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Frogs to Close out Baseball Regular Season on the Road at Cal

Road trips have not gone well over the last few weeks, but this is a chance to turn things around.

Frog fans are excited to see Janczak return to action this weekend.
Melissa Triebwasser

It seems fitting that this team would end their regular season with a road trip, doesn’t it? TCU is just 11-9 on the road this year, which doesn’t look good to the selection committee or the Frogs’ chances in the playoff if they don’t get a national seed. So, they have the chance to make that look a hell of a lot better if they can get to 14-9. TCU has only had one sweep on the road this whole year, and that was against Kansas State when the Frogs got really good pitching.

Cal is 22-26 on the year and 13-14 in the Pac 12. That record includes an early-season trip to Lubbock where they got swept in a four game series against Texas Tech. They swept series against Washington State, Arizona State and USC, which sounds impressive except all of those teams are at or below .511 on the year. In their last two series they got swept by Oregon State on the road and were able to take one of three games against Stanford at home.

TCU could really use a sweep this weekend for a few reasons, and they are playing a team that we would absolutely expect them to sweep at Lupton. First, their record is currently 37-13, so a sweep would get them to their season goal of 40 wins. It would also just be a big confidence booster to this team, after all the struggles they have gone through over the last month, to exercise some of their demons on the road right before the postseason.

Pitching Preview

Thursday: Jared Janczak vs. Joey Matulovich
Friday: Brian Howard vs. Jared Horn
Saturday: Mitchell Traver vs. Matt Ladrech

I really feels good to see Janczak scheduled to pitch this weekend. There’s been no official word about Nick Lodolo not starting this weekend, so I’ll just hope that they are holding him out to rest him since he’s young and this is a Thursday-Saturday series. It would make sense for them to do so, because the first game of the Big 12 Tournament will be in six days on May 24th.

Both Nick Lodolo and Brain Howard went 6 13 innings last weekend at Oklahoma, giving up two earned runs and four earned runs respectively. Even though Howard seemed to give up a whole mess of runs in his last inning, it wasn’t his fault that TCU lost the game. Outside of those two, and Cal Coughlin, there wasn’t a whole lot of quality pitching on our side in Norman.

Cal’s starting pitching doesn’t appear all that tough Horn and Matulovich have ERAs of 4.81 and 5.05 respectively, and Matt Ladrech’s ERA is 4.33. The only one of the three that has a winning record is Matulovich at 4-2. They do have four bullpen guys with ERAs in the twos and threes with almost 90 innings pitched between them.

Offensive Preview

Cal freshman Andrew Vaughn has been on a tear this year. He’s averaging .345 with 12 home runs, a .572 slugging percentage and 47 RBIs, all of which lead the team. Sophomore Jeffrey Mitchell, Jr. isn’t far behind, hitting .325 and leading the team in walks (23) and runs scored (35). Mitchell is also 10 for 11 in stolen base attempts, which also leads the team.

Can we talk about Evan Skoug real quick? He’s raised his average up to .295 which, considering he was hitting under .200 for the first full month of the season, tells you how hot he has been over the last couple of months. But the last few weeks he has been on fire. He’s hit six homers in the past seven games, capped off by his grand slam on Tuesday against UT Arlington. Austen Wade returned to the lineup in that game as well after being out for a couple of weeks with an injury. Wade went 3 of 4 and scored a run in his return.

It’s great to see that the Frogs’ best hitters are making a statement that they will be there to pick up the slack with Baker out. The games for this series will be on West Coast time with the Thursday and Friday games starting at 9:05pm CT and the Saturday game starting at 3:05pm CT. The Friday and Saturday games will be televised on the Pac 12 Networks.