This season is getting really fun again. A nine game win streak like the one we’re in the middle of almost makes you forget about that one thing that happened that one time in California. We don’t need to talk about that though, because right now things are great. The Frogs batting average has creeped up to .264 and their ERA has dropped to 3.36 during that stretch and they’ve moved back up in the national rankings from No. 4/5 to consensus No. 3.
Murray State has had an up and down season at 14-12 overall (6-6 in Ohio Valley). They have notched victories over Louisiana-Lafayette and former TCU opponent Siena. While they’ve won two of their last three series, they are just 1-5 in their last six games. This weekend’s series will be the first time that the Frogs and the Racers have ever met on the diamond.
Friday: Jared Janczak vs. Ryan Dills
Saturday: Nick Lodolo vs. Austin Dubsky
Sunday: Brian Howard vs. Jack Hranec
Jared Janczak is proving himself to be a true Friday ace this season. He’s 5-0 on the year in seven starts with a 2.05 ERA. In his last start he allowed just two hits over nine innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. Despite his incredible outing, the game went to extra innings at 0-0, Janczak went home with a no-decision.
Senior right-hander Ryan Dills will take the mound against Janczak for Murray State. Dills went 6 1⁄3 innings in his start last weekend against Jacksonville State, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. He’s 2-0 on the year in his seven starts with a 4.85 ERA.
Nick Lodolo seems like he gets better every week, and he’s showing flashes of the potential that made him such a highly touted recruit. He nearly matched Janczak in his start last weekend as Lodolo turned in seven shutout innings of his own, allowing just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts.
Austin Dubsky, a junior right-hander, will look to bounce back from a rough start last week. He needed 90 pitches to get through 3 2⁄3 innings, giving up two runs on three hits while striking out four and walking six. Despite the tough outing last week he has made it six innings in two of his seven starts, and is 2-3 on the year with a 4.86 ERA.
It’s pretty nice when Brian Howard is the third best pitcher in your weekend rotation. That’s what he was last weekend in a six innings start where he allowed two runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts. In his last two starts he has gone seven innings and six innings and he’s 4-2 on the year with eight starts and a 5.25 ERA.
Junior left-hander Jack Hranec will start the Sunday match for the Racers. He’s 2-1 on the year in six starts with a 6.28 ERA. In his last start against Jacksonville State he took the loss, going five innings and allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and zero strikeouts.
The Racers are an offensive minded club, outhitting the Frogs significantly so far this year with a .310 team batting average. They’re led by Brandon Gutzler who’s hitting .391 with a team best 35 RBIs and seven home runs. There’s seven other regular hitters in their lineup with averages over .300 and on the year they’ve hit 31 home runs as a team to TCU’s 25. David Sims and pitcher/first-baseman Jack Hranec are right behind Gutzler, hitting .330 and .327 respectively.
The Frogs have been hitting .290 as a team over the last nine games and that’s been thanks in large part to Austin Wade hitting .419 during the win streak, raising his average to .311 overall. As a team TCU is averaging 7.1 runs per game. Luken Baker and Josh Watson have passed and caught up to Nolan Brown with averages of .309 and .294 respectively. Brown still leads the team, however, with 14 stolen bases on 15 attempts.
TCU’s games at Lupton this weekend are scheduled for 6:30pm, 2:00pm and 1:00pm CT on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. The Saturday game will televised on Fox Sports Southwest.