In case you didn’t hear, TCU baseball isn’t leaving sunny Southern California just yet.
The Horned Frogs wrap-up their 4-game road trip to the Golden State Tuesday night at No. 24 San Diego (Collegiate Baseball Top 30), and they’ll be looking to go a combined 3-1 after taking two of three just up the coast at Long Beach State over the weekend.
And which version of TCU shows up on the diamond in America’s finest city remains the biggest mystery, as the Horned Frogs were blasted by the Dirtbags 14-3 on Saturday before bouncing right back with a 10-4 victory on Sunday. Inconsistencies of such have been an early theme this season as the focus moves a Torero team that has won four in a row en route to a 12-4 start.
Here’s all you need to know about the matchup between TCU and USD.
Take me out to the ballgame: TCU vs. San Diego
Location: Fowler Park — San Diego, Calif.
First Pitch: 8 p.m. CT
Records: TCU - 9-5 (W1); USD - 12-4 (W4)
Projected TCU starter: Jared Janczak (RHP), 0-1, 10.12 ERA
Projected USD starter: Cade Brown (RHP), 4-1, 1.50 ERA
Radio: 88.7 FM KTCU
TV: Live stream via West Coast Conference
What to watch for:
It goes without saying that all eyes will be on Janczak Tuesday night in San Diego as he looks to return to his ace-like form of days past after struggling in each of his last two appearances on the mound. The senior right-hander only lasted 2 1/3 innings in TCU’s 17-9 victory over Grand Canyon on Feb. 23, walking three batters and surrendering four-earned runs, before only lasting a mere 1 2⁄3 during Rice’s 12-2 rout of the Horned Frogs in Houston on Mar. 3. In his past four innings of work, Janczak has only recorded one strikeout with a combined five walks while hitting one batter.
It’s been an underwhelming sight, no doubt, for the man who emerged as TCU’s ace as a sophomore in 2017 before having his 2018 season brought to an abrupt halt in April as he underwent shoulder surgery. Janczak went 9-2 with a 2.31 ERA as TCU’s No. 1 man in the rotation during the 2017 season — the Horned Frogs’ most recent campaign that ended with a trip to the College World Series — before going 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA across 8 appearances in 2018.
If Janczak is to flip the script Tuesday night, he’ll be required to do so against a lineup that has found its groove in recent outings. San Diego’s current win streak began with a 31-3 (yes, 31) obliteration of UC Riverside one week ago before going 3-0 in the Seattle Showcase Classic this past weekend — a trip that included an 8-5 win over No. 16 Coastal Carolina. Jeff Houghtby will be the the USD player to watch out for at the plate, as the Torero’s infielder is batting .533 with a .667 slugging percentage in the the team’s last four games.
Of course, the Horned Frogs have the ability to counter with their own production at the pate. TCU has averaged 10.8 runs this season across its nine wins, and such explosive outings have often proved to be the difference between victory and defeat. TCU has scored a mere 7 runs combined in its five losses on the calendar, shut-out vs. Cal State Fullerton and Texas A&M.
Production from Josh Watson and Jake Guenther — both who have reached base safely in all 14 TCU’s games and the latter who leads the Big 12 with a .453 batting average — will be counted on once again as the Horned Frogs go up against right-hander Cade Brown, who is 4-1 with a 1.50 ERA for the Toreros this season. TCU shortstop Adam Oviedo also enters game fresh-off a big day at the plate Sunday, recording a double and triple in the Horned Frogs’ series finale vs. Long Beach State.