TCU and OU both lost their opening round game by four runs yesterday. The Frogs lost 7-3 to Kansas and the Sooners lost 8-4 to Texas. For those who don’t know, the eight teams in the Big 12 Tournament get split into two groups of four. Each group of four plays a double-elimination tournament and the winners play each other in a winner-take-all championship game. That means that either TCU or OU will be eliminated with a loss today.
The Sooners took two of three from the Frogs during a hard fought three game series a few weeks ago in Norman. In fact, TCU was ahead, or tied, in the ninth inning of every one of those games and Oklahoma walked-off with a victory in each of the final two games. The Frogs didn’t get it done, but there’s a lot of parity in this league and TCU should have a chip on their shoulder going into this one.
OU has announced that they’ll be starting their sophomore right-hander Jake Irvin. He is 6-1 on the year with a 3.20 ERA. Even though he started the only game that TCU won in Norman, he is the Sooners’ best and most experienced pitcher. The Frogs haven’t said yet who will take the mound for them, but I expect them to go with Jared Janczak. Janczak was masterful in three innings during his return at Cal, throwing three prefect innings and using only 27 pitches. Today I expect that he’ll be on a pitch count of about 50-60 pitches.
Offensively the Frogs weren’t bad last night against Kansas. TCU had eight hits in the game with six players getting at least one. Austin Wade and Elliott Barzilli were both 2 for 4 with Wade getting an RBI and Barzilli scoring a run. Freshman DH Zach Humphreys was 1 for 3 with a two RBI triple in the second and a run scored in the seventh. Humphreys also had a stolen base to get himself into scoring position in that seventh inning.
After having their best two bullpen guys fail them last night, and their starter likely on a pitch count, the Frogs will need their relief pitching to step up in a big way for the rest of this tournament if they want to make a run. You can’t hit your way to Omaha. Like I said last night, this team still hasn’t put it all together to play all-around solid baseball. If they don’t figure that out soon, it will be too late. But with the hope that Baker may still make it back at some point, and the Frogs still having a good shot at a national seed, its still a bit too early to count this TCU team out.
The game today will being at 12:30pm CT and will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest. Keep in mind that all eight teams are sharing the same field for this tourney, so if the 9:00am game between Tech and Baylor runs long, TCU’s start time will likely be pushed back.