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Frogs and Eers face off with Championship berth on the line

TCU and WVU will play a best one out of two today, looking to earn a chance to win a tourney crown.

TCU Baseball vs Texas Tech 4.29.18
TCU Baseball vs Texas Tech 4.29.18
Melissa Triebwasser

Saturday | May 26th | 12:30pm & 7:30pm (if necessary) | FSSW+ | Live Stats

Well, who would have thunk it?

After collapsing in Austin a week ago, it appeared that TCU Baseball’s stay in Oklahoma City would be a short one, and their season would end with little fanfare.

But, here we are, a win away from a berth in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game, a win in which would send the Frogs into the postseason field and keep their dreams of a fifth straight trip to Omaha alive (though barely so). Nick Lodolo started the Frogs on their winning ways by holding the mighty Texas Tech offense to just two runs, as TCU run-ruled the Red Raiders in just seven innings, winning 12-2 in round one. The Frogs followed that by blowing away the Mountaineers with a four run seventh, on their way to an 8-1 win, as Sean Wymer, Jake Eissler, and Durbin Feltman dominated from the mound.

The Frogs got an off day Friday, a huge advantage for a team that has counted pitching as it’s calling card for most of the Jim Schlossnagle era. The Frogs will likely turn to Haylen Green in game one, but will have a full compliment of relievers available, as only Jake Eissler is likely on the shelf. The Frogs used just four relievers in their first two games, with Charles King pitching two innings Wednesday and Trey Morris needed for just one out, and Eissler going three innings Thursday and Feltman getting the final three outs. Russell Smith would likely start game two, or Sunday’s championship game, with Nick Lodolo also available to pick up a second start if needed.

Offensively, a team that was stagnant from the plate for most of the season has come alive in OKC, exploding for 20 runs in two games, smacking 17 hits - including five doubles and a triple - and drawing 21 walks. It’s been a complete performance, the kind we expected out of a Horned Frog team that took awhile to get things together, but seems to be rounding into form at the right time.

Meanwhile, WVU has used double-digit pitchers in their first three games, as Randy Mazey has used a “spring training”-esque approach to his rotation, with no pitcher going more than 5.0 innings, and most being used for less than six outs. The Mountaineers knocked off two of the top Big 12 contenders in Oklahoma State in the opener and Texas Tech in the elimination round, but they’ve committed six errors, issued 15 walks, and struck out just 19. They have scored 19 runs, as the offense has been explosive - but were held to just one run the first time these two teams met at Bricktown Ballpark.

WVU has yet to beat the Frogs in OKC, going 0-3 thus far. They won at TCU for the first time in their history earlier this year, when they won the series opener at Lupton Stadium before losing the final two games.

Whichever team prevails Saturday will earn the right to face either Baylor or Oklahoma Sunday. Baylor is one win away from advancing to Sunday’s championship game as well.

Notes:

(courtesy of www.gofrogs.com)

• TCU advances in the winner’s bracket for the seventh time in program history and the third time since joining the Big 12 in 2012.

• TCU improved to 39-15 in conference tournaments under head coach Jim Schlossnagle.

• TCU is 45-29 all-time in conference tournaments.

• TCU is now 14-7 in Big 12 Tournament play.• TCU played errorless baseball for the 22nd time this season.

• TCU turned multiple double plays (3) in a game for the 11th time this season.

• TCU held an opponent to two or fewer runs for the 18th time this season.

• TCU scored first for the 30th time this season.

• For the 12th time this season, TCU drew more walks (7) than it struck out (6).

• TCU stole multiple bases in a game for the 22nd time this season.

• The TCU pitching staff tallied double-digit strikeouts for the 27th time this season.

A.J. Balta, Johnny Rizer and Conner Shepherd have reached safely in 10 straight games.

• Balta collected his 13th multi-RBI game of the season and the 37th of his career.

Michael Landestoy tallied his 12th multi-RBI game of the year and the 17th of his career.

Josh Watson picked up his 18th multi-hit game of the season and the 48th of his career.

Durbin Feltman made his first appearance on the mound since April 27 against Texas Tech.

• Feltman struck out the side for the fifth time this season.