Almost anything in this world, as bad as things get, will have some sort of silver lining. Hell, even the Hindenburg inspired this little bit of photographic punnery. But as the years ticked by and I spent summer after insufferably hot summer watching Tom Hicks run my beloved Texas Rangers into the ground with his incompetent tomfoolery, I was pretty sure that nothing positive would ever come out of it.
Then came the Matt Purke fiasco. I use the term 'fiasco' loosely, of course, because while the rest of the dozen or so loyal Rangers fans out there sullenly pointed to the team's loss of Purke as yet another byproduct of Hicks' ineptitude, I (as an even more loyal Frog fan) saw that my silver lining had finally arrived.
Thank you so much, Tom Hicks, for being such an idiot.
In a Mountain West Tournament that had seen the lower-seeded team win the first four games of the week, Purke emphatically put his foot down for the favorites in Game #5 last night, striking out 14 batters in seven dominant innings of work to lead the top-seeded Frogs to a 13-2 victory. He allowed just four hits in those seven innings and struck out the side three times to extend his record (as a true freshman, remember) to 12-0 for the season. He also pushed past 100 K's for the season- the first time a Frog has accomplished that in four years.
With the win, the Frogs stay in the winner's brack and remain on line to secure the championship by winning just two more games as long as they avoid a loss. Kyle Winkler will be on the hill tonight to face UNLV (9:00pm Texas time), who upset 2nd-seeded New Mexico yesterday afternoon.
The Lobos, as I mentioned yesterday, were faced with a decision. Do they pitch ace Willy Kesler to make sure they stay in the winner's bracket, or do they save him for a shot at TCU in the second game? Well, they played it safe by pitching Kesler. Whoops! Now they find themselves in the loser's bracket, which TCU found out a year ago is a tough place to fight your way out of, and having already used their most potent weapon. They'll play at 5:00pm today, taking on the winner of the 1:00pm elimination game between BYU and Utah.
While New Mexico being dealt that blow is certainly a positive thing in terms of the Frogs winning the tournament, it could also be seen as a setback- in a situation where they need every little bit of RPI help they can get, TCU will not benefit nearly as much from playing UNLV (#147) tonight as they would UNM (#42). Still, though, there were plenty of things going on across the country yesterday in the Frogs' favor. South Carolina and Auburn, two teams in the hunt for a Top 8 overall seed along with TCU, both lost in the first round of the SEC Tournament. They play eachother in an elimination game this morning, meaning that one of them is assured to go 0-2 for the weekend. Texas also lost yesterday, 7-3 to Missouri. A loss by the Longhorns doesn't really mean much for TCU, but in a race where every little bit counts, that's a big win by a team (Missouri) that lost to the Frogs earlier this season.
If you haven't already checked out the new Section V forum, then what are you waiting for? Drop by today to talk about all the action going on in the conference tournaments today, and during the TCU-UNLV this evening. Fincher promises he won't ban you for something as silly as making fun of the owner of the forum. We're not children.