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No. 12 TCU Baseball vs West Virginia: Weekend Series Preview

TCU Baseball huddles after a tough loss to UTSA on 3/30/22.

It’s been a rough week so far for the newly, No. 12 ranked TCU Baseball (18-7).

Two mid-week losses to inferior foes stung the Frogs, as the team fell to both Abilene Christian and UTSA, Tuesday and Wednesday. Dropping back-to-back games for just the 2nd time this season, TCU will be looking to bounce back tonight, Friday, as the team’s set to host Big 12 opponent West Virginia (14-9) for a weekend series.

What’ll be crucial during this series?

Well, seeing that the Frogs allowed 6 runs to Abilene Christian, and 12 to UTSA, better pitching is gonna be key. And with the starting pitchers Head Coach Kirk Saarloos is trotting out on the mound this weekend, there’s a solid chance those struggles cease.

Riley Cornelio, Cam Brown, and Brett Walker will be called upon to start this weekend, as all three have looked very comfortable on the mound as of late. Cornelio (3-1, 3.37 ERA), who’s starting Friday night’s game, has pitched 3 straight wins, allowing only 6 combined runs in those Ws. With 19 Ks in those 3 starts, Cornelio has been scorching recently, and he’ll hope to keep his form tonight.

He’s likely to face WVU pitcher Jacob Watters (2-1, 2.25 ERA), who didn’t allow a hit in 5.0 IP against Youngstown State last Friday. Watters should be a tough arm to face, but the Frogs’ batters haven’t had much trouble lately. Luke Boyers, Elijah Nunez, and David Bishop have reached base safely in 15 straight, 20 straight, and all 25 games, respectively, and Brayden Taylor has been hot recently, collecting 7 hits in his last 16 ABs.

Cam Brown (2-2, 4.50 ERA), will start on the mound for TCU Saturday afternoon. Brown allowed 3 runs off 3 hits in 3.0 IP last Saturday, against Kansas State, but was still able to notch the W, as the Frogs’ bats went OFF, winning 14-5. He’ll hope the result is the same, but will also hope to pitch a bit better than his last outing. He’ll be facing WVU pitcher Ben Hampton (4-1, 2.68 ERA), who’s had a phenomenal season so far, and on a hot streak, as in his last outing he pitched 7 innings, allowing only 2 runs to get through.

Brett Walker, who still hasn’t lost a game all season, is set to start the series finale Sunday afternoon. Though he’s notched a W in all, he’s given up 20 hits in his three most recent starts, struggling to find a solid rhythm on the mound. The starting pitcher for the Mountaineers on Sunday has yet to be announced.

The West Virginia offense ranks 8th in the Big 12 in hitting (.257), and McGwire Holbrook leads the Mountaineers, hitting .328. Grant Hussey has a team-high 6 HRs, and Victor Scott II paces the squad with 22 RBIs, and a Big 12-high 21 stolen bases. This squad ranks 3rd nationally with 88 stolen bases on the year.

The TCU offense still ranks 5th in the Big 12 in hitting (.284). 1B David Bishop sits 2nd in the Big 12, and 8th nationally, with 37 RBIs and CF Elijah Nunez, who’s been a massive factor on the bases, is now 16-for-16 in stolen bases, a total that ranks tied for 14th in the nation.

The Mountaineers are 2-1-1 in weekend series this year, but don’t often have weekend series success against the Frogs, as TCU has swept the regular season series four of the last seven seasons, and has won seven of the eight series played between the two. West Virginia’s had a good start this year, but they haven’t faced a team with the caliber of the Frogs yet, as this will be the Mountaineers’ first Big 12 series of the season.

With the home-field advantage, and the amazing weather coming to Fort Worth this weekend, the Frogs will be pumped to avenge a couple mid-week losses, and come out swinging against the Mountaineers.

All three games will be televised on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. The first pitch of the series will be Friday, at 6:00 P.M.