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TCU Baseball: Monday Manager, May 11th

With only one week left in the regular season; TCU baseball is a step closer to clinching their first ever Big 12 regular season title. But how much will that help their National seed case?

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

With a sweep (more or less) over Kansas this weekend, TCU inched closer to a Big 12 Regular season title. The Frogs are now 12-1 over the past three weeks, with the lone loss coming at Dallas Baptist (errrrr)

In their series win against the Jayhawks, albeit only getting to play 2 games, TCU’s weekend was defined by strong outings from both Tyler Alexander and Preston Morrison. Having Alexander back to form, and thus having an extra lefty in the weekend rotation, plus a power righty like Traver in their backpocket, is going to pay some nice dividends come tournament time. In addition to the prototypical Morrison performance fans saw Friday, Trey Teakell continues to strum his unsung hero guitar, suffocating any chances of a Kansas comeback both Friday and Saturday. Perhaps it was the weather, but the only really bad baseball TCU played this weekend was on defense. No player was particularly consistent throughout the two game series, but Connor Wanhanen continued his 2015 brilliance, collecting two big RBIs in Friday’s win, and thus continuing the narrative of TCU’s bright future on offense.

I don’t think Oklahoma State will let weather dictate their quest for a Big 12 title: especially when they have the tiebreaker over TCU.

Ok, so: I have on good authority that they won’t make up these games. With the game cancelled Sunday against Kansas, TCU’s basically one win away from winning the Big 12 title. With Oklahoma State’s Big 12 season over, and the Cowboys finishing at 14-8; if the Frogs got swept by Oklahoma, they’d lose the title to the Sooners, as both teams would thus finish with a 15-8 record, and Oklahoma would possess the 3-1 tiebreaker. If the Frogs took at least one game of the series, it would mean that they’d win the regular season outright--Oklahoma would finish 15-8, and TCU would finish 16-7. Even if the Frogs had already clinched the title, we know that Schlossball would remain the same, as this team’s still fighting for more than a Conference Title.

I saw on the Twitter-machine the other day someone refer to Dallas Baptist as the "Boise State of college baseball". That’s not very far from completely apt. Because of that: that’s why I think TCU’s going to get the tiebreaker should it come down to choosing a National Seed between those teams. Yes, Dallas Baptist currently has a higher RPI and more wins against Top-50 opponents: but the latter will likely change with TCU’s three games next weekend against Oklahoma plus the Conference Tournament.

We talked last week about of how TCU should just take it easy and possibly even get their Qyburn on and do some experimentation with the bullpen in a sort of Battle Royale situation to see who’s most fit for Regional, and potentially, a Super Regional. However, winning a Conference Title and a Conference Tournament title may be necessary to get the edge over Dallas Baptist.

The Kids Grow Up, Are All Right

Maybe it’s because being brilliant is his standard, peppered in with the fact that TCU’s just scoring more runs this year thus keeping the drama to a minimum; but Riley Ferrell has been absolutely brilliant this year. The active Big 12 leader in career saves (29)--which makes him 8th all-time--also has the lowest career ERA in the history of the Big 12 at 1.12. The postseason is right around the corner, and as we know, that’s when Ferrell goes from interesting, to the baseball equivalent of lighting an entire roll of black cats indoors in a baking pot. Should the Frogs have to travel to Dallas for their Super Regional, Riley Ferrell will undoubtedly be the spiritual guide and lead TCU fans through the muck.

Friday was also the last time we’d see Preston Morrison pitch a regular season game at Lupton. Hopefully we’ll have something special on him in a couple of weeks, but Morrison’s illustrious career is not unlike Andy Dalton, Trevone Boykin, or Kyan Anderson: four year athletes who embodied what the vast majority of TCU fans would describe as the "perfect Horned Frog". Players like Morrison don’t come around that often anymore, for a number of reasons. In the sea of arms that are trying to make scouts both drool and cry, Morrison’s approach is as painstaking as it is methodical. And he’s really damn good at it. There’s still more to go: but as of now, in the 269.2 innings he’s thrown at Lupton; Morrison’s is 23-4 with 162 strikeouts.