Rain has been the prevailing theme this weekend, as the Fort Worth Regional has gotten (slowly) underway, but that hasn’t slowed TCU down.
While Virginia fans have complained about the weather (and some, who don’t understand how playoffs work, suggested that the game be moved to Charlottesville), TCU just played high-quality baseball. The Frogs have been mostly dominant in their first two games of the NCAA Tournament, thanks in large part to a few key guys.
1. The Starting Pitching
I dropped this note into a post last week:
Despite losing in the Big 12 tournament, I have a pretty good feeling about this team’s tournament run ability if the starting arms can continue to do what they did over the weekend. Lodolo, Janczak, Howard, and Traver combined for a 1.29 ERA, a 0.79 WHIP, and 31 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched.
This has certainly been the case in the first two games. Mitchell Traver and Jared Janczak combined to pitch 15 innings, allowing just two runs and striking out 15. Traver’s stellar performance on Saturday was his third win in three regional starts, while Janczak’s stuff was so filthy Sunday night he earned the TCU baseball managers honor of #FilthyFrog of the game, despite having a clean uni.
Brian Howard takes the mound Monday night for TCU, as they look to advance to their fourth consecutive Super Regional. His last time out, Howard pitched a complete game, 12-strikeout shutout, so he’s pretty hot right now.
2. Skoug still Skoug-ing
Skoug broke open the game against Central Connecticut State with a three-run home run in the 8th, which helped TCU run out to a 9-1 lead. They’d need all three of those runs, as the Frogs would give five runs back to CCS in the ninth.
Evan has been on base six times in the two regional games, and he’s done it in a variety of ways: three hits, two HBP, one walk. While he made a big mistake in the ninth to help CCS climb back into the game, TCU’s catcher has been solid at the plate and behind it thus far in the regional.
3. Durbin Feltman is feeling it
When Feltman stepped on to the mound Saturday night, TCU was reeling. He then pumped a 96mph fastball past the Central Conn. hitter, Chris Kanios, who promptly exchanged an “oh no” look with the guy on deck. Kanios would strike out, and TCU would go on to win.
Then, Sunday, Feltman came in again in the ninth, with a runner on and a 1-0 count to the batter he was facing. After walking that batter, Feltman struck out the side, stranding two Virginia base runners to end the game. He touched 97 on the gun, and absolutely ruined Cameron Simmons with an offspeed pitch that was so beautiful ten angels earned their wings.
Now, TCU waits to see if they’ll rematch Virginia, or face DBU on Monday night for a chance to get to sweep their way to the Supers.