Thursday, May 21, 2009

TCU 9, BYU 2

Facing a tough uphill battle if they want to win conference, the Frogs got perhaps the most important performance of the season from freshman starting pitcher Kyle Winkler. In a tournament where pitching arms are going to be the most important commodity, Winkler last all nine innings as the Frogs won, 9-2. He was able to keep his pitch-count down and didn't walk a batter, which gives Schlossnagle the luxury of keeping the remainder of his pitching staff fresh with the possibility of having to play three games in the next two days.

It should also be noted that after committing three errors in Wednesday's loss to Utah, TCU played error-free baseball against BYU. Also, senior 1st Baseman Matt Vern went nuts today: he was 4 for 5, had a 2-run home run, scored three runs and stole two bases in the critical 7th inning- one of which was a steal of home plate.

So now the Frogs advance to play tomorrow at 3:00pm, when they'll take on the loser of tonight's San Diego State-Utah game. If they win there, they'll turn around and play the winner of tonight's game tomorrow night at 7:00pm. A sweep tomorrow by the Frogs would give them a chance to win the tournament Saturday at 1:00pm.

Who do we cheer for tonight? In my opinion, it doesn't really matter. The Frogs will have to play both teams if they keep on winning, so it's really a moot point. Instead, I'd just root for both starting pitchers to get chased from the game early, so that both teams have to put their bullpens to work.

Matt Vern

I hope everyone got to see/hear/gametrack the BYU game today, because it appears as if 1b Matt Vern was hell bent on ruining mormons today. He put together a 4-5 day, complete with a double, a 2-run opposite field homer, and 2 steals, one of which was a steal of home. He might as well have gone into Joseph Smith's home and stolen his imaginary Plates of Nephi. Kyle Winkler, the starting pitcher, was no slouch either. He had a much needed complete game with 2 earned runs, 0 walks (a far cry from last night's pitchers), and 6 K's. This was great for the bullpen to rest for us to get our confidence back and get right back into the mix in this tournament.

Later Mormons. Spend your summer going door to door trying to convert people to the dark side, and we will see you come football season.

TCU vs. BYU, 3:00pm

#3 seed BYU took care of #2 seed New Mexico, 5-1 in the early game to set up in the matchup with the Frogs at 3:00.

While the Frogs' road to the title through the loser's bracket is a long one, BYU's is even longer- this will be their 4th game already in the tournament, and just TCU's 2nd. The Cougars' pitching staff has worked 19 more innings than the Frogs', and they have run through most of their regulars already. The depletion of their staff would've been even more complete had they not been given a complete game, 4-hitter in the morning game from Marc Oslund, who is normally a middle-reliever.

The Frogs really need to chase the BYU starter as early as they can to get into their worn-out bullpen, while having their own starter last as long as possible. Being able to keep fresh arms is the only way they can come back to win this tournament.

You can listen online on KTCU or follow via the Game Tracker.

Morning Dump

Podcast Casting Call ESPN
Is TCU poised to become the latest BCS buster? Will Ole Miss really challenge for the SEC crown? Ivan Maisel and Beano Cook discuss those topics and more in their latest podcast.

Fans missing their chance to boost their TCU Frogs Star-Telegram

Fourth inning lifts Utah past TCU in the MWC baseball tournament Star-Telegram

Hodgeball Scout

Utah topples top-seeded TCU Salt Lake Tribune

Does the M-West and 2008 Utah have beef Scout


Well, shit.

The Frogs seemed to have everything laid out for them: another regular-season conference title and #1 seed in the conference tournament they're hosting, A&M getting swept by OU to make hosting a regional a very realisitic possibility, and then Utah upsetting BYU on Tuesday to let the Frogs avoid Stephen Strasburg.

Then they go out and lose to the #6 seed Utah, 9-7.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time going over what went wrong, because frankly I'm not really a baseball expert. But I'm pretty sure that allowing 15 hits, walking 6, committing 3 errors and having 2 runners thrown out at 3rd isn't exactly a recipe for success. I'd love to give credit to Utah, who has a pretty good start on a nice little Cinderella story going, but really they were just the less-ugly team last night in a really, really ugly baseball game. Like, Dirk's girlfriend ugly.

Now though, the Frogs have to look forward. They've given up the relative ease of the winner's bracket, where they would've had to win just three games to capture their 4th straight MWC Tournament title (and 6th straight conference tournament title- they won the last two in CUSA), for the dreaded loser's bracket. To win the tournament now, they'll have to reel off four wins in three days.

The long road back to glory starts today at 3:00pm, when they'll take on the winner of BYU and New Mexico (who play eachother at 11:00am). Win that, and they'd take on the loser of tonight's Utah/San Diego State game tomorrow at 3:00pm. Win that, and they'd turn right around to play the Utah/SDSU winner at 7:00pm tomorrow night. Win THAT, and then they'd have to beat that team again Saturday at 1:00pm for the championship.

Sounds like a tall task, right? That's why losing last night was so costly. The good news, though, is that the Frogs have by far the deepest pitching staff in the conference. If any team is capable of fighting back to win this thing from the loser's bracket, it's them.