Monday, May 16, 2011

Hatcher vs. Squirrel

In case you were wondering what ever happened to former TCU catcher Justin Hatcher, he's enjoying a very odd 15 minutes of fame right now. After being drafted by the Rangers out of TCU in 2003, he played 5 years of minor league ball before getting hired as the San Diego Padres' bullpen catcher in 2008. Then, in the Friars' 9-7 win over the Rockies at Coors Field Saturday night, he was bit by a squirrel that had found it's way into the San Diego bullpen. Adding to the hilariousness of the situation was the commentary of ESPN's Sage Steele:

TCU-Utah series recap

I didn't get a chance, due to some technical difficulties we were having with the site on Friday, to preview this past weekend's series against Utah. For those of you that are such casual fans that you only get your TCU baseball info from Spit Blood, you might not want to rely solely on a bunch of lazy guys who still rely on free blogger software.

Anyway, the major storylines going into the weekend were that 1) the Frogs needed to win 2 of 3 to clinch another regular season conference title and 2) they would have to do it without their top three starting pitchers. Things got a little shaky in between, but the Frogs did indeed clinch the MWC crown when Jason Coats scampered home in a pair of the bright pink socks (a breast cancer awareness deal, I assume?) pictured above on a wild pitch to win Sunday's game and the series, 2-1.

When I say "things got shaky", I mean that Schlossnagle had to get pretty creative while dealing with a dramatic shortage of arms. Without his top three starting pitchers, he had to make do with a hodge-podge staff that included the tactic of putting senior reliever Trent Appleby in right field after he was pulled in the 9th inning of Saturday's game, just in case he was needed again. It proved to be a wise move, as freshman Tony Rizzotti gave up three consecutive two-out base hits that allowed the Utes to get back in it. Appleby was brought back to the mound from right field and earned the save as he finally got the third out.

In the end, though, the Frogs got three pretty good starts out of Erik Miller (who struck out 8 in 8 innings on Friday), Andrew Mitchell (9 K's in 7 and a third IP Saturday) and Nick Frey (1 run in 6 innings Sunday) to and enough out of Appleby and Crichton from the bullpen to string together a very important series win.

With the two wins on the weekend, TCU improves to 36-15 overall on the year and they've moved up to #15 in the Boyd's World RPI rankings- two spots ahead of Oklahoma, who the Frogs will be going against in the running to host a Regional. Next up is the regular-season home finale against Oral Roberts tomorrow night. My guess would be that Kyle Starratt starts that game and is counted on to eat up as many innings as he can. Then the last weekend series of the regular season gets started in Albquerque on Thursday.

Del Conte live chat @ 3:00pm

Most of the questions will probably just be old people whining about how their season tickets are being moved due to the massive upgrade the football stadium is going through, I'd still recommend checking out Athletic Director Chris Del Conte's live chat on at 3:00pm today. Between these chats and the weekly "Notes on a Scorecard", he has done a great job of keeping fans aware of what is going on with TCU athletics. Of course, it may just be because Danny Morrison warned him about being drunkenly cornered in the men's room at a Mavs' game by one regular on this site who just wanted to know who the Frogs would be playing in non-conference...

Morning Dump

TCU wins MWC baseball title

TCU ace Matt Purke might pitch Thursday at New Mexico

TCU clinches title in wild 2-1 victory over Utah

TCU wins sixth straight MWC regular-season title
College Baseball Insider