FAYETTEVILLE — TCU is in the driver’s seat and Arkansas is in survival mode at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional.
Tre Richardson, a second baseman for the Horned Frogs, tied the NCAA record with 11 RBI in a tournament game and led TCU to a 20-5 victory Sunday. The game included a pair of lightning delays midway between the third and eighth innings that totaled 1 hour, 50 minutes.
Richardson provided two of the three big swings over the first three innings that helped the Horned Frogs shell shock the Razorbacks and most of the 11,121 in attendance at Baum-Walker Stadium. He hit grand slams in the first and second innings, and third baseman Brayden Taylor added a three-run home run in the third to give TCU a 14-1 lead.
The Horned Frogs (39-22) won their eighth consecutive game, won for the 17th time in 19 games, and moved to within a victory of claiming the regional championship on the Razorbacks’ home field.
Arkansas (42-17) must win three consecutive games before the end of Monday to win the regional, beginning with an 8 p.m. game against Santa Clara on Sunday. The winner of Sunday night’s game must beat TCU twice Monday.
The Razorbacks fell to 31-5 at home. They defeated Santa Clara 13-6 on Friday in the first game of the regional.
The 20 runs were the most allowed by Arkansas in an NCAA Tournament.
Richardson’s 11 RBI tied former Baylor catcher Shea Langeliers, who had 11 RBI during a 2019 game against Nebraska-Omaha.
Richardson hit a two-run opposite-field home run in the sixth inning to give the Horned Frogs a 16-3 lead and added an RBI single in the ninth. He is the 11th TCU player to hit three home runs, and the first since 2010.
Richardson, a junior who transferred from Baylor before the season, had two home runs in 239 at-bats before taking Arkansas starting left-hander Hagen Smith deep in the first inning. He homered against left-handed reliever Zack Morris in the second and against right-hander Austin Ledbetter in the sixth.
Smith, an All-SEC sophomore, had his worst outing as a Razorback. He allowed 8 runs, 6 hits and 2 walks, and also hit a batter to load the bases for Richardson in the first inning.
Richardson’s one-out grand slam gave the Horned Frogs a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Austin Davis, the TCU nine-hole hitter, added a two-run single against Smith to cap a six-run inning.
Arkansas had a brief response when Tavian Josenberger led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run to right field. TCU scored five more runs in the top of the second to send some in the stadium to a quick exit.
Smith was pulled after 42 pitches when the Horned Frogs singled twice against him to lead off the second inning. It was the shortest start of his career.
Taylor hit an RBI single in the first at-bat against Morris. After Cole Fontenelle walked, Richardson bounced a home run off the Hunt Center behind the home bullpen.
Taylor, a first-round draft prospect, homered against Ledbetter in the third inning. The junior slugger is 8 for 10 with 2 home runs and 10 RBI at the Fayetteville Regional and 18 for 29 with 22 RBI in his last 7 games. He has homered six times during that span.
Just like when Arkansas lost 18-6 to TCU on Feb. 18 at the College Baseball Showdown, all of the Razorbacks’ runs came via four home runs.
Josenberger’s second home run — his third of the regional — cut TCU’s lead to 14-3 in the fifth inning. Jace Bohrofen and Harold Coll hit solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.
Coll started in place of injured second baseman Peyton Holt (back).
The Horned Frogs out-hit the Razorbacks 21-10. TCU also drew three walks and was hit by a pitch three times.
Ledbetter threw a career-high six innings and preserved most of Arkansas’ arms for the uphill challenge that awaits. The sophomore allowed 6 runs on 9 hits and struck out 4. He returned following the first lightning delay, but was replaced by Ben Bybee, who allowed three runs in the ninth inning following the second delay.
Morris allowed 3 runs and 2 hits, and threw 25 pitches before he was pulled after the second inning.
TCU right-hander Sam Stoutenborough allowed 6 hits and 4 runs, and struck out 5 in 6 innings to earn the win. Stoutenborough was the Horned Frogs’ No. 3 weekend starter by the end of the regular season, but started Sunday because the team’s No. 1 starter, right-hander Louis Rodriguez, is out with an injury.
The Arkansas-TCU game was scheduled to be played Saturday night, but was postponed due to lightning that caused a game between Arizona and Santa Clara to be delayed by six hours. That game, a 9-3 victory by Santa Clara, did not conclude until 11:17 p.m., and NCAA rules state a regional cannot begin after 11 p.m.
Two of TCU’s three highest-scoring games of the year have come against Arkansas. In those games the Horned Frogs combined for 38 runs and 40 hits. The earlier game was on the second day of the season.