Look at it as a one-off. Look at both as different teams. That’s all true. It’s a tall task no matter how you look at it.
“I told our guys from the beginning, you’re going to get asked that question over and over again,” Dixon said. “It’s tough to beat a team three times in a row. We’re not doing that. We’re playing for one game. That’s all we’re doing.
“The last two don’t matter. They don’t factor into this. We’re a better team now and I believe they think they are too.”
Dixon’s message has been received by his team. The Frogs (23-13) are pleased to have swept Texas (19-16), winning 65-61 in Fort Worth in January and closing the regular-season with a 69-56 victory in Austin, but those won’t factor into this postseason game.
“We’re in a one game season,” junior guard Desmond Bane said. “The other two? It was great to beat them and sweep them, but we’ve got to win this game now. We’re just looking at it as another game now and another game we have to win.”
This was a tough way to lose a series.
The Pokes extended their lead in the fifth. Following singles by McCusker and Funk to put OSU runners on the corners with one out, Trevor Boone laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home McCusker and make the score 7-4. TCU chipped away at the lead with a run in the seventh and then tied things up again in the eighth. With OSU leading 7-5, C.J. Varela issued a walk and a double with two outs, and Oviedo then roped a two-RBI double into the left-center field gap to make the score 7-7. In the decisive ninth, OSU loaded the bases with two outs thanks to an error and two walks. McCusker then stepped to the plate and ripped a two-RBI single through the right side to give the Cowboys the lead at 9-7. The Frogs did not go quietly in the bottom of the inning. With runners on the corners and two outs, Leeper struck out Austin Henry, but he reached safely on the wild pitch as the runner from third scored to make the score 9-8.
Another Newton star is high on the Horned Frogs list.
TCU’s 2020 recruiting class isn’t expected to be large with a limited number of scholarships available. However, defensive end is still a big need and make no mistake, Sylvester, who is rated as the No. 11 weakside defensive end in the nation, is one of the top prospects on the Frogs’ wish list regardless of position. Sylvester says the coaches have been up front with him on the type of impact he could make.
“They said I would fit in good for their defense coming off the edge,” Sylvester said. “They need defensive ends bad so I think I could most likely play my freshman year if I go there.”
Sylvester already had a strong relationship with the TCU coaching staff prior to his visit; particularly with Jeremy Modkins and Zarnell Fitch. Sylvester says he likes the way coaches interact and have fun but get down to business when it’s time.
In addition to his relationship with the staff, the Frogs have perhaps their two biggest recruiters in his ear on a daily basis; Newton teammates Josh Foster and Darwin Barlow who signed with the Frogs’ 2019 class.