This is a team that everybody expected to be special, and at this point it is fair to call them dominant. At times this weekend they fell behind by multiple runs against some of the best teams in the country. At other time they didn’t get good starting pitching. None of that seemed to matter though. They always found a way to win.
After putting on a show in Houston, the Frogs get one more stop off at Lupton before hitting the road in California for a four-game stretch. All 11 of the games TCU has played to this point have been in Texas, and 10 have been at home or at a neutral site. Being truely tested on the road is the last thing this team has to prove before they start conference play, but they have to contend with a good Dallas Baptist program first.
Tuesday night’s game will be the 70th overall meeting between these two teams, with TCU holding a 43-25 lead in the series. The Patriots are 8-3 on the season and are coming off a series win at home against Jacksonville State University. They have yet to lose a series and WarrenNolan.com has them as the No. 29 RPI team in the country, but they are still searching for their first signature win of the year against a big name opponent.
Dalton Horton - LHP (36.00 ERA, 1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER)
vs. Josh Martinson - (8.38 ERA, , 9 1⁄3 IP, 11 H, 9 ER)
Dalton Horton’s ERA of 36.00 reflects just one inning of work this year, but he is no stranger to having success in a starting role. Last year, as a freshman, Horton was 7-0 in his 11 starts with a 2.58 ERA in 59 1⁄3 innings pitched. He was one of the Frogs’ most reliable pitchers through the first two months of the season, but struggled late in the year and eventually dropped out of the starting rotation when a healthy Mitchell Traver was an option.
Speaking of Traver, who was expected to be the regular Tuesday starter, it looks like he will miss some time after exiting last Tuesday’s game in the first inning. According to the Fort Worth Star Telegram Traver is dealing with a muscle pull in his back. A similar injury caused him to miss the first two months of last season, but the target date for him to come back this year is March 21st against Abilene Christian.
DBU’s Martinson is a sophomore who started 14 of his 19 appearances last year as a freshman and held the ninth-best ERA in the Missouri Valley Conference at 3.68. Martinson’s last start was against Jacksonville State on Friday, March 3rd and he lasted just 2⁄3 of an innings, giving up five earned runs on three hits and issuing three walks to two strikeouts. His start the previous weekend against New Mexico went much better. He lasted five innings, giving up just two hits and one run while walking two and striking out seven.
Dallas Baptist has had their share of offensive success so far this season, boasting a batting average of .293 with 17 home runs as a team. They rank 10th overall in home runs per game, 11th overall in doubles per game and 12th overall in triples per game. The Patriots are led by sophomore Austin Listi, who leads the team in home runs (4) and doubles (6) with a .295 batting average.
Joining Listi are several freshman who are making a major impact in DBU’s offensive attack. Jameson Hannah, a freshman from Flower Mound is batting .340 and leads the Patriots in hits with 17. He has five extra base hits and seven RBIs with 12 runs scored. His fellow freshman, catcher Matt Duce, is second on the team with 11 RBIs and 10 runs scored with two home runs and nine total extra base hits.
For the Frogs, Luken Baker has moved his way into the top spot and leads the team with a .378 batting average. He leads the team in walks (11), runs scored (18), hits (14) and home runs (4). Nolan Brown has cooled off a little bit lately, but is still batting .368 for the year. He leads the team in stolen bases with seven and has been caught on the base paths just once. The rest of TCU’s regular starters are all hitting under .260, and that’s a scary thought when you consider the team is averaging 8.6 runs per game. As a team they’re hitting .272, up from .265 prior to the Shriner’s College Classic last weekend.