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Fort Worth Regional Preview: #1 TCU vs #3 DBU

The Frogs and Pats will match up for the third time this season, with a trip to the Supers on the line.

Melissa Triebwasser

Dallas Baptist has quietly been smashing the ball all over the park this weekend, making a mockery of Lupton’s reputation as a pitcher’s park as they launched seven home runs through their first two games of the series. Though they fell short to UVA in the Regional opener - the Patriots had three long balls, but they were all solo shots - and had an adventure fending off CCU a day later, Dallas Baptist absolutely put it on Virginia in game one Monday afternoon, holding a 5-1 lead after one and not slowing down on their way to a 11-8 victory.

These two teams have met twice this season and played regularly over the last several years, as the crosstown rivals have built quite a recent history. TCU smoked the Pats behind Mitchell Traver on their home field to the tune of 9-3, but it took 10 innings for the Frogs to earn a 3-2 win at Lupton in the second half of the home and home.

The Patriots hit eight home runs through their first three games of Regional play, which comes as no surprise - they hit 84 on the season coming into post-season play. Austin Listi is as dangerous as hitters come, and his weekend has just proven that - he has six hits on the weekend including four long balls. They scored in a lot of different ways earlier this afternoon against UVA, drawing walks, hanging in the batter’s box and getting hit by pitches, and blasting the ball into the gap. They also took advantage of aggressive base running and a couple Virginia errors. The question becomes pitching: The Patriots have used their top two starters (Martinson and Johnson) already, and got a great appearance by Gaither in game three, leaving them with just one real starting option for tonight: Trevor Conn. Conn is 2-3 with a 5.67 ERA, 24 strikeouts and 17 walks across 11 starts, 14 appearances, and 39.2 innings. He will likely have a short hook, as Higgins - who pitched Friday - and Elledge - who went 2.2 innings Saturday - could both see time. Fritz and Stone are also options out of the pen, and Martinson could probably give them a couple innings if need be.

The Frogs will turn to Brian Howard, who has a postseason track record that is overwhelmingly positive, to try and end the series and send TCU to the Supers. Howard will be backed up by Sean Wymer, who has yet to pitch this weekend, as well as Cal Coughlin. Charles King could be used as well, though Durbin Feltman is likely a scratch after pitching in two consecutive games. TCU has gotten good offense from the middle of the order this weekend, and Barzilli has continued his hot streak since OKC. If they can pounce on a stretch DBU pitching staff early and put the pressure on, TCU should have a significant advantage in what is now a win and you’re in situation for the host team.