Jim Schlossnagle and company are headed out to San Diego for yet another important weekend series (PHOTO BY KEITH ROBINSON)
Another weekend, another important TCU weekend road series. Of course, this shouldn't be that important. Losing one of these games shouldn't be a game changer. But this season it is, every game counts right now.
The MWC regular season race is close this year, with no team pulling away yet. TCU can do that this weekend by making it a two team race, TCU vs. New Mexico. A sweep would effectively make SDSU a permanent third place finisher, battling with Air Force and UNLV for bottom of the league respect.
TCU plays New Mexico in a couple weeks at home. They also get Air Force and Manhattan, nice and easy sweeps (or they should be). If TCU can finish off New Mexico, they complete an amazing sweep: Winning the MWC Baseball Regular Season Title every year they have been in the league. Simply incredible.
1. TCU (9-3)
2. New Mexico (9-3)
3. SDSU (7-5)
4. Air Force (3-9)
5. UNLV (2-10)
TCU: #41 (PerfectGame),
|04/20/2012||8:00pm CST||DirecTV Ch. 616||CLICK HERE||CLICK HERE|
|04/21/2012||8:00pm CST||DirecTV Ch. 616||CLICK HERE||CLICK HERE|
|04/22/2012||1:00pm CST||DirecTV Ch. 616||CLICK HERE||CLICK HERE|
• Tyler Duffie made his season debut on Tuesday night, helping guide TCU to its seventh straight win.
• Axel Johnson made his first appearance as a pitcher in the eighth inning.
• Josh Elander stretched his hitting streak to four and has now reached base safely in 11 straight contests.
• Kevin Cron tallied a career-high three hits and tied his career high with two RBIs.
• Jason Coats made his first appearance in a game since April 7. He missed four games with an injury.
• Davy Wright caught for the first time in his career in the ninth and Derek Odell played third base for the first time this season.
• TCU tallied 10 hits for the seventh time this season.
• The 15 hits were the second-most for the Frogs this season.
• TCU pitchers struck out at least 10 batters in a game for the ninth time this season.
• Under Schlossnagle, the Frogs are 126-77 in road games.
• TCU will play just three road games in the month of April.
• The Frogs are just 6-7 away from home this season.
• After this weekend, the Frogs will have just four more road contests.
SAN DIEGO STATE NOTABLES
• After winning 7-of-8 games, the Aztecs have fallen on hard times with just one win in their last six games.
• San Diego State earned a dramatic 4-3 walk-off win over New Mexico on Sunday.
• Cody Smith provided the heroics with an RBI single.
• The Aztecs dropped a 10-5 decision to UC Irvine on Tuesday night.
• Spencer Thornton is the Aztecs top hitter with a .341 average, while Chris Wilson is the top run producer with 20 RBIs.
• Wilson has hit six of the team's 11 home runs.
• Justin Hepner is the top pitcher on the staff with a 2-1 record and six saves in 15 appearances.
• Collectively the staff has posted a 5.25 ERA.
• Defensively, the Aztecs have committed 47 errors for a .968 fielding percentage.
• SDSU averages 5.6 runs per game and have been held to five or fewer runs on 23 occasions.
• The Horned Frogs and the Aztecs will be meeting for the 30th time on Friday night.
• TCU holds a 19-10 edge in the all-time series.
• The Frogs swept the Aztecs a year ago in San Diego.
• TCU is 8-5 all-time against San Diego State at Tony Gwyn Stadium.
• Since joining the Mountain West, the Frogs hold a 14-9 series lead.
TCU just wrapped up a season-long 12 game homestand. The Frogs posted a 9-3 record and had a pair of series wins over UNLV and UNC Wilmington and a sweep of Air Force.
Josh Elander swung the hottest bat during the homestand with a .342 average. Jerrick Suiter, Kevin Cron and Elander each drove in seven runs, while Elander hit two of the team's five home runs.
On the mound, the pitching staff has been led by Andrew Mitchell who has pitched 19 scoreless innings with 27 strikeouts over three starts.
NEW FACES GALORE
Travis Evans became the latest Horned Frog to make his collegiate debut on Wednesday night when he took the mound in the ninth inning.
He marks the 16th Horned Frog to make his debut this season. All told, the Frogs have utilized three junior college transfers, three redshirt freshmen and 10 true freshmen.
A DOMINATING FORCE
After a shaky start to the campaign that saw him sitting with a 6.00 ERA after his fifth start of the season, Andrew Mitchell has returned to form. He has been nothing short of solid in his last three starts, not allowing a run in his last 19 innings pitched. In those 19 innings, he has allowed just seven hits and struck out 27.
The last three starts have seen him lower his ERA to a 3.15 in 40 innings pitched. He has fanned 55 and is limiting opponents to a .188 batting average.
In league play, Mitchell is 3-0 in four starts with a 2.75 ERA. He has 25 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings pitched and is holding opponents to a .171 batting average.
Freshman Keaton Jones has been a spectacular find in the field. Starting 33 games at shortstop, Jones has flashed his glove on numerous occasions and shown the propensity for a strong, accurate throw across the diamond.
He boasts a .986 fielding percentage and has committed just two errors in 147 chances.
His last error came on March 23 against New Mexico, 15 games ago. He has played flawless defense in 65 consecutive chances, including a season-high 10 in Sunday's win over Air Force. The error against the Lobos broke up a string of 51 chances without an error.
Jones has taken part in 20 of TCU's 30 double plays turned this season.
TCU has played 31 extra-inning games in the Jim Schlossnagle era. Last Tuesday's loss in 10 innings at UT Arlington marked just the 10th extra-inning loss under Schlossnagle. The Frogs are 12-3 under Schlossnagle away from home in extra innings.
One of the keys to victory is keeping an inning alive and scoring with two outs.
On the season, the Horned Frogs have pushed across 72 of their 172 (42%) total runs scored with two outs. As a team, the Frogs are hitting .268 with two outs. Jason Coats leads the team with 11 two-out RBIs.
TCU has allowed 60 of 136 (44%) runs allowed to score with two outs. Opponents are hitting .243 against the Frog pitching staff with two outs.
INSIDE THE STREAK
TCU has rattled off seven straight wins to push its record to 21-13 on the season. The streak includes a sweep of Air Force, two wins over UNC Wilmington and a midweek victories over UT Arlington and La.-Monroe.
Josh Elander has been a key cog in the streak with a .500 average to go along with a home run and six RBIs. Jerrick Suiter leads all Frogs with seven RBIs during the streak.
On the mound, Andrew Mitchell and Preston Morrison have earned a pair of victories. Along with Stefan Crichton and Tyler Duffie, the starters have posted a 1.27 combined ERA. The bullpen has been allowed just one run as seven relievers have combined to pitch 20 1/3 innings.
Defense has also been key as the Frogs have committed just seven errors for a .974 fielding percentage.