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TCU Baseball: Loyola Marymount Preview

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In their California coda, the Horned Frogs look to close things out in style while Tyler Alexander looks for redemption...

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Like the soon to be departed Don Draper, TCU has found their niche in California—and like Don, they've made it their happy place as the Frogs end their California stint tonight versus Loyola Marymount. The Horned Frogs are off to their best start since 2010, and we all know what happened then. And while it's still (way, way, way x100) too early to say as to whether this 2015 is better; the dynamic mix of offense, pitching, youth, and sagacious leadership probably makes this the most interesting team of the Schlossnagle-era.

To Live and Die in LA: The Coda

Record

ERA

BB/9

K/9

Tyler Alexander

0-1

4.66

0.00

5.87

Brenton Arriaga

1-0

3.77

4.47

5.11

Right now, Schloss’ pitching rotation is hard to predict: but, it’s looking like Tyler Alexander will make his first Tuesday night start—a position he’ll likely keep unless something weird happens to Mitchell Traver or Alex Young.  The good news for Alexander, is that the Tuesday night slot will be a great way to get his groove back, and thus possibly return to the weekend rotation in 2016. There’s no doubt Alexander has great stuff, he’s just going to have to work to unearth the buried greatness.

Below is ULM alumnus Mila Kunis, and one of my favorite interviews ever--which somehow is already two years old...

Loyola Marymount, who I probably called Louisiana Monroe—because some dip had a typo at the beginning of the season—isn’t a bad team. Like burritos, just about every little baseball joint you find in California is respectable. The Lions, who share the same spirit animal as these golden haired siblings, and who have a 9-6 record, went 1-2 against both Arkansas and Nebraska—two really great programs--are more than capable of an upset. This is due to a good balance of pitching and offense.

Pitching wise, they're holding their opponents to a sub-.240 average and have already collected well over 100 strikeouts. On the bump; LM will likely throw Brenton Arriaga, who’s been pretty effective as a Tuesday starter. It’s strange to look at his numbers, and see they’re comparable to Alexander’s in some regard—but Arriaga hasn’t seen the talent that his fellow pitchers have, as LM’s Tuesday scheduling has been fairly week thus far. The 6-5 wiry lefty, like our own Preston Morrison, cuts his teeth on command, accuracy and deception. Arriaga won't throw the high heat, but is more than capable of hitting strikes in any situation. Which, could go either way with how the Frogs have been taking so many pitches as of late. Nevertheless, Alexander The Great still has upper-hand.

Offensively for LM, look out for freshman outfielder, Billy Wilson. Wilson is third on the team in BA (.357), first in hits (20), OBP (.471), and the most important of stats, he's been hit by 7 pitches. I haven't seen Wilson play in person, or any of them team play in person--but collectively, they've been hit by 30 pitches: and you might as well call them Dirty Sprite with all the leaning they're doing. Seriously, that's an absurd stat. And even more absurd, they share the No.1 spot with UC Davis. They also run the bases well and steal a lot, and whomever is catching, Evan Skoug or Zack Plunkett—likely Skoug—will be tested tonight with the jittery runners. Their presence on the basepath will also be a good test for Alexander, and this sporadically error-prone defense.

Offensively for TCU, Garrett Crain struggled a little bit offensively and on defense this weekend—but I expect him to get back to normal tonight; he was taking really good cuts over the weekend and just got unlucky in a few at-bats. And maybe it’s that home state feeling, but I also expect Keaton Jones and Elliot Barzilli to finish their week in California in style.

Prediction:

I don’t see TCU losing this game. They’re not burned from the weekend, and Alexander should pick up a nice little confidence booster. 5-2, F R O G S

Once again, thanks to College and Magnolia for the graphic