpen ended at 16 1/3 innings when Drew Gooch allowed a single, double and single to start the seventh. Ryan Burnett, Dalton Brown and Brian Trieglaff each pitched a shutout inning for TCU.
“Dalton Brown, really, really good stuff,” Schlossnagle said. “Probably the next time he pitches, there’s going to be a little bit more on the line than today.”
Actually, that goes for everybody.
Fischer, Zubradt (2), Erickson (4), Floyd (4), Wiley (5), Jones (5), Kalmus (5), Benenati (7), Heinen (8) and Moore. Janczak, Burnett (6), Gooch (7), Brown (8), Trieglaff (9) and Plunkett. W—Janczak (6-3). L—Erickson (1-1). 2B—KSU: Moore. TCU: Steinhagen. 3B—TCU: Merrill. HR—KSU: Scudder. SB—TCU: Wade, Barzilli, Watson, Merrill. CS—TCU: Watson, Steinhagen. E—KSU: Scudder, Moore, Krause.
RECORDS — TCU 38-14, 15-9 Big 12. Kansas St. 26-29, 8-16.