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ARLINGTON, Texas – TCU used a five-run sixth inning Thursday afternoon to break open a close game against Kansas in the Big 12 Championship and top the Jayhawks 14-4 in eight innings at Globe Life Field.
Trailing 5-4 in the middle of the sixth, the Jayhawks were going toe-to-toe with the fourth-seeded Horned Frogs. But TCU (35-22) scored five runs on four hits, including a two-run homer to take a 10-4 lead, before adding one more in the seventh and three in the eighth to secure a run-rule victory.
The Jayhawks (25-31) dropped to 1-1 in Big 12 Championship play and will now play Kansas State (34-23) in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Friday in an elimination game. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT.
“We’ll be back tomorrow, ready to go,” Coach Dan Fitzgerald said. “I just told the guys after the game that we don’t have the luxury to spend a lot of time on this one. Let’s get our minds right and be ready to compete tomorrow. Thankfully, we’ve approached every game with that end of the season mentality of this is the only game we’re promised. These guys will bounce back, and we’ll fight tomorrow. I have zero questions about that.”
For the second straight day, Kansas got on the scoreboard first. Mike Koszewski started the game with an 11-pitch walk to get a man on base to start. After a strikeout, Kodey Shojinaga singled through the right side to move Koszewski to third and put runners on the corners. A hit by pitch then loaded the bases for Michael Brooks, who lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Koszewski and make it 1-0.
TCU responded in the bottom half of the inning, however. The Horned Frogs scored three runs off a single and triple to take a 3-1 lead after the first.
The Jayhawks got it to within one in the second, thanks to a 400-foot home run from Luke Leto. Kansas then tied the game an inning later when Cole Elvis doubled with two outs to score Janson Reeder and knot the game at three apiece.
The Horned Frogs responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half, though, to regain the lead at 5-3. Kansas chipped away in the sixth inning when Jake English homered to left to make it 5-4 for his ninth home run of the season.
But TCU had its answer in the bottom half with its five-run frame and then cruised from there.
Reeder and Koszewski both had two-hit nights for the Jayhawks, while Leto and English both went deep. Elvis hit his team-high-tying 16th double in the loss.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Win: Luke Savage (3-3)
Final line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO
Loss: Hunter Cranton (3-4)
Final line: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 SO
• Kansas fell to 13-23 all-time in the Big 12 Championship and 2-2 against TCU in the tournament.
• English hit his ninth home run of the season.
• Leto blasted his eighth home run of the year.
Kansas plays Kansas State in the Dillons Sunflower Showdown on Friday afternoon in an elimination game at 3 p.m. CT at Globe Life Field. The winner will advance to Saturday to face TCU at 9 a.m. CT, while the losing team will be eliminated from the tournament. Friday’s game will be broadcast on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.