Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Regional Projections

Does the road to Omaha run through Reckling?

In past years, we've paid attention to the NCAA Tournament Regional projections because the Frogs were in the thick of the hunt to host the first weekend of the tournament. This year, we pay close attention because the Frogs are on the bubble in terms of just making the tournament at all.

The good news is that, for at least this week, TCU is on the good side of the bubble- the college baseball site Perfect Game names them as one of the last five teams in to the field of 64 along with upcoming non-conference opponent Oklahoma as well as Tennessee, Washington and Georgia Tech. Texas State, who beat TCU in both meetings this year, is part of the "next 10" that are currently on the outside looking in.

Kendall Rogers of PG has the Frogs as a #3 seed in the Houston Regional- hosted by #1 seed Rice and also featuring #2 seed Texas and #4 seed Canisius. That would mean that the Frogs' first game of the tournament would be against the Longhorns. Other teams projected to be possible hosts for TCU are Baylor, Texas A&M and LSU- unless the NCAA decided to ship the Frogs far away from home.

Other Frog opponents in the projected field are New Mexico and UNC Wilmington as #4 seeds, Dallas Baptist as a #3 seed and Cal State Fullerton as a #1 seed and regional host.

TCU-ULM preview

The Horned Frogs put their six-game win streak on the line tonight when they host the Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (17-19), and for the second consecutive week Jim Schlossnagle has made an interesting choice for the starting pitcher in a weeknight game.

Sophomore Tyler Duffie, who has not appeared in a game for the Frogs yet this season, will take the mound to start tonight's game. He joins true freshman lefty Travis Evans as pitchers who have made their season debut in the last few weeks. Last year, Duffie appeared in 8 games, accumulating an ERA of 5.79. He held opposing batters to an average of just .219, but gave up 15 walks in just 9⅓ innings pitched.

Duffie will be opposed by ULM's Alex Hermeling
, a 6'5" freshman from the Chicago area who is making his sixth start of the season. In 14⅓ total innings pitched, Hermeling has allowed opposing hitters to bat .424 against him, resulting in a grotesque 11.30 ERA. That has to be music to the ears of a TCU lineup that has struggled at the plate all year.

Offensively, the Warhawks are led by a pair of seniors- first baseman Joey Rapp and shortstop Jeremy Sy. Rapp leads ULM with 7 home runs and 28 RBIs, while his .333 average is second on the team to Sy's .336. If you can get around those two, though, the rest of the ULM batting order are hitting a collective .231.

This will be the first ever meeting on the diamond between TCU and ULM, which comes exactly seven months after the two schools' first ever meeting on the gridiron. If you're like me, you're wondering why all of a sudden these two schools have decided to start playing each other in multiple sports. It may have something to do with the relative vicinity of Fort Worth and Monroe- just over 300 miles- and the likelihood that a school like ULM would benefit from any and all exposure in the Metroplex. Or, if you sat on the east side of the stadium during the football game back in September, you no doubt remember ULM sideline reporter Amanda Joseph and don't understand why we don't play them in EVERY sport:

Spring Questions Revisited: #3

Despite the marked improvement that the secondary showed from the beginning to the end of the 2011 season, the Horned Frogs' pass defense is still very much a work in progress. Heading into the spring, there was no sure-fire answer at cornerback, which has always been one of the toughest positions for TCU to recruit. That's why the CBs were the #3 question facing the team back in February.

If anyone embodied the Frogs' defensive improvement last year, it was Jason Verrett. His season got off to a rocky start when Robert Griffin, to use a basketball term, posterized #2 on a number of deep balls. By the end of the season, though, Verrett had gained confidence and was playing up to the potential he'd shown in junior college. That momentum has apparently carried over into the spring, as Patterson has gone on record as saying that Verrett had the best spring of anyone on defense and that he gives the Frogs "a different kind of animal." Sounds like he's solidified his status as the starting field-side corner heading into his junior season.

Sophomore Kevin White came into the spring pencilled in as the starting boundary corner, and Patterson stated that he has "come a long way"- but he's still being pushed for that job by Travoskey Garrett, a redshirt freshman who the coaches raved about in fall practice last year before a knee injury sidelined him for the season.

A lot of fans were hopeful about incoming JUCO transfer Keivon Gamble, who had a reputation as a pure cover corner at that level. It was thought that he might be the biggest threat to steal one of the starting jobs away. If that is going to happen, though, it hasn't yet. Patterson called Gamble "our 5th corner", which would lead one to assume that redshirt freshman Kolby Griffin would be the #4 guy. As we saw last year, though, GP isn't afraid to use a number of different corners while searching for the right guys.

One thing to make you feel a little bit better is this quote from Patterson regarding his cornerbacks:

"We played better at corner this spring than we did at the end of the fall I felt like.”

Morning Dump