Monday, March 28, 2011

Houston series recap

If you've been frustrated by this year's TCU baseball team, I hope you weren't attending, watching or listening to Friday night's game. In a season that at times seems to be ruled by Murphy's Law, the wheels came completely off as the Frogs gave up a 5-run lead in the 9th and lost to Houston, 7-6. The defeat elicited this exasperated response from, and probably a therapeutic latenight viewing of the Rose Bowl on DVR for anyone who suffered through it.

But just as the Frogs giveth away, they also taketh back. Matt Purke had an uncharacteristically subpar performance on Saturday and the Cougars jumped out to a 9-2 lead before the Frogs stormed back to win, 16-10. Sunday's game lacked the roller-coaster nature of the first two as TCU cruised to a 9-1 win and a 2-1 series win.

If it seems as if I'm always singling out Brance Rivera for a strong performance at the plate, it's because he's simply hitting the shit out of the ball. He went 7-for-12 this weekend, including three doubles and a home run...his team-leading sixth. He also drove in four runs, stole a base and pushed his hitting streak to 23 games. He's now hitting .427 on the season and is either first or second on the team in just about every major offensive statistical category.

Aaron Schultz (7-for-14, a double, a grand slam and 6 RBI) and Taylor Featherston (4-for-10, 4 RBI) also deserve some recognition, but Zac Jordan was the surprise star of the weekend. Playing only in the Frogs' two wins of the weekend, Jordan went 4-for-7 with 5 RBI, with all of his hits going for extra bases: two doubles, a triple and his first home run of the season. Look for him to pick up a few more at-bats in the near-future.

My pitching MVP of the weekend is a bit of an odd choice, only because this guy didn't really have all that great of a stat line. Trent Applebly came on in relief of Matt Purke in Saturday's game and was unable to stop the bleeding immediately- allowing Houston's 4-2 lead to balloon to 9-2 by giving up 3 hits and hitting a batter in his first inning of work. But Appleby was able to shake off his rough start and set the Cougars down in order in the 6th and 7th to allow the Frogs the chance to come back and then pitched a fairly efficient 8th & a perfect 9th to preserve the victory. That's the kind of mental toughness you need from a senior, especially just hours after the bullpen had failed in Friday's loss.

While you'd love to see the Frogs sweep an opponent they are clearly better than (and with all due respect to Coach Whitting, TCU is clearly better than U of H at this point) and hate to see a disastrous loss like Friday's, you have to be happy that at least this team can rebound to salvage a series win. Stephen F. Austin continues the parade of in-state, non-conference opponents when they visit Lupton tomorrow night, and then the homestand continues with a three-game set against Air Force this weekend.

Morning Dump

TCU offense pounds on Houston

Three Frogs named preseason all-Americans

Dalton to visit four teams