Saturday (Game 1): LHP Nick Lodolo (4-1, 3.77 ERA, 32 Ks) vs. LHP Carson Teel (3-1, 1.95 ERA, 40 Ks) | 1:00PM | Allie P. Reynolds Stadium | Stillwater, OK | Listen: 88.7 KTCU
Saturday (Game 2): RHP Sean Wymer (1-1, 3.91 ERA, 24 Ks) vs. RHP Jonathan Heasley (2-3, 6.82 ERA, 36 Ks) | 6:00PM | Allie P. Reynolds Stadium | Stillwater, OK | Watch: ESPNU | Listen: 88.7 KTCU
Game Two and Three Preview:
It was an unusual weekend for the Horned Frogs, as they earned their first sweep of the season and hopped off to a 3-0 start in Big 12 play. The pitching was, at times, utterly magnificent, while the offense sputtered but took advantage of a slough of miscues by the Wildcats to do more than enough to bolster the starting pitching. The explosion of home runs in the second game aside (as well as the two hit Friday night, including Luken Baker’s game-winner), TCU struggled to move runners along and went through long dry spells. This young team is starting to figure it out, but Schlossnagle won’t stop reminding us that they haven’t yet arrived.
Now they hit the road for a crucial three game set against an Oklahoma State squad that has been disappointing in 2018; a season ago, they had some of the worst injury luck we have seen, yet recovered to win the Big 12 tournament and earn a post-season berth in the process. They were a dark horse contender in the stacked conference, but are just 12-10 overall, with a series loss to Texas and a somewhat surprising domination of Oklahoma in a weekday Bedlam Bash (though that does not count towards conference play).
The Cowboys don’t do anything particularly well as a middle of the pack offense and pitching staff. They sport the league’s worst average at .243 and are sixth with a staff ERA of 4.97. The interesting part of that is that two of their pitchers, Carson Teel and CJ Varela, are among the Big 12’s statistical best. OSU is a middling defensive team as well and moderately aggressive on the base paths (24 for 35 on steal attempts), but they feel a lot like the Frogs - a program that has not yet identified their identity.
Only Andrew Rosa and Colin Simpson are hitting over .300 for the Pokes, at .326 and .323 respectively, but Simpson is one of four Cowboys with multiple home runs on the year, leading the team with seven. OSU hitters have struck out 204 times, while just 99 coming into the series, a pretty poor 2-1 K-BB ratio. They average less than five runs per game.
But they had plenty of offense last night, and got a great effort out of the bullpen to shut down the Frogs, stranding 18 TCU baserunners and holding on in extra innings despite six stolen bases and 11 walks by Schlossnagle’s team.
This is a crucial series for the Frogs, who could use a road series win against a team they should be better than, as they try and establish their positioning in the always competitive Big 12.
• TCU righted the ship last week going 4-0, including a sweep of Kansas State to open the Big 12 Conference slate.
• The pitching staff held the Big 12’s second-best offensive team to four runs and a .186 batting average.
• TCU’s Big 12-leading 2.76 ERA ranks 15th nationally.
• TCU ranks seventh in the Big 12 in batting average (.260) and third in fielding percentage (.972).
• The Horned Frogs hit six home runs over the weekend. For Frogs contributed to the home run barrage.
• The TCU pitching staff has registered double-digit strikeouts in six of the last seven games and has 12 such contests this year.
• Conner Shepherd led the Frogs with a .500 average over the weekend with a pair of home runs.
• Zach Humphreys collected a team-high five RBIs and is tied for the team lead with 17.• The bullpen tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings over the weekend and boasts a season ERA of 2.08.
OKLAHOMA STATE NOTABLES
• Oklahoma State bounced back from a 2-1 series loss at Texas last weekend with a 7-1 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday night.
• The Cowboys are ninth in the Big 12 offensively (.243), sixth in pitching (4.97) and seventh defensively (.965).
• Oklahoma State is averaging just 4.9 runs per game.
• The Cowboys have seen 11 games decided by three or fewer runs and own a 7-4 record in those games.
• Colin Simpson is tied for the Big 12 lead with seven home runs on the year and ranks third with 26 RBIs.
• Nine different Cowboys have contributed to their 19 stolen bases led by six from Matt Kroon.
• Carson Teel boasts the second-lowest ERA in the league at 1.95 in 32 1/3 innings pitched.
• Teel had a team-high three saves before moving into the starting rotation.
• Peyton Battenfield leads the Cowboys with nine appearances out of the bullpen.
• TCU and Oklahoma State will be meeting on the diamond for the 43rd time.
• TCU swept the Cowboys in Fort Worth in 2017.
• TCU owns a slim 24-19 series lead.
• Since joining the Big 12, TCU holds an 11-7 series lead.
• The Cowboys have won three of the five series (2014, 2015 & 2016).
• The Horned Frogs are 16-11 against the Cowboys since Jim Schlossnagle took over in 2004.
• From 1923-25, TCU and Oklahoma State met on the diamond as conference opponents.