May 29, 2008

Regional Preview: No. 3 seed TCU

Talk about coming into a house and stealing everything you see.

That's pretty much been what Texas Christian has been doing since joining the Mountain West Conference a few years back. They've been picking up championships left and right in baseball. That's what the Horned Frogs did this year, taking the baseball crowns (both regular-season and tournament) for the third time each this season. And with nary a mountain near their campus! (Or not really even being west for that matter.) Three-for-three isn't a bad batting average for regular-season and tourney crowns considering you've only been in the league for… three seasons.

So what is it about these pointy little lizards that make them so tough? Well, probably their pointy little edges all over their bodies. But it also probably has to do with the fact these Frogs just find ways to win. They put together a great overall record with a combination of dominance in-conference and a solid non-conference showing, which included the likes of Ole Miss, Cal-State Fullerton, Baylor, Oklahoma and Wichita State.

So what's there to know about these purple frogs? It's time to get acquainted with the No. 3 seed in the Stillwater Regional, the TCU Horned Frogs.

Location: Fort Worth, Tex.
Conference: Mountain West (tournament champions)
NCAA Appearance: 6th
2008 Record: 43-17 (19-5; regular season champions)
Best win: 4-2 over then-No. 13Cal-State Fullerton (Feb. 23)
Worst losses: Losing two of three to UNLV Mar. 29-30, both by 7-6 scores
Longest winning streak: 11 (Apr. 30-May 21); posted sweeps over Utah, Texas-Pan American and New Mexico over that span.
Longest losing streak: Three (Mar. 14-16); swept by Wichita State and was only one of two weekend series losses all season.
Team Batting Average: .302
Staff ERA: 3.45
Best player: OF Chris Ellington (.335, 5 HR, 52 RBI)
Best pitcher: RHP Andrew Cashner (8-3, 9 saves, 1.80 ERA)

If you're looking for an upset pick in this Regional, the Frogs could be just the ticket. Between starters Tyler Lockwood (7-1, 2.21) and Sean Hoelscher (7-3, 4.48) and reliever
Ellington, they have just enough pitching to be dangerous, especially if they beat the Shockers right off the bat tomorrow. Their offense is average, but they just find ways to win. In 20 one-run ballgames this season, the Frogs sport a 14-6 mark. That should give TCU confidence going up against the Shockers and Oklahoma State in close contests.

Prediction: They'll scare the Cowboys or Shockers at least once and will finish second in the regional.

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