I'm not exactly sure the reason for starting Crichton tonight, other than it's obvious that Schlossnagle is trying to shake things up in order to earn some much-needed W's down the stretch of this regular season in which a great deal of his usual tactics do not seem to be working. Freshman Preston Morrison made the transition from long reliever to Sunday starter last weekend with a successful result, so perhaps this move will bring TCU some good fortune. It may be that a younger pitcher- perhaps Brandon Finnegan or Jerrick Suiter- slides into Crichton's slot in the rotation this weekend against Air Force, or it could be that the sophomore will be kept on a strict pitch count tonight. I guess we'll know by the 4th inning or so.
UTA hasn't announced who will be starting for them tonight, but they will likely be using a plethora of pitchers in this one. On top of having played on the road last night, they have played four games in the past seven days- a grueling stretch for a college team. Judging by how much each of their pitchers were used this weekend, I'd say two guys we're likely to see tonight would be freshman Zach Thompson and sophomore Kasey Merck...both of whom have a bit of sibling rivalry with the Frogs. Thompson, who started and pitched 5 ⅔ strong innings in the previous game between the two schools, is the younger brother of former TCU signee and current Rangers farmhand Matt Thompson. Merck, who has a 4.50 ERA in nine appearances for the Mavs this year, is the younger brother of current TCU closer Kaleb Merck.
Aside from trying to gain confidence by turning things around, the fore-mentioned revenge factor and the need to improve on their 3-5 record in midweek games, this is also one of the last games in which the Frogs can do a whole lot to improve their RPI ranking. UTA is currently #45- six spots ahead of TCU. The only other games that the Frogs have remaining against Top 100 teams are single home games against Texas A&M (#6) and Louisiana-Monroe (#91) and a home & home midweek pair against Oklahoma (#66). Outside of those, the Frogs may not be able to impress the computers even with wins over teams like Air Force (#253), Manhattan (#197) and San Diego State (#138).
Here's a mid-season highlight video to get you pumped for tonight's game (be sure to check out Brance Rivera's amazing catch at the 1:20 mark):