I don't want to rely too heavily on the ranch animal analogies, but this is Texas. We just got done playing the Longhorns and now we're going to play the Mavericks. I don't write this stuff, I just write about it. Anyway, since I'm already rolling around in the mud, I'll go all in. We got kicked in the mouth by the Longhorns this weekend. Now it's time to get back up on the horse.
It was only a few weeks ago that we played the Mavericks at Lupton Stadium. That game was a pretty tight contest overall, but it ended in a 5-1 TCU win. Since then, UTA is 6-5, winning two of their last three series. If you look back to before the TCU game, they've actually won three of their last four. After losing a mid-week game against Texas Tech on March 15th and getting swept by South Alabama that weekend, they rebounded with a win against Baylor and a series sweep of Incarnate Word. So, they're on a four-game win streak and now they've beaten Baylor twice this season in mid-week games. Good for them.
News came in from Carlos Mendez at the Fort Worth Star Telegram today that there has been a change in the rotation. Res Hill, who pitched 1 2/3 innings in his start against Texas on Sunday will also start tonight's game against UT Arlington. Hill has been hit or miss so far, turning in some pretty decent starts earlier this season, but his last few starts have left a lot to be desired. Horton, the usual Tuesday night starter, will swap places with Hill and start Sunday against Wichita State. Schlossnagle had been hinting that this was a move he was considering over the last week or so. A strong six innings for Horton last Tuesday, combined with the less than two innings Hill threw Sunday, seems to have presented the right opportunity to pull the trigger. Some might remember that Tyler Alexander got moved to the Tuesday spot for a while last year early in the season, only to come back into the weekend rotation and play a big role in TCU's CWS run later in the year. That said, there is still hope for Hill, and he can still mature into a reliable starter for the Frogs. UT Arlington hasn't really had a consistent week-day pitcher. They've started a different guy in each of the last three mid-week games. So, we'll just have to sit back and see what happens.
Slash Line - (BA/SLG/OBP)
The last time these two teams played I talked about what a talented hitting team UT Arlington is, then we held them to one run. We entered last weekend as the most talented offensive team in the conference, and a team with a record below .500 held us to three runs in the first two games combined. With all the stats available to you in baseball, sometimes it just seems like it doesn't matter. Well it doesn't matter every game, but it does matter most games.
Earlier this month I tabbled Quintin Rohrbaugh (.380/.460/.436) as the Mavericks' best hitter, and I'm still going to give him the edge. Even though his average has come back down to earth from the 400+ he was hitting early in the year, he still leads the team in hits and runs and is third in RBIs. He still hasn't hit a homer, but he has continued to hit for decent power with six doubles and one triple. Behind Rohrbaugh, UTA has Brady Cox (.386/.432/.436) and Matt McLean (.378/.520/.479). Cox has four doubles and nine walks and Williams has eight doubles, three triples and 18 walks.
For TCU, Elliott Barzilli (.465/.756/.505) is still the best hitter and the most exciting development on this team. We knew what to expect from Evan Skoug (.316/.570/.433) and somewhat from Luken Baker (.354/.544/.485), but Barzilli's emergence has been a pleasant surprise to everyone. He has 40 hits this year by himself. Baker and Skoug together combine for 53. Barzilli also leads the team in home runs with five. Evan Skoug on the other hand hit his first two home runs over the last ten days, but he has been hitting for power consistently the whole month of March. At one point, he had 10 straight extra base hits and on the year he has 12 double and a triple to go along with his two homers. Baker still leads the team with 19 walks and teams can't decide whether they'd rather pitch around him or Skoug half the time. It didn't even look like he was swinging that hard last weekend when he hit a grand slam against West Virginia. After those three, the production has actually dropped off a little as some of the other more reliable hitters on the team have seen their averages slump over the last couple of weeks. This week will be a good opportunity for the lineup to figure things out as the Frogs take a break from Big 12 play, heading to Wichita State for a three game series this weekend after Tuesday's game against the Mavericks.