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Bearly on Top: TCU Baseball vs Baylor

TCU gets the Baylor Bears this weekend at home, where they play their best baseball.

Get your Frogs up everybody, the Baylor Bears are in town.
Melissa Triebwasser

Let the bear puns and the woos fly this weekend. After a tough weekend in Morgantown where the Frogs blew two games they should have won and won the game where their starter lasted less than two innings, they’re back home in the friendly confines of Lupton Stadium. TCU is 17-2 at home this season compared to 8-5 on the road, and they could really use a sweep this weekend to hold onto, or possibly extend, their one-game lead in the Big 12 standings.

The last time the Baylor Bears visited Lupton, the Horned Frogs got the sweep on the way to their first Big 12 regular season baseball championship. Baylor returned the favor last season taking the first two games in Waco to take the series from the Frogs. This season Baylor is 23-14 overall (5-7 in Big 12), including a 2-1 weekend in the Houston College Classic with wins over A&M and Ole Miss. Their RPI of 15 would make a series win a very nice trophy for the Frogs.

Baylor 15-2 start to the season matched their best in program history and they entered the Top 25 for a couple of weeks before faltering once they reached Big 12 play. That just goes to show how deep the Big 12 is, whether we get credit for it or not. TCU currently holds a one game lead over West Virginia and Texas Tech, both of whom have tough series this weekend. Tech hosts OSU in Lubbock and WVU travels to Manhattan to play K-State.

Predicted Pitching Matchups

Friday: Jared Janczak vs Nick Lewis
Saturday: Nick Lodolo vs Montana Parsons
Sunday: Brian Howard vs Cody Bradford

As I am writing this, nothing has been released about who the starting pitchers will be this weekend, but it seems safe to guess that TCU’s starters won’t change from last weekend. In Big 12 games TCU ranks first in the conference with a 2.77 team ERA, but that number was under 2.00 going into last weekend.

Jared Janczak lasted just 4 23 innings and gave up four earned runs in one of his least-effective starts of the season last weekend in Morgantown, but he still has a 2.25 ERA and he’s 6-0 on the year. He gets a pass this time; he good. Nick Lewis threw six innings last weekend against Texas, allowing just one run on four hits and three walks with four strike outs. He’s 4-3 on the year with a 3.53 ERA. He alright.

Lodolo did not have a good weekend in Morgantown. He exited the game with no outs in the second inning after facing nine batters and giving up three runs on three hits and three walks. That happened after he was coming off a couple of pretty good weeks, but it wasn’t the first time he has really struggled on the road this year. He has a 5.49 ERA and he’s 3-1 in his nine starts, but hey, he’s a freshman. Montana Parsons is 2-2 with a 3.08 ERA in nine starts this year. He went five innings against the Longhorns last weekend, allowing three runs on five hits while walking three and striking out six.

Brian Howard has still been getting it done this year, even though it’s not always pretty. He went 5 23 innings last weekend against WVU, allowing three runs on eight hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. He only allowed three runs and left the game with the lead, and at the end of the day that’s what a pitcher is asked to do. He’s 5-2 in 10 starts with a 4.82 ERA. Cody Bradford lasted five innings for the Bears last weekend against Texas, allowing three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and zero walks. He is 4-2 in his nine starts with a 4.42 ERA.

Offensive Preview

In Big 12 games TCU and Baylor are ranked No. 3 and No. 4 in the conference with batting averages of .260 and .255. Baylor averages 5.4 runs per game to TCU’s 7.4. Leading the way for Baylor is senior Aaron Dodson, hitting .298 and tied for second on the team with five home runs. Junior Kameron Esthay is first on the team in RBIs (23) and runs scored (29) with a .285 batting average and five home runs. The Bears don’t steal a lot of bases, but T.J. Raguse, hitting .284 leads the team with 3-4 stolen base attempts.

For TCU, Luken Baker is in the middle of a 16 game hitting streak. He’s hitting .314 with seven home runs, and he’s third on the team in RBIs (31) and first in runs scored (34). Austen Wade has reached base safely in 23 games and leads the team with a .331 batting average. Baker and Wade are also first and second on the team in walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage. Nolan Brown has now reached safely in 20 of 21 stolen base attempts, which leads the team, with a .323 batting average.

This weekend’s games are scheduled for 6:30pm, 3:00pm and 1:00pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. The Friday game will be televised on Fox College Sports and the Saturday game will be on Fox Sports Southwest.