At some point during their Southwest Conference days the annual football game between Texas Tech and TCU was referred to as the West Texas Championship. Is it a major missed opportunity that this isn't still the brand? Oh, most definitely. But since lately these two teams meeting on the diamond has had a bigger impact on the conference- not to mention national- landscape, I like the title a lot for this series.
TCU is 91-72-1 against the Red Raiders all time and 23-10 under Schlossnagle. Tech has won three of the five series that these two have played as Big 12 members, but two of those times the Frogs have gotten the last laugh. I’d of course be referring to the 2014 and 2016 College World Series games, both of which sent Texas Tech to the loser’s bracket and featured late inning comebacks by TCU.
I’d like to say that's the reason that these two fanbases get so salty with one another, but its not that simple. They’d probably get upset over a church bingo game. They just have a natural rivalry and that makes any game and any series more fun, especially the ones we win.
Friday: Nick Lodolo vs. Erikson Lanning
Saturday: Mitchell Traver vs. Steven Gingery
Subday: Brian Howard vs. Ryan Shetter
TCU will stick with the same rotation they used last weekend as Jared Janczak still needs at least a couple more weeks before he makes his return to the mound. Both Lodolo and Howard had really good starts last weekend, and Traver’s struggles I’m going to file under Traver not being “not fully back”. When this team has gotten good starting pitching they do not waste it, but just like any team they are going to need it to win a series. They’ll need Janczak back to be legit national title contenders, but these three are good. Good enough to win the Big 12 for sure.
Texas Tech is also without their ace, as Davis Martin is still working his way back from a minor injury that has kept him out the last several weeks. In his place they’ll throw Erickson Lanning. He has made four starts this year and he’s 2-0 with a 3.71 ERA. Even without Martin, Steven Gingery will be really tough to beat on Saturday. He has a 1.49 ERA and he’s actually undefeated with an 8-0 record in his 10 starts.
The Red Raiders are hitting .306 as a team, and are currently the only team in the Big 12 hitting above the .300 mark. Hunter Hargrove, the junior from Mansfield, TX, is hitting .333 and leads the team with 7 of 8 stolen base attempts. Sophomore Orlando Garcia has been really hot this year. He's hitting .311 and leads the team in RBIs (49), slugging percentage (.602) and home runs (11). A newcomer making a name for himself is freshman Josh Jung. He's hitting .330 and leads the team in runs scored (47).
For TCU, Austen Wade continues to be on a ridiculous hot streak. He's gotten his average up to .345 and leads the team in slugging percentage (.514). Nolan Brown is second on the team in batting average at .319 and leads the Big 12 with 21 stolen bases on 22 attempts. Evan Skoug has really come around over the last month too, raising his average from the low .200s to .273. He leads the team with nine home runs, surpassing Luken Baker, who hilariously still leads the team in runs despite being...uhh...expeditiously challenged.
This weekend’s games are set for 7:00pm, 3:00pm and 2:00pm CT on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. The Friday game will be televised on FS1 and the weekend games will be on ESPNU and ESPN2.