TCU Baseball announced their starting rotation Wednesday afternoon, naming the pitchers that will take the mound for at least the first four games of the season, and potentially longer. The Frogs will turn to sophomore Jared Janczak to open the 2017 season Friday night against Penn State, allowing the sophomore the chance to kick off a season which they begin as the top ranked team in the country.
Game two will belong to last year’s Saturday starter, right hander Brian Howard, a senior who chose to forgo a chance to pursue a professional career last summer for the opportunity to try and win a National Championship in his final year of collegiate ball. The most experienced and reliable returning from last year’s College World Series finalist group, Howard will likely remain the middle game go-to for the majority of the season.
In a somewhat surprising move, true freshman Nick Lodolo - the highest drafted high school player to choose college over the big leagues - will take the ball on Sundays, usurping senior Mitchell Traver in the weekend rotation and adding a lefty to the mix. Lodolo is one of the most anticipated players to come through TCU, matching the hype of Luken Baker a year ago, and is probably the biggest pitching recruit of Jim Schlossnagle’s tenure in Fort Worth. Expectations are high for him in his rookie year, but he has the mental and physical makeup to succeed as one of the center pieces of a team that expects to make Omaha for a fourth straight year.
Traver will be the Tuesday night starter, facing UTA in Arlington for his first matchup, on the 21st. After seeing most of his action as a weekend guy last year, he brings experience to the weeknight role with the opportunity to move back to the three game series sets when Schloss needs a more veteran arm for those games.
The Frogs open play Friday night at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth, with first pitch scheduled for 6:30pm.