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TCU Baseball: Abilene Christian Preview

Brian Howard makes his second start of the season as the Frogs kick off a huge week of baseball tonight against Abilene Christian...

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Despite going 2-2 over the past week, the Frogs are still in good shape and then some. A midweek, non-Conference loss isn’t going to hurt anyone. It’s a slight blow to morale, sure--and it sucked to see Tyler Alexander digress again--but as Mike Ehrmantraut learned a few weeks ago; it’s just a drop in the bucket. It’ll be challenging, but far from impossible to claim first place in the Big 12 from Oklahoma State. TCU’s only one game back, but the Cowboys hold the tiebreaker. But with how everyone else is playing in this conference right now, it’s OSU’s and TCU’s to lose.

We’ll have a special edition of the Monday Manager tomorrow--with the holidays and interesting scheduling for this week, it seemed appropriate. But I’ll tease something; how awesome is Alex Young?

The Matchup

Tonight, the ever-promising Brian Howard takes the mound. Despite pitching just over 17 innings, Howard, who is 3-0 on the season, has made the best use of his relatively limited time. He’s holding opponents to a .197 BA, and possess; a 9.42 K/9, a 2.62 BB/9, which accounts for a 3.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.







RHP Brian Howard





Abilene Christian is an interesting pit stop before a really big game tomorrow night against rival, Dallas Baptist. The Wildcats are still a freshly christened Division I baseball team, and have a measly 4-6 home record thus far: but they are showing signs of promise and recently beat Houston Baptist--so that’s something? Statistically, things aren’t so promising for ACU. Aside from their 8-20 record, as a team, offensively; they’re hitting just .240 and scoring 3.6 runs per game, and pitching wise; their team ERA is 4.40 and are 4.31 and opponents are hitting just north of .270 off their staff.

Three players to watch for ACU:

  1. Tyler Eager: .303 BA, 19 RBIs--team leader in both

  2. Ladgie Zotyka: RP, .98 ERA--lowest on the team

  3. Russell Cripen: 26 hits, two triples, .336 OBP, .367 slugging

I don’t want to cut too much into my Monday Manager for tomorrow, which yes, will be the “Tuesday Manager”. But in it, I talk some about the importance of Nolan Brown and Cody Jones. We talked last week as to how important C. Jones’ hitting has been this season--but his OBP and Nolan Brown’s OBP have been just as important. Hitting on opposite sides of the lineup help too, and both of them leading the team in steals is the icing. If they didn’t have one already, Brown and C. Jones will simply be too much for the Wildcats to handle and will be the nail in the coffin tonight.

Stats and everything aside, weekday games have been the hardest to predict for TCU. Tonight really shouldn’t be a problem as the statistics paint the narrative that the Wildcats are extremely outmatched by the Frogs. And don’t get me wrong, they are by miles. However, the Frogs are playing a salty Dallas Baptist team tomorrow who hang their entire sports season on baseball and love nothing more to beat, and using a term I heard one of their fans say last year at the regionals, “the pseudo-Christians”, could also mean that TCU sleepwalks through this one. But I wouldn’t bet on it.


I don’t think the Frogs blow this one. This is like the Bad News Bears’ team in the first half-hour of the movie. TCU would have to screw up royally to lose this one, and frankly, I just don’t think ACU has a prayer against a guy like Brian Howard, and if it ends up being close; they especially don’t have a chance against a guy like Riley Ferrell. TCU wins 7-2.