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Baseball Takes On Air Force In Crucial Late Season Series

TCU Baseball has only two more MWC series to play. <a href="" target="new">(PHOTO BY KEITH ROBINSON)</a>
TCU Baseball has only two more MWC series to play. (PHOTO BY KEITH ROBINSON)

TCU will open up a four-game road trip Friday afternoon as they head to Air Force for a three-game series. The Horned Frogs are tied atop the league standings with New Mexico heading into the final two weeks of the regular season. The weather will be bad, the field will be hard, Air Force will be feisty and a sweep is not assured. In fact, few teams ever sweep a series at Colorado Springs, it is simply too big a climate change for guys to handle. Hopefully we will be the exception, will head to Norman, Oklahoma 32-16, a game or two up in the MWC Standings, preparing for the final four games. If, IF, TCU can sweep out the rest of the season, they will be in a very strong position: Eight straight wins, nine of last ten, 13 of its final 14 and 16 wins during the crucial #Final19 stretch of 2012. Not bad people, not bad.

1. TCU (13-5)
2. New Mexico (13-5)
3. San Diego State (11-10)
4. UNLV (6-15)
5. Air Force (5-13)

: 35
AF: 259

: 46
AF: 236

: #24 (Baseball America)
AF: n/a

05/11/2012 4:00pm CST Mitchell CLICK HERE CLICK HERE
05/12/2012 2:00pm CST Morrison CLICK HERE CLICK HERE
05/13/2012 12:00pm CST Crichton CLICK HERE CLICK HERE

• TCU won two of three against New Mexico this past weekend to move into a tie for first in the conference standings.
• The Frogs have been playing good baseball of late, going 15-3 in their last 18 contests.
Derek Odell was named MW Hitter of the Week after hitting .583 in four games last week.
Andrew Mitchell had a unique weekend as he started two of the three games. He was just an inning into his start on Friday when the game was postponed.
• Mitchell tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings combined over the weekend.
• Kevin Cron’s fourth double of the season drove in what proved to be the game-winning runs in Sunday’s 2-1 win over the Lobos.
Preston Morrison tallied his team-leading seventh win of the season on Saturday.
Trey Teakell tossed five scoreless innings on Saturday, giving him a streak of 18 2/3 innings of not allowing a run.
Brandon Finnegan has not allowed a run in any of his 11 relief appearances.

• The Falcons are coming off a 1-3 weekend on the road in Kansas. Air Force split with Kansas and lost two to Missouri State.
• Air Force has won two conference series this season, taking a home series against UNLV and a road series at San Diego State.
• Ben Bertelson earned MW Pitcher of the Week after tossing a complete-game shut out against the Jayhawks.
• On the mound, the Falcons lead the league with eight complete games, three each by Evan Abrecht and Bertelson.
• Alex Bast leads the team with a .333 batting average, four home runs and 31 RBIs.
• Garrett Custons has a team-leading 14 doubles and is tied for the team lead with seven stolen bases.
• Defensively, they are fielding at a .962 clip.

• TCU and Air Force will be meeting on the diamond for the 32nd time on Friday.
• The Frogs hold a commanding 28-3 record in the series.
• The Frogs are 22-2 against Air Force since joining the Mountain West in 2006.
• TCU swept Air Force in Fort Worth earlier this season.
• TCU is 7-2 all-time against Air Force in Colorado Springs.

The Horned Frogs have been on a hotstreak of late, winning 15 of their last 18 contests to push their record to 29-16 overall. Alot of that is due to a heated up offense. The Frogs are hitting .277 led by Jason Coats’ .353 average. Kevin Cron and Josh Elander have each driven in 13 runs, while Elander has crushed three of the team’s seven home runs.
Additionally, the Frogs have flashed speed on the bases with 20 stolen bases. Keaton Jones paces the team with six during the stretch.
The defensive game has also been clicking along, fielding at a .978 clip with just 16 errors. Five of those errors have come from pitchers.
On the mound, Preston Morrison has racked up four victories, while Andrew Mitchell has a miniscule 1.53 ERA in six starts. Collectively, the group has a 2.06 ERA and opponents are hitting just .222 against them.

On the season, the Horned Frogs have pushed across 92 of their 228 (40%) total runs scored with two outs. As a team, the Frogs are hitting .261 with two outs. Jason Coats leads the team with 14 two-out RBIs.
TCU has allowed 72 of 166 (43%) runs allowed to score with two outs. Opponents are hitting .243 against the Frog pitching staff with two outs.

The TCU pitching staff has allowed more than five runs in a game twice since April 5, a span of 18 games. On the season, the Horned Frog pitching staff has allowed five or less runs in 35 games. Even more impressive is that in 20 games, the Frogs have allowed two or less runs.
Eight different Frogs have started a game for TCU this season. Collectively, the have an ERA of 3.94 in 205 2/3 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .255 against the staff. They are 13-11, led by Stefan Crichton’s five wins. Even more impressive is the group of relievers.
Thirteen Frogs have combined to produce a 2.22 ERA in 194 2/3 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .232 against them. The bullpen has held opponents scoreless in 21 of 45 games and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 25 of 45 games.

Since making the move to the bullpen, the freshmen duo of Brandon Finnegan and Trey Teakell have been nothing short of spectacular.
Finnegan has made 11 appearances out of the bullpen and has not allowed a run in any of them. He is 2-0 in 14 innings pitched, has allowed 12 hits, walked nine and struck out 13. Opponents are hitting just .235 against him. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 18 innings pitched dating back to March 25 at New Mexico.
Teakell has been equally impressive with seven straight scoreless appearances. that spans 18 1/3 innings pitched. In 12 relief outings this year, Teakell has a 1.30 ERA in 12 appearances with 15 strikeouts and only four walks. Opponents are hitting just .208 against him.

The Frogs hit the road this weekend. It’ll be just the 17th, 18th and 19th game played away from home this season. On the year, the Frogs are 8-8 away from Lupton Stadium. Jason Coats has been the most productive Frog away from home with a .353 aveage and 19 RBIs. The Frogs are averaging 5.9 runs per game and are hitting at a .255 clip.
On the mound, Preston Morrison and Justin Scharf have totaled two wins each to lead the team. As a staff they have a 4.08 ERA with 113 strikeouts.

TCU is taking just its fourth road trip to Air Force since joining the league in 2006. In the previous three trips, the Frogs and the Falcons have yet to complete a series.
In 2007, TCU’s first trip to Air Force, the Frogs and Falcons played the first two games. The third game was canceled because of a snowstorm.
In 2009, the Frogs made the trek to Colorado Springs, only to turn right back around as the entire series was canceled due to a large snowstorm.
In 2010, the Frogs played Friday night before Saturday’s game was postponed due to inclement weather. The two teams played a doubleheader on Sunday but were unable to complete the final game. It was finished a month later in Fort Worth.