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TCU vs. Rice Preview: Frogs take on flailing Owls

The Frogs look to improve to 7-1 against a Rice team that has under-performed to this point.

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 28th | Place: Lupton Stadium | Time: 6:30 p.m. | TV: FrogVision

The Frogs rebounded from a disappointing Friday night loss to Arizona State with two solid wins on Saturday and Sunday, moving their record to 6-1 and helping them maintain their consensus No. 1 ranking. Now, TCU enters a stretch where they play nine consecutive games against RPI Top 100 competition, something they haven’t faced to this point in the season.

That begins with a Rice team on Tuesday night, that, for lack of a better word, has stumbled out of the gate this season. Originally in Top 25 preseason polls across the board, Rice has started the season 3-5, and is coming off of a rough series loss against Southeastern Louisiana.

However, that shouldn’t give Frog fans a reason to overlook this game, what with a massive weekend tournament looming, because Rice did open the season with a series split against Texas in Austin, and they have a team capable of winning on any given night.

Pitching Preview

Mitchell Traver (RHP, 0-0, 3.00 ERA) vs. Willy Amador (RHP, 0-1, 5.40 ERA)

Traver’s first appearance of the season came last Tuesday against UT-Arlington, where he lasted three innings, allowing three hits and two runs (one earned), with two walks and two strikeouts. Traver’s control was lacking a bit in his first outing, and he’ll look to correct that on Tuesday night.

Amador has made two appearances this season, but has totaled just 3.1 innings pitched. He holds an 8-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio, and opponents are batting just .167 against him over that time frame. His ERA is bloated, though, thanks to a home run given up with men on base. Amador will face the most talented lineup he’s seen so far this season, but he’s a capable pitcher. He set his career-long start of 6.2 innings at the end of last season in the finale of the Baton Rouge Regional against LSU.

Offensive Preview

Nolan Brown continued his hot start over the weekend, and he still leads the Frogs with a fire .391 batting average. No other Horned Frog is hitting above .300, but TCU hasn’t lacked for runs. Even in their loss last Friday, TCU managed 9 runs, including four in the final frame. In fact, the Frogs are averaging eight runs per game through the first seven games of the season.

This is largely in part thanks to Luken Baker’s team-leading three home runs, and Austen Wade’s aggressiveness on the base paths.

Probably the most impressive stat though, is that TCU has scored 26 runs with two outs so far this season, meaning that 46% of their runs have come with two outs.

On the other side of things, Rice has a lineup that, while it lacks power, has plenty of pop to go around. No Owl has more than one home run, but they’re hitting .271 as a team (compared to TCU’s .252 team batting average), thanks largely in part to Dominic DiCaprio. DiCaprio is hitting .545 to start the season, with a slugging percentage of .818 (but just one home run).

Behind him, the Owls also have Charlie Warren, Ford Proctor, and Brad Gneiting, all of whom have double-digit hits on the season through the first eight games, and averages over .300.

#MashForMicah Update

With nine home runs on the season, plus any incentives for particular players hitting dingers, the #MashForMicah campaign is up to $7,146.

Great work so far.