After dropping three straight games before the Frogs’ weekend matchup at Texas Tech (two losses to Cal State Fullerton and a loss to Dallas Baptist), it seemed likely preseason ranked No. 1 TCU would continue its descent in the college baseball polls entering today’s game versus UT-Arlington at Lupton Stadium.
A breath of fresh West Texas air may have been what the Frogs needed to snap their losing skid 8212; the Frogs now ride a three-game winning streak after sweeping Texas Tech over the weekend. The turnaround even helped TCU move up a spot to No. 7 in the March 7 Baseball America Top 25 Poll. The Frogs also moved up a spot to No. 9 in Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s Top 25 Poll.
“We’ll have to get better and stop regressing,” junior pitcher Kyle Winkler said before the Frogs traveled to Lubbock. “Whether it’s a change in senior year or us in general, we have to get better and that’s really it.”
Winkler walked the walk over the weekend, moving to 3-0 on the season after a 7-0 shutout Friday against the Red Raiders. Winker hasn’t allowed an earned run in 22 1/3 innings.
Junior shortstop Taylor Featherston said the offense couldn’t be held down for too much longer and was on the verge of catching up with the way the Frogs had pitched and played defense in the first eight games of the season. The weekend stats seem to prove Featherston was dead on. The Frogs recorded 45 hits in their last three games after totaling 70 hits in the first eight. But no hitter broke out of a statistical slump quite like junior left fielder Jason Coats, who raised his batting average from .125 to .250 after going 7-for-12 in the three victories over Tech.
The away trip didn’t come without bumps in the road. The Frogs gave up a 6-0 lead Saturday after senior pitcher Steven Maxwell allowed five runs and four walks in the fifth inning. Senior pitcher Trent Appleby allowed the tying run in relief for Maxwell.
Freshman Stefan Crichton came in to relieve Appleby and picked up his first career win in the process after tallying four strike outs and allowing no runs in 3 1/3 innings of work in an 8-6 win.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Purke, who missed his last start due to a blister on his throwing hand, gave the Frogs the series sweep in a 8-1 victory over Tech Sunday. Purke (2-0) pitched six scoreless innings, struck out six Red Raider batters and allowed one hit in 81 pitches. Junior right fielder Brance Rivera and senior second baseman Jerome Pena stretched their hitting streaks in to the double digits. Rivera’s streak reached 11 games on a 2-for-5 day at the plate as Pena stretched his streak to 10 games after recording two hits of his own Sunday.
UT-Arlington enters today’s game on four game winning streak
The Mavericks (6-5) defeated Collegiate Baseball Newspaper’s 19th-ranked Wichita State twice in their four-game winning span, 6-3 Thursday and 9-3 Sunday. The Mavs also defeated Dallas Baptist 13-2 in Dallas Friday. DBU handed TCU a 4-3 defeat in Fort Worth last Tuesday. UTA’s last loss came in a 4-3 defeat to No. 3 Oklahoma.
While the Frogs have amassed 45 hits in the last three games, the Mavs have recorded 51 hits of their own. The Mavs only have one home run on the season, but have a team batting average of .345.
TCU holds an 85-53 edge in the all-time series, while the Frogs have won 14 straight meetings against the Mavericks 8212; a streak dating back to the 2004 season.
No. 7 TCU vs. UT Arlington
Probable starters: Stefan Crichton (1-0, 0.00) vs. Chase Weaver (0-0, 0.00)
When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Lupton Stadium
TV: The Mtn.
Radio: KTCU-FM 88.7
GoFrogs.com: Watch live or follow GameTracker