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TCU Baseball at Kansas: Preview

The Horned Frogs need a conference win in the worst way, but will be without their ace for a second straight weekend.

TCU Baseball vs Kansas State (March 23, 2018)
TCU Baseball vs Kansas State (March 23, 2018)
Melissa Triebwasser

April 13-15, 2018 | Lawrence, Kansas | Hoglund Ballpark

Friday | 3 p.m. | ESPN3 | KTCU 88.7 FM | Live Stats | Saturday | 2 p.m. | ESPN3 | KTCU 88.7 FM | Live Stats | Sunday | 1 p.m. | ESPN3 | KTCU 88.7 FM | Live Stats

Friday: LHP Nick Lodolo (4-2, 5.09 ERA) vs. RHP Taylor Turski (1-5, 6.91 ERA)

Saturday: RHP Sean Wymer (1-2, 4.93 ERA) vs. TBA

Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Ryan Zeferjahn (6-1, 2.70 ERA)


This is a must-win series.

There is no sugar-coating the start of the season for the Horned Frogs, it hasn’t been pretty. TCU sits at 16-13 overall, 4-5 in the Big 12, and falling further and further out of contention for a second consecutive regular-season crown by the game.

The cure for what ails the Frogs could very well be the Kansas Jayhawks, a mediocre ball club that has been dominated by TCU Baseball to the tune of four of five series wins all time. They really need to make it five of six by Sunday. But the task at hand won’t be easy coming off of a poor performance at home against Oklahoma, the Frogs hit the road with questions about the starting rotation, the bullpen, the offense, and the defense. TCU is just 2-6 in their last eight, having lost six in the row before winning the finale against the Sooners and holding on for a one-run victory over UTA Tuesday night. Durbin Feltman, who pitched an immaculate inning Tuesday night:

and Luken Baker, who was recently named to the Golden Spikes Award watchlist, have been as advertised, and Josh Watson and Michael Landestoy have impressed as the only Frogs batting over .300 (.324 and .337 respectively). But, as a team, TCU bats just .262, is sixth in the Big 12 in ERA in conference plat (something that feels very wrong) - though first in team strikeouts - and dead last in home runs with just 18 as a team. The Frogs don’t do anything at an elite level this season, and it’s costing them wins.

On the other side of the diamond sits Kansas, a team who is ranked behind the Frogs in most major statistical categories. But the Jayhawks have four players hitting well above the .300 threshold, with studs Jaxx Groshans and Devin Foyle carrying the bulk of the offensive load. The duo hits .349 and .342 respectively, and has combined for eight home runs, 22 doubles, and 59 RBI. The pitching staff allows a ton of hits (304 in 33 games) and has a team ERA buzzing 6.0. It’s a staff that TCU should be able to get things going against.

The Frogs are a talented group, but young, inexperienced, and still very much in the ‘figuring things out’ phase. Unfortunately, as we cross the midpoint of conference, they may run out of time before getting the answers to their questions.

Game notes courtesy of Go Frogs:

TCU NOTABLES

• The Horned Frogs closed out the four game homestand with a 2-2 record after defeating UT Arlington on Tuesday night.

• In the OU series, the Frogs saw their ninth game moved due to weather. Sunday, the Frogs played their fourth doubleheader of the season.

• TCU ranks sixth in the Big 12 in batting average (.262), fourth in ERA (3.58) and third in fielding percentage (.971).

• TCU is a 27-for-31 in stolen bases over the last 14 games. The 39 stolen bases are 4th in the Big 12.

• The TCU pitching staff has registered double-digit strikeouts in nine of the last 15 games and has 15 such contests this year.

Luken Baker led the Frogs with a .400 (6-for-15) average during the homestand.

A.J. Balta hit three doubles against Oklahoma and now ranks tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 11.

Josh Watson is carrying an eight game hitting streak into the week. Watson has reached safely in 15 games.

KANSAS NOTABLES

• Kansas is coming off a 2-1 series loss to Texas Tech and a 1-1 midweek set in Omaha.

• The Jayhawks rallied in the ninth to beat Omaha on Tuesday, before dropping a contest Wednesday at Creighton.

• Kansas is 1-2 in Big 12 series with a win over Baylor (2-1) and losses to Texas (0-3) and Texas Tech (1-2).

• Kansas is 5-5 in its last 10 games.

• The Jayhawks are second in the league in batting average (.285), eighth in ERA (5.58) and eighth in fielding (.962).

• Sunday starter Ryan Zerferjahn leads the league with 56 strikeouts and closer Zack Leban leads the Big 12 and ranks tied for fourth nationally with 10 saves.

• Brett Vosik ranks third in the Big 12 with his .371 average.

• James Cosentino has been plunked 16 times, a mark that is second in the NCAA.

SERIES NOTABLES

• TCU and Kansas are meeting on the diamond for the 24th time in school history.

• TCU leads the series 14-9 after winning three of the five meetings in 2017.

• TCU won the regular season series at Lupton Stadium 2-1, before splitting two games in the Big 12 Tournament.

• TCU has won four of the five series against Kansas since joining the league in 2013. The Jayhawks last series victory came in 2013.

• TCU is 4-2 against Kansas in Lawrence.