FORT WORTH – The TCU Horned Frogs opened the 2020 campaign with a 5-1 victory over Kentucky Friday night at Lupton Stadium. Conner Shepherd led the team offensively with three RBIs, while Johnny Ray fanned seven over 4 2/3 innings in his first career start at TCU.
Ray turned in an outstanding performance on the mound. He fanned seven, including two each in the first three innings, over 4 2/3 innings. The redshirt-freshman allowed a run on just two hits and walked three.
Offensively, the Horned Frogs gave Ray a 3-0 lead to work with in the first. Tommy Sacco worked a walk and moved to second on an infield hit off the bat of Austin Henry. A walk to Gene Wood loaded the bases. An error by the second baseman allowed two runs to score. A sacrifice fly from Conner Shepherd extended the lead.
Kentucky pulled within two in the fifth after a one-out triple turned into the Wildcats lone run. With the tying runs on base, Haylen Green (1-0) came on to strike out the final batter of the frame.
TCU again called on the bullpen to get out of a tight situation as Kentucky had the tying runs in scoring position with two outs in the seventh. Marcelo Perez got a looking strikeout to end the frame.
In the bottom of the inning, the Frogs got some breathing room with a two-run triple off the bat of Shepherd to make it a 5-1 ballgame.
Riley Cornelio took over in the eighth and finished the game. He allowed a hit, a walk and struck out one in his collegiate debut.
Stat of the Game:
4 – TCU was 4-for-4 in stolen bases in the contest. Four different players recorded a stolen base in Zach Humphreys, Phillip Sikes, Hunter Wolfe and Gene Wood.
With the victory, TCU improves to 1-0 on the season. The Horned Frogs and the Wildcats will meet in Game 2 of the series on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m.