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Frogs by the Reflecting Pond: A Look Back at the 2015 Regular Season

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The Frogs have put together a great season so far. Let's take a look in the rear-view mirror and recollect on a season that made history.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

On Valentine's Day, my lovely fiancé and I went to watch the second-ranked Frogs take on the Southern Illinois Grey Dawgs for the second game of the season.  Clearly, you can see why I am marrying her.  The Frogs started the bottom of the First with six hits, one being a three-run homer by our Freshman catcher, a walk, and six runs.  The Grey Dawgs' pitcher faced nine batters before he recorded an out.  I commented to her that this, for the SIU pitcher, is what would be considered a "nightmare scenario." Even my main man, Keaton Jones ("Magic", as I like to call him), came up with a rare home run.   You couldn't help but wonder if TCU was destined for the dream season that we all had hoped for.  That remains to be seen, but the road so far has been a merry one.  Before we follow our Frogs into the postseason, let's look back on a regular season that saw the Frogs capture the Big XII regular season title while never falling below #8 in the polls.  The regular season was pretty much broken up into three parts: the non-conference schedule, early Big XII play and the Big XII streak "a.k.a. Sweepfest 2015".

The Non-Conference Schedule
The season started off with an 8-1 record and a big series victory on the road over a top-10 Arizona State team.  A crazy play at the plate in which TCU scored as the runner's foot knocked the ball out of the ASU catcher's glove could have easily seen that game, and the series, go ASU's way.  We looked good and were lucky, but it was hard to tell how much of which was in play.  In the Dodger Stadium College Baseball Classic, TCU lost a heartbreaker to USC in extra innings and got down 1-0 early to the hated UCLA Bruins.  The questions started to creep in and I hit the panic button.  Our season was going nowhere if we couldn't consistently beat these quality teams.  That one run was all they would score though, as TCU bounced back to defeat the #4 ranked Bruins 3-1, followed by a 4-2 win the next day over #1 Vanderbilt, the defending National Champions.

Early Big XII Play
It's hard to think of a better way to start out Big XII play than with a sweep of North Temple.  The Horned Frogs were on a roll and did just that.  TCU fans slept easy knowing that, for one day, they had silenced the chest-beating taking place down on the Brazos and all was right with the world.  The next weekend started with another tough extra-innings loss to OSU. In game two of that series, the Frogs showed their grit by coming back to take game two on Saturday, but errors in the Sunday game led to our first series loss of the season.  Another note on the resolve of this baseball club: they have not lost back-to-back games this year.  Our home record (27-2) and our road record (15-7) say a lot about where our team has struggled this season.  In the next two series Preston Morrison was handed his first (and to this point only) loss of the year in Lubbock and TCU was manhandled by K-State up in Manhattan to drop our conference record to 7-5.  Back then I predicted that we couldn't lose more than two of our remaining Big XII games if we hoped to win the conference.  They did me one better and didn't lose any.

Big XII streak "a.k.a. Sweepfest 2015"
Two intangibles consistently stand out to me about Jim Schlossnagle's teams: resilience, and getting hot late in the season.  These held true again this year.  Just when people were starting to count TCU out as an elite team, and even doubting that they were worthy of a national seed, TCU went on an absolute tear.  Since April 18th TCU is 16-1 and sweept their final four Big XII series to capture the regular season conference title.

TCU Baseball's 2015 record of 43-9 marks the 9th time in Schlossnagle's 12 years as head coach that TCU has won 40 or more games.  Our Big XII Baseball regular season title is the school's first and the 11th time a Schlossnagle-coached team has won either the conference or regular season title.  Whether it is the emergence of our two freshman studs, Wanhannen and Skoug, or Cody Jones' lucky thumb protector, the team is batting .289.  Our starting pitchers are 32-7 and our bullpen just does not lose games (see below).

TCU's Bullpen: Frogs' Record When Leading Late in Games

After 6 leading

36-0

After 7 leading

40-0

After 8 leading

39-0

Did I mention that we haven't lost consecutive games all year?  Well that plus not giving up the lead late is pretty much the name of the game in the postseason.  Our regular season has seen this team come together just as you would expect of a talented, well-coached squad.  I, for one, can't wait to see what's next.