As was the case a year ago, it will likely take a Big 12 Tournament title for TCU baseball to reach the upcoming postseason — something which the the Horned Frogs fell achingly shy of achieving last May. A chance at redemption begins today in Oklahoma City, Okla. as Jim Schlossnagle and Co. face Oklahoma State — ranked No. 11 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 rankings — to get their week in Bricktown started.
Here’s all that you need to know about Wednesday’s matchup as the Horned Frogs and Cowboys go head-to-head.
Big 12 Tournament: TCU (6) vs. Oklahoma State (3)
When: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 — 7:30 p.m. CT
Where: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark — Oklahoma City, Okla.
Radio: KTCU 88.7 FM
Records: TCU (29-24; 11-13 Big 12), Oklahoma State ( 32-17, 14-9 Big 12)
Probables: TCU — Nick Lodolo (6-4, 2.18 ERA), Oklahoma State - Parker Scott (2-1, 1.44 ERA) Regular season head-to-head: Oklahoma State 2-1
What to watch for
Going the extra mile: For all the inconsistencies TCU has had plate after some hot hitting in the early stages of the season, extra bases haven’t been an issue for the Horned Frogs of late when they’ve put the ball in play. In the last 11 games, TCU has recorded 40 extra-base hits, including 24 doubles and 14 home runs. Not all have been timely, as the Horned Frogs went just 6-5 in that stretch and only plated more than six runs three times, but it’s a start when it comes to finding the confidence needed to make a run in the Big 12 tournament and possibly beyond. TCU sits at 53 homers on the season, which is just the third time in the last eight season the Horned Frogs have hit the 50-homer mark. Additionally, Zach Humphreys and Josh Watson enter Wednesday with 5-game hitting streaks.
Last time out for Lodolo? While nothing is set in stone, there is a real possibility that Wednesday could be the final time we ever see junior ace Nick Lodolo — a widely projected first round MLB draft pick — in a TCU uniform, at least if the Horned Frogs suffer an early exit in the Big 12 tournament. Nonetheless, the Horned Frogs will be counting on the Southern Californian to set the tone for the week in the Sooner State. Lodolo enters OKC with 113 strikeouts on the year, the 13th most in the nation. He additionally ranks No. 19 nationally with 5.95 K:BB ratio. Also good news: TCU - regardless of the conference at the time — has only failed to win a tournament game once in the Schlossnagle era (2015), so historically, you can count on the Horned Frogs finding the win column at least once in the coming days.
Know thy opponent: As you might recall, TCU’s regular-season series with Oklahoma State at home in March was the start of when things got ... um... a tad bumpy, as the Horned Frogs lost games in the ninth inning not once but twice that weekend at Lupton Stadium. Of course, the silver-lining to that 2-1 series loss is that the Horned Frogs were that close to a sweep, so there’s no reason why TCU can’t prevail Wednesday evening.
When it comes to players to watch, the Cowboys have plenty of players who know how to cause trouble at the plate. Alix Garcia and left fielder Carson McCusker are the lone Cowboys batting above .300, and Garcia (.306) led the team with .321 average in Big 12 play. McCusker, batting .322 on the year, finished the regular season in top 10 in doubles, triples and slugging percentage among all Big 12 players. Outfielder Trevor Boone (.297) isn’t an easy out either, boasting the top slugging percentage in the Big 12 (.674).