Sunday, June 3, 2012

Crichton comes up HUGE

When you're facing the task of trying to win three games in two days, pitching becomes about as hot a commodity as there can be.  That's why Stefan Crichton's complete game effort stands head and shoulders above a second consecutive fantastic offensive performance by the Frogs in a 10-2 win that both extended TCU's season and ended Texas A&M's.

By eating all nine innings by himself, Crichton allowed Schlossnagle to get through the first of what we hope will be three games without taxing the arm of any of the other pitchers on staff in the heat and humidity that's been baking College Station all weekend.  That will increase the number of available options in tonight's game against Ole Miss- which freshman Brandon Finnegan will start- and a potential game tomorrow night.

While Crichton is deservedly getting headline status for his performance, the offense is definitely worthy of mention, too.  Freshmen Kevin Cron and Derek Odell continued their hot streaks, both hitting home runs as part of a 12-hit outburst.  Over the past two days, this much-criticized (by me, admittedly) batting order has exploded for 38 runs on 35 hits.  A lot of guys seem to really be hitting their stride right now, and that momentum will definitely be needed against the Rebels.

Finally, how satisfying is it for the Frogs to have ended the Aggies' season on their home field?  It's not quite on the level of TCU celebrating a trip to Omaha by dogpiling on the Longhorn logo down in Austin, but seeing frowns on the faces of Aggie fans brings joy to my heart.  The boards over at ought to be a plentiful source of sour grapes for at least a few days.  Goodbye, aggy!

Whoa! Where has THAT been all year?!?

This team is no stranger to weird games, and yesterday's 28-12 win over Dayton to keep their season alive certainly qualifies as yet another oddity.  When Dayton pushed four runs across in the bottom of the 5th to take a 9-6 lead, it looked as though the Frogs might've been headed to an 0-2 finish in this year's NCAA Tournament.

But then...holy hell.  Seven runs in the 6th inning, six in the 7th and nine more in the 9th gave TCU their highest single-game scoring total in nine years and the right to play another day.

If you've been closely following this team's offensive modesty all year, yesterday's box score will probably read for you how "50 Shades of Grey" reads to your wife.  Eight different Frogs had mult-hit performances, led by freshman Jerrick Suiter's 5-for-6 day at the plate.  TCU totaled eleven extra-base hits, including home runs by Kevin Cron, Josh Elander, Brance Rivera (a grand slam) and Josh Gonzales.  Rivera's six RBIs was the most among nine different Frogs who drove in runs- seven of whom had multiple-RBI performances.

Hopefully they can use some of the momentum built up in demolishing the Flyers...because they're going to need it.  Victory #1 in the loser's bracket only wins you the chance to run a long & exhausting gauntlet over the next two days.  Next up is a match up with the host and #1 seeded Aggies this afternoon at 12:35 pm, for which Stefan Crichton is scheduled to pitch for TCU.  Win that, and all that is needed to reach the Super Regionals is to turn around and beat Ole Miss tonight...and then again on Monday.  The pitching strategy in those potential games will likely be a lot of scotch tape, paper clips and guys that have already pitched extensively during the weekend digging down deep to find a few more innings in their tired arms.  It definitely won't be easy, but it can be done.