TCU gets credit for a share of the Big 12 title since they ended the season tied with Texas Tech in the standings at 16-8, but they don’t get the benefit of the No.1 seed since Tech won the regular season series between the two. The good thing is that still gives TCU a lot to play for in this tournament. You can bet that they don’t like the idea of sharing the championship knowing how close they came to winning it outright.
They Big 12 is a pretty deep league, and while the No. 8 seed Oklahoma State is probably weaker than Kansas, there are really no bad teams in this tournament. Six of the seven teams in the Big 12 are projected to make the postseason by D1 Baseball with two national seeds, three No. 2 seeds and a No. 3 seed. In a league that only fields nine teams, that’s extremely impressive.
Kansas is 29-26 on the season with an 11-13 record in Big 12 play. They lost their last four games of the season, which included getting swept by Texas Tech in Lubbock to allow the Red Raiders to clinch the No. 1 seed in the tournament. They won Big 12 series over Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas State.
I haven’t seen anyone make an announcement about who will be on the mound for either team in this game, I expect TCU to start Nick Lodolo and for Kansas to start Jackson Goddard. Lodolo didn’t actually start for TCU last weekend. He came on in relief of Janczak and threw three innings allowing no runs on three hits with three strikeouts. He should be fresh and ready to go for the tourney. Goddard was the only Jayhawk pitcher to beat TCU during their series in Fort Worth when he allowed just one hit over 7 1⁄3 innings. He is 5-3 on the year with a 4.24 ERA.
Kansas is one of the worst hitting teams in the conference with a team batting average of .254 on the season and .252 in Big 12 play, yet they still have managed to average 5.1 runs per game on the year. Matt McLaughlin has led the Jayhawks all year with a .313 batting average, 18 doubles, a .462 slugging percentage and 37 RBIs. Rudy Karre is leading the way in runs with 44, and is second on the team with nine stolen bases on 10 attempts.
Losing Luken Baker greatly diminishes TCU’s offensive potential, but what Evan Skoug has accomplished lately - with seven home runs in his last ten games - is nothing short of amazing. Most of that happened after the injury to Baker and Skoug’s 16 home runs are now the most by a Horned Frog since Bryan Holaday hit 17 in 2010. Austin Wade being back will help a lot in this tournament too, as he lead the Frogs with a .353 batting average.
This tournament last year was a coming alive moment for that team. They got hot and road that momentum all the way to the College World Series semi-finals. With Janczak getting healthy at the right time, there’s no reason they can’t make another run at it this year. The game against Kansas will start at 4:00pm CT, as long as the other games before it don’t run long, and will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest. The winner will take on the winner of Oklahoma vs Texas tomorrow at 7:30pm CT. The losers bracket game is scheduled for tomorrow at 12:30 pm CT.