Jaczak’s back! Alright! I’m still celebrating that news to the tune of Everybody from Backstreet Boys, but he can’t pitch every game, and today we’ll have to look for a new hero to step up. Texas defeated Kansas in the late game last night, getting to Jackson Goddard early for four runs in the second and cruising to a victory behind their starter Nolan Kingham.
Texas may be the most dangerous team left in this tournament besides Tech and TCU, but before we get a chance to deal with them we will have to put away the Jayhawks. It might have been better for TCU if Kansas had beaten the Longhorns. After the loss to Kansas on Wednesday, TCU’s RPI dropped from No. 6 down to No. 8. A pretty ridiculous move, but Kansas is outside of the top 50 in RPI and a loss to them hurts. Somehow the win over Oklahoma, who has a top 25 RPI didn’t bump us back up at all, but okay.
Facing the Longhorns in this elimination game would help the Frogs more than another matchup with Kansas, but the Horns took care of business and the Frogs did not in game one. Texas currently has an RPI of 20, so if we were facing Texas in this elimination game at least the worst that could happen would be finishing your tournament with a loss to a top 20 RPI team, which likely wouldn’t hurt our chances at a national seed. Finishing your tournament with a another loss against the No. 59 RPI Jayhawks? That could be viewed differently by the selection committee.
I expect Kansas to call on junior right-hander Sean Rackoski for the start in this game. He is 5-5 on the year with a 4.25 ERA, and the last time he faced TCU he allowed just one run on four hits through 5 1⁄3 innings. TCU will likely go with the senior right-hander Brian Howard. Howard was the Frogs’ postseason ace last year, and this is his first chance to show that he can be the hero that we need again to close out his collegiate career.
Speaking of heroes, how about Elliott Barzilli’s performance so far in this tournament? He is 5 for 8 in the first two games with an RBI and two runs scored. You love to see that from a guy who has been making hard contact at the plate for a while but just couldn’t seem to buy a hit with an average of around .220 at the end of the regular season. Austen Wade is also hot, hitting 4 of 8 so far in the tourney and Zach Humpreys is really stepping up in run production, driving in three runs and scoring two of his own on just two hits in the last two games. When Evan Skoug finally gets hot look out - he’s just 2 of 8 in this tournament with a run and an RBI.
I think that if we want to feel really safe about TCU for sure getting a national seed, they need to win this game. I don’t see how they could give national seeds to Florida, LSU AND Kentucky, but it’s the SEC and they will try to if TCU doesn’t make a convincing argument for themselves this weekend. Two losses to Kansas would not make for a convincing argument.
The game tonight will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest and first pitch is scheduled for 7:00pm CT.
Here’s the song if it’s not stuck in your head already: