Only two weeks have elapsed since TCU defeated UT-Arlington by a score of 5-3 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, but the Horned Frogs and Mavericks meet again tonight at the scene shifts to Fort Worth for the final contest of an eight-game TCU homestand.
Straight to the point, the Horned Frogs will be looking to get the Lupton Magic back up and running Tuesday evening after a bumpy finish to the weekend vs. Oklahoma State. TCU took the opener from the Cowboys on Friday, but dropped both the Saturday and Sunday contests thanks to a pair of disastrous ninth innings, including a blown save in the Saturday game.
At no point this season has TCU, having fallen from No. 19 to No. 25 in the latest rankings on Monday, lost three consecutive games. The only other losing streak the Frogs have endured at all this season came in the form of back-to-back losses against Texas A&M and Rice at the start of March.
So will Jim Schlossnagle and Co. right the ship against the Mavericks before hitting the road to Norman, Okla., later this week? Here’s everything you need to know for tonight’s action on the diamond.
No. 25 TCU vs. UT-Arlington
Location: Lupton Stadium — Fort Worth, Texas
First-pitch: 6:30 p.m. CT
Records: TCU (17-9, 3-3 Big 12), UT-Arlington (19-10, 7-2 Sun Belt)
Projected starters: TCU: Dawson Barr (0-0, 7.56 ERA); UT-Arlington: Drew Gooch (1-2, 7.71 ERA)
Series history: TCU leads, 105-58-1
Last meeting: Mar. 19 at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas; TCU won 5-3
What to watch for
Take-two for Barr: Barr, a freshman from nearby Flower Mound, is set to make just his second career start for TCU after getting the nod one week ago vs. UT-Rio Grande Valley. Barr went three innings in that contest, giving up three hits and two earned runs while striking out four batters. His night ultimately ended with a no-decision, so Barr has the opportunity to pick up his first career win as a Horned Frog if things go according to script against the Mavericks.
Good times for Goodloe and Guenther: The good news, either way, is that TCU’s offense has continued to click — win or lose — with six runs or more scored each of the team’s last five games. The Horned Frogs still rank within the top 10 in the nation with a .311 batting average, highlighted by a .371 average from infielder Jake Guenther. Exiting the Oklahoma State series, Guenther has still reached base safely in every game for TCU this season (26). Freshman infielder Bobby Goodloe is also fresh off a big weekend, batting .364 in the series loss to the Cowboys.
Momentum for the Mavs: UT-Arlington enters Fort Worth playing some the best baseball the teams has put together all season. The Mavericks have won seven of their last eight entering Tuesday night, fresh off a three-game sweep of South Alabama over the weekend. Saturday’s 9-7 win for UT-Arlington was a milestone as well, marking the 1,400th victory in program history.
Opposing players to watch: If there’s any one player powering UT-Arlington at the plate this season, look no further than outfielder Connor Aube. The junior out of Falmouth, Maine leads the team in slugging percentage (.538), hits (46), runs scored (31) and extra-base knocks (18). Aube’s 15 doubles on the season ranks third in the entire NCAA.
If provided the opportunity, closer Andrew Gross can also be lethal to any opponent out of the bullpen. Gross leads the NCAA in saves (12), though his last outing on Saturday was one of his rockier showings, allowing four hits and a pair of runs in two innings of work. But with a 1.90 ERA in 23 2⁄3 innings of work, TCU may have to dig deep for any production of Gross should he find himself in a save situation.