Monday, April 4, 2011

Air Force series recap

I don't want to get too far ahead of myself here, but could it be that a visit from the team who represented the demons of the 2010 Horned Frogs helped excorcize the 2011 team's own tormentors? Certainly, it's way to early to say this team is back on the fast track to Omaha after a 3-0 weekend against a team that came to town sporting an 11-14 record. But the TCU bats did explode for double-digit run totals on Friday night and Sunday afternoon, and they were finally there in the clutch as the Frogs won their first one-run game of the season on Saturday.

To me, it was that 3-2, walk-off victory on Saturday that was the most impressive. Air Force starter Sean Carley was brilliant that afternoon, out-pitching Matt Purke and putting the Falcons in position to win. For most of the season, when faced with adversity against an inferior opponent, it has seemed as if the Frogs were playing not to lose instead of playing to win. But that was different in the last two innings of Saturday's game, as the Frogs rallied to tie it in the 8th and then to win it in the 9th on Josh Elander's second double of the game instead of folding when the Falcons re-took the lead in the top of the inning. Could this be the beginning of a new mindset for this ultra-talented squad? The jury's still out, but you've got to hope so.

As for handing out superlatives for the weekend, it's a mixed bag of guys who've produced all season and guys who we've been waiting on to step up. On the mound, Kyle Winkler continued his brilliant 2011 with a 15 K's on Friday night. It's been wonderful to have Winkler be so dominant while Purke continues to work himself toward midseason form. At the plate, Brance Rivera pushed his hit streak to 27, but it was really Taylor Featherston (7-for-13) and Jason Coats (5-for-12) that had the best weekends. Jantzen Witte (5-for-14 with 3 RBI) and Josh Elander (3-for-4 with the game-winner on Saturday) were also impressive.

With three more 4,000+ crowds this weekend, the Frogs have already surpassed their year-old school record for total attendance in a season- with 14 more home games to go. They are averaging over 4,300 per game and have a very outside shot of reaching 150,000 total for the year.

The season-long 13-game homestand continues with two midweek games against UT-Pan American and then another home series against New Mexico this weekend.


Tanner said...

featherston, while great at the plate, has been worrying me. while i don't know who would replace him at ss, or that he needs to be replaced, it worries me how many errors he has had this season, and in clutch situations. hopefully his bats keep up and motivate him to field more balls cleanly.

how bout those bats finally? POW. POW POW.

Rotten Arsenal said...

It's not just T-bird... the entire infield has looked sloppy. Holla Pena has definitely calmed down over the last couple of weeks, but he started out the season with some horrible errors. Witte has also had some less than textbook chances... although the diving catch he made on Saturday to prevent what would have surely been a multi base hit, was fantastic.
Talking to the guys Saturday after the game, there was no doubt that there was some pressure lifted by that "never say die" performance on Saturday. And I think it showed on Sunday. They were actually hitting the ball with ease, much like last year. We still need to get our bullpen straightened out, but I think they are definitely heading in the right direction.