The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Cougars hold Horned Frogs to flame, drop match in 12-inning classic

Russell tallies career-high four hits, Grillo strikes out seven in relief in WSU baseball’s 8-7 loss to No. 5 TCU
WSU+infielder+Kyle+Russell+dives+for+home+plate+during+an+NCAA+collegiate+baseball+game+against+Utah%2C+April+1%2C+at+Bailey-Brayton+Field.
COLE QUINN
WSU infielder Kyle Russell dives for home plate during an NCAA collegiate baseball game against Utah, April 1, at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Before the ESPN+ score bug could even fade onto the screen, senior shortstop Kyle Russell sent the first pitch he saw sailing over the left-field fence.

One pitch into the game, WSU baseball led the No. 5 TCU Horned Frogs, 1-0.

The Horned Frogs built a 7-3 lead in the fifth inning before the WSU pen tossed 6.2 straight scoreless innings and Casen Taggart and Joey Kramer cranked two-run doubles to tie the game at 7-7.

The WSU-TCU dual ended with a Horned Frogs’ bases-loaded walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th as WSU (5-3) lost to No. 5 TCU (8-0)  8-7 in 12 innings.

Senior right-handed pitcher Duke Brotherton allowed four runs, and seven hits while striking out three and walking four over 4.0 innings. Transfer junior Kaden Wickersham, who on Saturday shoved 3.0 scoreless versus the Kansas Jayhawks, allowed three runs in 1.0 inning.

In the top of the second, third baseman Cole Cramer cranked a one-out triple, but could not find his way home after Nate Swarts struck out and Crew Parke flied out.

Down 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Swarts blistered the ball out to the scoreboard in left-center field. It was Swarts’ third home run in six games.

The Cougs’ two runs had come via the long ball through 4.0+ innings, but Wazzu was far from done.

Parke singled on an 0-2 pitch and Russell startled a 1-1 fastball for a single of his own. TCU’s senior starter Ben Hampton stuck out WSU senior Alan Shibley and left the game after 4.1 innings.

Then, TCU sophomore right-hander Louis Rodriguez allowed his inherited lead runner to score off a Taggart single. WSU trailed 4-3.

The Horned Frogs added three runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth off of Wickersham to forge a 7-3 lead.

TCU used five pitchers to navigate the final four regularly scheduled four innings.

Wazzu kept themselves within striking distance with 3.0 scoreless innings of long relief from Kevin Haynes, a senior Sacramento State transfer. Two days after hitting two batters and walking another while failing to record an out versus Texas State, Haynes worked 3.0 nearly spotless frames, allowing no runs, one hit, one walk and striking out three.

He did not act alone. Senior catcher Jacob Morrow caught a runner stealing to send the Cougs to the top of the ninth down by three.

The ninth inning proved to be the moment of weakness Wazzu needed to flip the Frogs’ chances of winning.

Needing a spark to lead off the ninth, Oregon State transfer Ely Kennel found his way to the plate. The sophomore pinch hitter recorded his first career hit when the Cougs needed it most.

Following a Russell strikeout, Shibley and sophomore Max Hartman got aboard to load the bases. The sophomore from Alberta, Canada has hit safely in each of the Cougars’ eight games.

With the tying run at the plate, TCU junior right-hander Kyle Ayers left the game and the 2023 All-Big-12 Freshman Ben Abeldt entered the game.

The west coast kids ambushed the star sophomore lefty from McKinney, Texas with two excellent swings.

Taggart, the Everett High School and Centralia Community College product stapled a bases-loaded, off-the-wall double to left center field, scoring Kennel and Shibley.

Kramer, Saturday’s go-ahead home run hero versus KU, came through again for the Cougs.

Although he was 0-for-4 entering his ninth-inning at-bat, Kramer cranked a line drive to the base of the left field wall to knot it up at 7-7. 

Head coach Nathan Choate turned to WSU vet Chase Grillo to guide the Cougars to extra innings.

Grillo delivered. The Kamiakin High School product stuck out the side in the ninth inning and provided two more nearly spotless innings. Grillo allowed zero runs, and zero hits, walked one and struck out seven through 3.0 frames.

In the top of the 10th, Russell racked up his career-high fourth hit of the game.

Will Creswell sizzled a long line drive that pulled foul at the last painful second. He drew a walk on that at-bat and Russell, who had advanced to second off of a wild pitch, advanced to third on another wild pitch.

Russell remained 90 feet from victory as the Cougs could not last forever.

Zachary Cawyer, TCU junior right-hand reliever and Fort Worth, Texas native was a real hometown hero. 

Cawyer treated his hometown crowd to 3.0 scoreless extra innings, holding the Cougs at bay long enough for senior Luke Boyers’ walk-off bases-loaded RBI single.

Final: No. 5 TCU 8, WSU 7

First-year head coach Nathan Choate’s club has a lot to be proud of as a one-run 12-inning loss to a top-five-ranked team will only help the Cougs. It is too early to even say the “Omaha” word, but the first two weeks of Cougar baseball are enough evidence for any Coug to make their way to Bailey-Brayton Field to see year one of the Choate-era up close.

WSU opens its home season at 4:05 p.m. vs. Rhode Island for a four-game weekend series at Baily-Brayton Field in Pullman.

The WSU livestream will carry three out of the four games except the second game of the Saturday doubleheader.

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About the Contributors
SAM TAYLOR, Evergreen sports co-editor
Sam is a senior multimedia journalism major from Lacey, Washington and the sports editor for spring 2024. He was the sports editor for the 2022-23 school year and managing editor for the summer and fall 2023. He plays the trumpet in the Cougar Marching Band, loves sports and has worked at the Evergreen since fall 2021.
COLE QUINN, Evergreen Sports Photographer
Cole Quinn is a photographer and columnist for the Daily Evergreen. Cole primarily shoots sports for the Daily Evergreen and writes album reviews in his spare time. Cole is a junior broadcast production major and sports communication minor from Snoqualmie, Washington. Cole started working for the Evergreen in the fall of 2020 as a photographer. Cole was the Photo Editor during his sophomore year and Deputy Photo Editor for the fall 2022 semester.