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TCU Baseball vs UC Irvine Preview

TCU heads to California this weekend for their first true road trip of the season.

The Frogs are ready to prove themselves in a true road environment.
GoFrogs.com

The Frogs are in California for their next four games. Not a bad way to spend your first true road trip of the season. After their most impressive week of baseball so far this season, and riding a seven-game winning streak, the challenge for TCU is to not overlook their opponents on the road with Big 12 play opening next week at Lupton against Kansas.

UC Irvine, the Anteaters, have one of the best mascots in the country, and they joined TCU as part of the College World Series field in 2014. Although the two teams were on opposite sides of the bracket and didn’t play each other, they both went 1-2 in the tournament. In fact, these two teams have never played each other before in baseball.

At 7-4 on the season, and with a four-game win streak, the Anteaters have had some success; especially at home where they’re 5-1. However, they’re 0-3 this year against teams with a top 50 RPI. Those three losses came in consecutive games against Oregon (No. 49 RPI), San Diego (No. 40 RPI) and Tennessee (No. 9 RPI). Their four game win streak has consisted of a weekend series sweep of Portland and a Tuesday night comeback win against Loyola Marymount.

Pitching Matchups

Friday: Brian Howard - Sr. RHP vs. Louis Raymond - Jr. RHP
Saturday: Nick Lodolo - Fr. LHP vs. Cole Spear Fr. RHP
Sunday: Jared Janczak - RS So. RHP vs. TBA

Howard is 2-1 on the season for TCU with a 4.50 ERA. He hasn’t been as dominant as he was in the playoffs last year, but he’s been really good. His high ERA is mostly a factor of the four runs he gave up in the first inning against LSU last weekend. Even then, he settled down and didn’t allow another run for the next four innings in a game the Frogs came back to win. Louis Raymond is also 2-1 on the season with a 6.75 ERA. His high ERA is mostly due to him giving up six runs in 23 of an innings against San Diego, but last week against Portland he was much better, allowing just one run on five hits through six innings.

Lodolo had his own very tough 23 of an inning on Saturday against Texas A&M when he allowed five runs on four hits in his shortest outing of the season. That showing earned him a 5.91 ERA, but he’s 2-0 on the season with his first two starts each lasting five innings with some impressive strikeout numbers. Look for him to bounce back this week. Spear Cole is 1-0 on the season with a 4.76 ERA in two starts and four appearances. His last start was on Sunday against Portland, in which he went four innings giving up just one run and four hits.

While the ‘Eaters haven’t declared who their starter will be on Sunday, TCU’s rotation will remain unchanged from last weekend. Jared Janczak had his best outing of the season last Sunday against Ole Miss when the Frogs needed it most. After needing 15 innings to put away Texas A&M the day before, TCU’s bullpen was running thin, but Janczak kept the need for relievers at a minimum allowing just two runs on five hits in 7 13 innings.

Offensive Preview

According the WarrenNolan.com the Anteaters are averaging 7.4 runs a game, and their team batting average is an impressive .318. That offensive attack is being led by the red hot Evan Cassolato who paces the team with a .512 batting average and a .707 slugging percentage. Maybe even more impressive than that is what Hiura Keston has accomplished with a batting average of .452 and a slugging percentage of .952. Keston leads the team with 17 RBIs, four home runs, 12 runs scored and a total of 13 extra- base hits. Mikey Duarte and Adam Alacantara are right behind those two, batting .340 and .333 respectively.

TCU on the other hand is averaging 8.1 runs per game, which is really impressive considering they have a team batting average of only .270. No surprise to anyone is the fact that the Horned Frogs are led offensively by Luken Baker. The sophomore leads the team with a .385 average, four home runs, 14 walks and 19 runs scored. Nolan Brown is still the only other Frog batting over .300 with a .372 average. He also leads the team with eight stolen bases on nine attempts. Cam Warner (.273 batting average) has been the most consistent run producer with 14 RBIs, including the game winning two-out hit in the 10th inning to help TCU top Dallas Baptist on Tuesday.

The road games in California will not be televised, but fans can get audio on the radio at 88.7 FM or through Frog Vision. The games are scheduled for 8:30pm on Friday, 4:00pm on Saturday and 3:00pm on Sunday (all times at CST).