We have seen it time and time again in sports, and often with this TCU Baseball program: sometimes, it's not just about being good, but being good at the right time. The Frogs have chosen a good time to be great. The offense, which had been rendered seemingly dormant over the last month of the season, exploded on to the scene once again in OKC, annihilating Baylor and Oklahoma State in back to back games by scores of 12-5 and 13-5 respectively. With Evan Skoug and Luken Baker crushing back to back bombs on back to back nights - both in the eighth innings - and Baker himself accounting for eight hits in his first ten post-season at-bats, the Frogs are formidable in the middle of the lineup to say the least.
With a Big 12 championship in sight, and an outside chance to host a regional still in play, the Frogs have plenty to play for heading into the grind time of the tourney. TCU will get yet another opportunity to right a wrong from the regular season, as they face Texas, who took two of three from them in Austin, with a Big 12 Title Game berth on the line. The Horns have also gotten hot at the right time, and with Augie Garrido likely coaching, and the team likely playing, for his job, Texas orchestrated a stunning eighth inning rally to knock the Cowboys out of the tournament and keep their NCAA playoff hopes alive. Much like a season ago, UT is a talented team that figured it out at the right time, and is trying to replicate their championship run from 2015.
Texas, who has been near the bottom of the conference in batting average and the top in strikeouts, fell to Oklahoma State in game one due to an eight run frame, before turning the tables on the Cowboys and knocking them out in the same fashion. In between, the run-ruled an uninterested Baylor squad, whom had been ripped by TCU in the game prior. Having used ten arms over the course of the last three days, burning starters Ty Culbreth (who could be available for a few innings after going just over four on Wednesday), Cooper Morgan (who went seven full in the complete game against the Bears), and Kyle Johnston, The Longhorns will likely turn to Connor Mayes (0-4, 3.83 ERA in ten starts) and/or Nolan Kingham (2-3, 3.41 ERA in four starts and 19 appearances) for Saturday's slate of game(s).
Frogs, who have pretty much their full compliment of arms available, and will likely start Brian Howard in the afternoon tilt, with pretty much every other pitcher available as needed. That's the silver lining to short starts, I suppose. The dynamic of the day off will be interesting to watch - Texas is looking at a 12 hour turnaround from their Friday night assault on the baseball, while the Frogs have had a day to either refresh or cool off, depending how you look at it. Hopefully the extra rest will bode well for the return of Cam Warner, who exited Thursday's game with an undisclosed shoulder injury. His replacement at second base, Mason Hesse, has hit well in limited at bats this weekend - getting two flares to fall in behind first base that both led to run-scoring extra-base hits. With the heart of the lineup dominating from the box for TCU, led by Skoug, Baker, Watson, and Steinhagen, The Frogs can certainly overwhelm UT offensively. That, and a solid pitching performance from a veteran staffer should send them to Sunday's championship game.