TCU Horned Frogs

Brayden Taylor Breaks TCU’s All-Time Home Run Record

TCU's Brayden Taylor. (Photo courtesy Big 12 Conference)

ARLINGTON, Texas — The celebration was low-key after Brayden Taylor’s two-run home run, which gave TCU a 9-4 lead over Kansas in the Big 12 Baseball Tournament on Thursday.

Given that it enshrined Taylor in immortality, it should have been more boisterous, no?

Taylor’s home run wasn’t just the capper on the Horned Frogs’ 14-4 victory over Kansas (25-31) at Globe Life Field. It was Taylor’s 45th career home run. It was his second straight game in the Big 12 Tournament with a home run.

 

It also made him TCU’s all-time career home run king.

But he didn’t act like it. Neither did his teammates. Hugs and handshakes, sure. But that was all.

It almost felt like he, and the rest of the Horned Frogs, knew there was more work to do. After all, TCU isn’t a lock for the NCAA Tournament — at least not yet.

“I mean, it is cool,” Taylor said. “I’m not gonna put anything past that. I mean, it’s very nice. But as we were walking out of the locker room one of the coaches congratulated me and I said, ‘We’ve still got the rest of the season to play.’ So I’m just looking forward to getting back with the guys and grinding it out.”

The lefty’s 20th home run of the season— which came off Kansas reliever Thaniel Trumper — was a pull job straight into the right field seats, the kind of no-doubter Horned Frogs fans have gotten used to the past three seasons.

 

As Taylor crossed the plate, he was met by Horned Frogs leadoff man Elijah Nunez. They shared a hug. Nunez might have had more to say about Taylor than Taylor had to say about himself after the game.

“The funny thing is, I was talking to his roommate a few days ago and I was like, ‘He’s about to break this record,’” Nunez said. “And, we’re just talking about it. It’s like we’ve literally watched him leave a legacy at TCU that will go on for a while. It’s been amazing just to see it unfold before my eyes and I can’t I can’t say enough about him. He’s amazing.”

It’s also emblematic of how the Horned Frogs have started this tournament, and how they’ve played this month — like they have nothing to lose.

In the Big 12 Tournament opener the Horned Frogs put 17 hits on Kansas State in a 16-3, 7-inning run-rule game. On Thursday the Horned Frogs had 19 hits, and they run-ruled the Jayhawks in eight innings. TCU won for the 12th time in 14 games.

In fact, the Horned Frogs have lost to one Big 12 team in May — Kansas State on May 18 in a series opener in Manhattan, 7-6. The other loss came in a non-conference series against Cal State Fullerton, 2-1, on May 5.

The Horned Frogs (35-22) have been piling on the runs, too. Thursday’s win was the sixth time in May the Horned Frogs have scored at least 10 runs.

 

So it’s not just Taylor pouring it on at the right time. It’s everyone. While Taylor went 4-for-5 on Thursday, Nunez, Kurtis Byrne and Logan Maxwell each had three hits. Kurtis and Logan hit in the seventh and eighth spots in the order.

“I think they’ve become more balanced offensively,” Kansas head coach Dan Fitzgerald said. “There weren’t really any holes in the lineup when we played them to open up Big 12 play but they have shored up any holes that might have.”

Now, the Horned Frogs can sit and watch on Friday as they want to find out who they will play on Saturday morning.

Taylor made Thursday his night, though. The All-Big 12 First-Team selection and draft-eligible junior has already blown past his season high for home runs (13 his sophomore year). He’s started just about every game he possibly could for the Horned Frogs since he arrived from Copper Hills High School in West Jordan, Utah.

He also might not be at TCU much longer. The Athletic pegged Taylor as a first-round pick in July’s MLB Draft, going No. 22 to Seattle. Taylor doesn’t have to go, of course. But it’s hard to turn down first-round signing bonus money.

For now, like he said, the season isn’t over yet for the Horned Frogs.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard

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