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TCU Baseball: Friday Preview & Gamethread

A rematch of last year's Super Regional shifts to College Station, Jim Schlossnagle and TCU look to make a statement with Jared Janczak in Game One against Texas A&M

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Texas A&M got what they wanted. A rematch of last year's Super Regional which, thanks to an errant bobble by A&M third baseman Ronnie Gideon and an even more errant decision to run home by Garrett Crain–allowed the Horned Frogs to advance to Omaha for the second straight season. Making Bane "speak of the Devil" videos like it's 2012, the ever-clever pejorative "purple Baylor" mocking on social media, and (probably) polishing their rings like they're running numbers in a Brooklyn pizzeria circa 1968, it's fair to say the Aggies, and their fans, are as geared up as they could possibly be for this one.

It's also pretty fair to say that TCU–especially after it became clear over a month ago that they weren't going to get a National Seed–got what they wanted; that of course being Boomer White and the Aggies. It's a story line that'll be drilled into the minds of the casual college baseball viewer this weekend as they view every match-up, and potential match-up, between these two Texas schools in ESPN prime time.

With three College World Series under his belt--all three coming in seven year stretch with five of those years guiding TCU to at least a Super Regional--Jim Schossnagle has built a powerhouse in Fort Worth. That powerhouse the last two years has been highlighted by stingy pitching with the thickest purple Sharpie imaginable; pitching so good, it probably could've allowed itself to play one 30 inning game every weekend and not surrender a run.

That's why 2015 felt so painful at times, and even though we're experiencing a complete reverse of that this year, the confidence seems higher. The pitching pendulum will swing back to the 2014 and 2015 seasons sooner rather than later, but now having the offensive piece now makes a National Title a completely obtainable goal. Now, it's just a matter of when.

Friday Preview; Jared Janczak v. The World

Melissa Triebwasser
For Jared Janczak, going from starting the season as an occasional go-to, then graduating to reliable bullpen go-to, then becoming Luken Baker's literal right-hand man on Fridays, to starting a Super Regional against Texas A&M is quite the trajectory. It also says a few things about Schlossnagle and Saarloos; For one, it's the smart move. Putting Janczak up first back-loads the rest of the series for Brian Howard and Mitchell Traver. You want more experience if you're trying to either (a) wrap up a series on Saturday or (b) avoid elimination. Second, it shows a lot of brass. Starting an RS Freshman in College Station in game one of the most hyped Super Regional is a nice little psych out and pretty much a middle finger to Texas A&M. Yes, it's smart strategy. It also indicates the Frogs aren't going to be very conservative this weekend.

Texas A&M's DH, Jonathan Moroney has had quite the postseason thus far, boasting a .600 batting average and notching 6 RBIs in the 22-2 crushing of Wake Forrest. Perhaps the only team that could out-muscle A&M offensively right now is Louisville. The Aggies finished the regular season with a .319 team BA and a .475 SLG, and they did it, sorry to say, in a much tougher conference than the Vegas-favorite. In addition to the more-recently hot bat of Moroney, A&M can also rely on Austin Homan (.369/.406/.443) and JB Moss (.325/.416/.486) for starters.

Then there's Boomer White, hitting an absurd .398 with an even more absurd .533 slugging percentage. Does Boomer White impact this series? He's certainly the pulse running thru Twitter and message boards. Sure, he alone can win it for A&M, but part of me thinks he's either (a) going to hit a walk-off home run to get the Aggies to Omaha or (b) Durbin Feltman is going to throw him a fat eephus pitch to allow the Frogs to advance. The realistic take is that both the Frogs and Aggies have enough firepower offensively and enough names that can come out of anywhere to make a statement that it won't necessarily have to fall on stars like Boomer and Moss for A&M, or Elliot Barzilli and Luken Baker for TCU.





Jared Janczak





Brigham Hill





The Aggies best shot to make a big statement in Friday's is exposing the erraticism at certain parts of the Frog bullpen. While TCU has been stingy in the Tournament thus far, Texas A&M is closest to Gonzaga from the Fort Worth Regional as far as pitching. For TCU, they're going to have figure out a way to get to what's maybe the best pitcher they've faced all year in righty Brigham Hill.

Each round of College Baseball Tournament is almost like a reset. And with the way TCU's playing, it may not being as clean-and-easy for the Aggies as some may think. Tonight, and in this series as a whole, the biggest advantage for the Frogs is the ability to surprise--and unlike last year, there are no points in the lineup where I go to the bathroom when TCU is on offense.  Yeah, Josh Watson is hitting .282 and has nearly as many strikeouts as Boomer White, Austin Homan, and Michael Barash combined--but the kid, should he get a hold of one, can launch a ball to Houston.

The Vegas line alone tells you how good both TCU and A&M are. Even tho you'd probably have a better chance of grabbing a random and getting him or her to tell they're #WithHer before they'd tell you A&M isn't the No.1 team in the country, both teams should feel a little cheated.

Should the fans feel a little cheated? Both of these teams really should get the chance to play each other in Omaha, and who ever advances will not only have earned it, but will also have a good shot at winning the whole thing.

Game One will be broadcast on ESPN 2 at 8:00p CST. Follow all of tonight's action in the comments!