The last month of the season has made it clear that this TCU team has a lot of growing left to do. Since April 22nd the Frogs are 9-8 with conference series losses to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Baylor. They have fallen from national seed consideration to a team that is fighting just to host a regional. Its not that being a 2 seed in someone else's regional is all that bad. Sometimes it's preferable to hosting your own, depending on who ends up in the field. It's just not what TCU fans have become accustom to is all. After the last couple of season, and the first half of this one, our sights have been set quite a bit higher.
Still. This is the portion of the year when the proverbial rubber meets the road. Currently sitting at 35-14 (12-9 in Big 12 play) it is mathematically impossible for TCU to reach 40 wins this regular season. But a series sweep of Kansas State this weekend combined with a couple of wins in the Big 12 tournament can get us there before the seeding for the NCAA Baseball Tournament is announced.
TCU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning of this one when Luken Baker singled to lead things off and Dane Steinhagen hit his seventh home run of the year after a line out by Barzilli and a fly out by Watson. Six of Steinhagen's seven home runs have come over the last two months, all since the start of Big 12 play. SFA answered in the top of the third to make it 2-1 TCU. In the bottom of the third, with two outs, Skoug was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. That was followed up with a walk to Baker and a double by Barzilli which scored Skoug and allowed TCU to reclaim the two-run lead. Although SFA scored another run in the sixth, TCU hung on to claim the 3-2 victory.
Dalton Horton started tonight's game after being given the day off on Sunday. Schlossnagle noted that Horton was just being rested, and considering the way he pitched tonight, I expect him to return to the weekend rotation against K-State in that Sunday spot. Horton earned his eighth win of the season tonight going 5 2/3 innings while giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out two batters and walked three. Preston Guillory came on to relieve Horton and turned in two prefect innings to keep the Frogs out in front. Ryan Burnett came in to strike out the last batter in the eighth before Trieglaff took the mound to start the ninth. Trieglaff worked a three-up, three-down ninth inning, striking out two to earn his third save of the season.
While the Frogs weren't facing a power five opponent in this one, the Lumberjacks are a good hitting team. The fact that the pitching showed up and the Frogs were able to hold on late and win a one-run game is still special. The Frogs have only won three one-run games this season, and they've lost five. The first of those was all the way back on opening weekend, while the second two have both come over the last two weeks against Penn State and SFA. TCU will remain at home this weekend as they take on Kansas State, who are 26-26 overall and 8-13 in Big 12 play.