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TCU Baseball: Arkansas-Pine Bluff Preview

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After winning their first series against Loyola Marymount University, the Frogs look to go 3-1 on the season in a mid week matchup against the UABP Lions

The Frogs are ready to finish their first homestand with a three game win streak
The Frogs are ready to finish their first homestand with a three game win streak
GoFrogs.com

Tonight is the last game of the opening homestand for the Frogs before they head to Houston this weekend for the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. That tournament will feature an insanely juicy field of Houston, Rice, TCU, Texas Tech, Arkansas and Louisiana-Lafayette. It's also on TV, so be on the lookout for that this weekend. For now though, TCU will face a team that opened their season with three straight losses to North Dakota State over the weekend. This early in the season, it's tough to know a lot about your opponents. Heck, it's tough to know a lot about your own team. There is, however, one thing we do know. We finally know who will open the season as the Frogs mid-week starter.

Pitching Preview:

Wednesday Starter - Devon Roedahl

Freshman Devon Roedahl has been announced as the starting pitcher for Wednesday's game against the UAPB Lions. Roedahl played his high school ball at West Brook High School in Beaumont, Texas. Perfectgame.org tabbed him as the No. 19 right handed pitcher in Texas and they clocked his fastball as topping out at 93 mph. Roedahl was a four-year letterwinner at West Brook High School who was named a first-team all-district performer as a senior. He also earned a Perfect Game Underclass honorable mention selection in 2013 and was selected as a first-team all-region honoree in 2015. While much is unknown about him so this early in the season, it will be exciting to see how he performs in the starting rotation.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff has not announced which pitcher they plan to start.

Offensive Preview:

Projected Lineup
Name Pos. BA R H HR RBI SB
Connor Wanhanen 1B 0.231 2 3 0 0 1
Dane Steinhagen CF 0.200 1 2 0 0 0
Evan Skoug C 0.364 1 4 0 2 0
Luken Baker DH 0.273 2 3 1 2 0
Josh Watson
LF 0.273 1 3 0 0 0
Elliott Barzilli 3B 0.636 1 7 0 0 0
Ryan Johnson RF 0.286 0 2 0 0 0
Ryan Merrill SS 0.286 1 2 0 2 0
Mason Hesse 2B 0.333 0 2 0 2 0

Strangely enough the lineup worked best on Sunday when Baker was batting cleanup for himself and TCU had Skoug at first base and Zach Plunkett catching.  The Frogs executed a double switch when Baker left the mound and they shifted Wanhanen (who was playing outfield) to first and Skoug back to catching. This was all just to accommodate Baker batting for himself and we won't see that for Wednesday's game, but it will be interesting to watch how we handle the Sunday lineup going forward.

Above is my best guess as to what the lineup will look like on Wednesday as TCU has not released a lineup as of my writing this. Wanhanen has done well in the leadoff spot and I expect him to stay there at least until Nolan Brown comes back from injury. Steinhagen was in the two hole on Sunday and, while I could see a really good argument for red-hot Barzilli here, I expect that Schloss will want a senior leader on the team there for the time being.

The heart of the lineup has been Skoug, Baker and Watson in every game so far.  I think it's pretty safe to assume it will stay that way. Barzilli is the team's best hitter so far.  While I would really like to see him in that second spot, I think he would be nicely utilized in the six-hole to get things going for the bottom half of the lineup. As you can see, the bottom half of the lineup has been really strong so far. That's a nice feather in our cap considering that it was relatively weak the last couple of years.

Hopefully we carry over some of our momentum from Sunday and put up some runs early. I am sure that the coaching staff would be thrilled about the possibility of getting the nine freshman in our bullpen some innings. Considering how good this team is at Lupton, the offensive talent that is apparent from our team and the fact that UAPB got swept over the weekend, I'm going to go with a Frogs win as my prediction.

TCU NOTABLES (Via GoFrogs.com)

  • TCU took a 2-1 series victory over Loyola Marymount Opening Weekend.
  • After dropping the season-opener, TCU bounced back with consecutive shutouts to earn the series win.
  • TCU upped its shutout total to 26 games since the start of the 2014 season, a mark that is top in the NCAA.
  • The Horned Frog pitching staff hasn't allowed an earned run in its last 24 2/3 innings pitched.
  • On Sunday, head coach Jim Schlossnagle became the all-time winningest coach in TCU baseball history with his 518th win in the Purple and White.
  • Luken Baker earned Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after tossing six shutout innings and hitting a home run on Sunday.
  • Baker's home run marks the second consecutive season that a freshman has tallied the first home run of the season.
  • Elliott Barzilli burst out of the gates offensively with a league-leading .636 batting average in the first three games of the season.

ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF NOTABLES

  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff was picked to finish second in the SWAC's west division.
  • Shortstop Roberto Colon and pitcher Blake Estep were first-team preseason all-conference.
  • Outfielder Jerimiah Figueroa and designated hitter Chris Burns were tabbed preseason second-team all-conference.
  • The Golden Lions came out of Opening Weekend winless in three tries against North Dakota State.
  • One of the three losses was a 10-inning setback on Saturday.
  • Offensively, the team hit at a .273 clip with five extra base hits.
  • Jaqueese Moore put together a solid season debut, hitting .538 (7-for-13).
  • Jaylen Jackson and Jordan Knox tied for the team-lead with three RBIs each.
  • On the mound, the Golden Lions utilized 11 pitchers.
  • Anthony Bowmaker made two appearances, tossing a combined three scoreless innings.
  • Defensively, UAPB allowed 13 stolen bases.
  • In the field, the Golden Lions committed just two errors.

SERIES HISTORY

  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff and TCU are playing each other for the second time in program history.
  • Arkansas-Pine Bluff holds a 1-0 record in the series.
  • The lone meeting between the two programs came back on March 5, 2013.
  • The Golden Lions took a 6-4 victory at Lupton Stadium.


HOT START
Elliott Barzilli has busted out of the gates at the plate, hitting a robust .636 after the first three games. He paces the Big 12 field with his average. His seven hits on the season are tied for third in the league.

Since coming to TCU in the fall of 2014, Barzilli is hitting .288 in 36 games played. He has started at least one game at three of the four infield positions since coming to TCU and all four positions in his collegiate career.

NEW FACES GALORE
The first weekend of the season saw the coaching staff utilize 11 new faces on the diamond in some capacity.

Six of the new faces appeared in the lineup, while the other five debuted on the mound. All six field players appeared in the starting lineup in at least two games, while two newcomers earned a start on the mound over the weekend.

A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
Luken Baker became the first Horned Frog under the tutelage of Jim Schlossnagle to start a game on the mound and also be in the starting lineup as a hitter.

He's just the fourth two-way player since Schlossnagle took over in 2004. He joins Bo Cogbill, Shawn Ferguson and Jerrick Suiter as the only Horned Frogs to see time on the mound and at the plate. Jerrick Suiter is the lone member of the group to have started a game on the mound.

HOME COOKING
TCU has enjoyed the friendly confines of Lupton Stadium to the tune of a 35-5 record since the start of the 2015 season. 

The fans have been a huge factor in the success of the team. Opening Weekend saw the Frogs average 4,437 fans per game. Since the start of the 2015 season, TCU averages 4,119 fans per game.


ALONE AT THE TOP
Sunday's victory over Loyola Marymount gave head coach Jim Schlossnagle his 518th victory at TCU making him the all-time winningest head coach in TCU history.

He passed the legendary Lance Brown who racked up 517 wins as head coach from 1986-2003. The duo are the only head coaches in school history to have over 500 wins.

Schlossnagle has 595 career victories, leaving him just five wins shy of 600.