Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TCU vs. Texas State preview

Freshman Brandon Finnegan takes the hill at Lupton tonight

It's a big night for Horned Frog athletics this evening as the basketball and baseball teams are both in action. Jim Christian and his Basketfrogs take their postseason hopes to Laramie for their final regular-season match up against Doo-Doo Brown in the MWC, but Sir Wesley will have more on that game later. I'm here to talk about Jim Schlossnagle and his TCU baseball team being back in action at home tonight, trying to right the ship following their 2-4 start to the season when they host Texas State at 6:30pm.

True freshman Brandon Finnegan is slated to start for the Frogs. The former ace at Southwest High School and Rangers' draft pick is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in three appearances so far this year. His last appearance was on Saturday against Cal State-Fullerton, when he allowed two base runners (one walk and one single) in a scoreless inning and a third. In a radio interview, Schlossnagle stated that he expects big things from Finnegan once he starts to trust his off-speed pitches as much as he relies on his fastball.

Opposing Finnegan for Texas State will be semi-local senior Mitchell Pitts. A former all-district selection at Flower Mound Marcus, Pitts has compiled a 10-5 record in his three plus seasons in San Marcos. He was the Bobcats' #2 weekend starter last year, but so far in 2011 has only made one start- last Wednesday against Baylor, in which he was roughed up by the Bears for five runs and six hits in just four and two-thirds innings.

At the plate, Texas State is paced by three guys who have enjoyed a hot start to the 2012 season. Second baseman Tyler Sibley, shortstop Nick Smelser and outfielder Jeff McVaney are all batting above .320 and all have on-base percentages of above .340. Also keep an eye on catcher/first baseman Casey Kalenkosky, who provides the most power in the Bobcat lineup. He leads the team in home runs (3), runs batted in (7) and slugging percentage (.679). Overall, they are batting .261 as a team, compared with the Frogs' .262 collective average.

Like the Frogs, Texas State has had some issues on defense. While some of our fans are concerned over the 8 errors that the Frogs have committed so far, the Bobcats have committed 11 already as a team. I hope TCU doesn't need Texas State's poor defense to be able to beat them for the 9th consecutive time and climb back toward .500 for the season.

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