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TCU Baseball at SHSU: Preview

Don’t be fooled - the Kats are good.

TCU Baseball vs Long Beach State 2.25.18
TCU Baseball vs Long Beach State 2.25.18
Melissa Triebwasser

Game Time: 6:30 PM CST | Location: Don Sanders Baseball Stadium – Huntsville, TX | TV: ESPN+ | Radio: KTCU 88.7 FM | Live Stats: | Series: TCU leads 40-30

Pitching: Haylen Green (0-0, 2.45 ERA | 3K, 3BB) vs Matt Dillard (0-1, 5.40 ERA | 5K, 5BB)

TCU Baseball will face a tough midweek challenge this week, when they travel to Huntsville to take on the Bearkats. Already 5-2 in the young season, Sam Houston State took two of three from a generally solid Ragin Cajuns squad over the weekend before dropping a 10-3 decision in Austin last night.

Averaging a respectable .261 as a team from the plate, SHSU has three hitters batting over .300, led by star catcher Gavin Johnson, who is sporting an average over .400 with a slugging percentage of .682 and an OB% of .458. The junior out of San Antonio is in his second season with the Kats after a year of juco ball, and has been especially hot of late - collecting six hits in his last eight ABs. He has one of the team’s nine home runs and leads the squad with three doubles.

Outfielder Colton Cowser is another name to watch; the true freshman has seemed to have little trouble adjusting to collegiate ball, batting .357 while starting all seven ball games, with three doubles and a home run to go along with eight RBI. A strong defensive player as well, he has seven assists without committing an error for SHSU.

Pitching is generally the biggest issue with these midweek contests - most mid-major teams don’t have a lot of extra arms to throw out during the week. And fresh off of using six pitchers a night ago, the Frogs should have a great opportunity to take advantage of a depleted bullpen in Kingsville tonight. Only starter Seth Ballew (4.0) and Cole Wesneski (2.1) went more than an inning, though, Tuesday, so outside of them and the weekend starters, the rest of the relief arms could be called upon. Riley Gossett has been the most reliable reliever of the bunch, pitching 5.1 innings across three appearances without allowing a run, while surrendering just four hits and a single walk. He has three strikeouts as well in that span. Steven Beard leads the Kats with four appearances, but has a 6.00 ERA across 3.0 innings of work.

The Frogs won two of their last three against fake TCU, winning the final two games of their series with GCU at Lupton. The bats came alive once again over the weekend; after managing just one run in support of Nick Lodolo Friday night, they scored 23 in their next two games while mashing seven home runs and seven doubles in the process. Johnny Rizer and Jake Guenther are both hitting over .400 on the year while Hunter Wolfe, Porter Brown, and Josh Watson are clearing the .300 mark. The Frogs are hitting .311 as a team while allowing opponents to bat just .221, they’ve drawn 39 walks while striking out 43 times. TCU pitchers have a staff ERA of 3.19, have issued just 27 walks, and have 63 Ks on the year. Wednesday’s starter, Haylen Green, made his debut a week ago - going 3.2 innings against ACU, allowing three runs off of three hits. He struggled with his control some, walking four, but balanced it with four strikeouts as well. TCU should have a full compliment of pitchers available ahead of this weekend’s series at the Shriners’ Classic in Houston.

This is the first true road test for TCU, who will have a chance to pad their early resume against a likely tournament team. It should be a good tuneup before a tough weekend.