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Monday, May 31, 2010
Tourney primer: TCU Horned Frogs

By Josh Davis

Record: 46-11, 22-5 Mountain West, 9-1 last 10

Beat: Cal State Fullerton (2X: 5-2, 8-1), Texas Tech (Series sweep, 25-13 combined score), Oral Roberts (6-4), Texas A&M (6-1), Baylor (5-4), New Mexico (3X: 3-2, 26-4, 2-0)

Lost to: Cal State Fullerton (6-4), Rice (5-4), Air Force (2X: 14-11, 4-2), Dallas Baptist (8-7), Oklahoma (2X: 4-2, 8-3), Baylor (14-4), New Mexico (3-2)

Key Players:

Sophomore outfielder Brance Rivera -- .391, nine of 10 stolen base attempts, 59 hits in just 37 starts

Sophomore outfielder Jason Coats -- .369, leads team in runs (60), hits (86), and RBIs (62), has 13 home runs, but 44 strikeouts

Senior catcher Bryan Holaday -- .357, 58 runs, 85 hits, .989 fielding percentage, caught 21 of 41 baserunners stealing

Starting rotation:

Freshman LHP Matt Purke -- 12-0, 3.34 ERA, 113 strikeouts to 25 walks, allowed four home runs in 89 IP, .225 opponent's batting average

Redshirt Junior RHP Steven Maxwell -- 10-1, 2.73 ERA, 77 strikeouts to 29 walks

Sophomore RHP Kyle Winkler -- 10-1, 3.14 ERA, two complete games, pitched most innings of any TCU pitcher, .243 opponent's batting average

Redshirt Senior RHP Paul Gerrish -- 1-3, 4.57 ERA, seven starts, 36 strikeouts to 15 walks but has a .323 opponent's batting average

Most used relievers:

Senior RHP Tyler Lockwood -- 6-2, 54 IP, 2.00 ERA, four saves, .230 opponent's batting average

Junior RHP Trent Appleby -- 3-1, 37 IP, 3.41 ERA, 23 strikeouts to 11 walks

Sophomore RHP Kaleb Merck -- 2-1, 24 IP, 1.12 ERA, 18 strikeouts to four walks, has allowed three earned runs in 18 appearances

Will move on if:

They avoid trouble early. The Horned Frogs' top three starters have been nearly unbeatable (32-2) this season and TCU rode them to an undefeated record in weekend series, the only team in the country to do so. Their offense can score in a variety of ways but has struggled with stranded batters at points in the season. However, for the most part this is a stong baseball team. The Frogs were in contention for a national top-eight seed before their RPI took a big hit in a home loss to lowly Air Force in mid-May.

Could be trouble if:

They lose an early game. The Horned Frogs will start their regional with a Lamar team that snuck into the tournament with a Southland tourney suprise victory. If TCU takes care of business in that game and can outplay the Arizona-Baylor winner in the next, expect the Frogs to move on to the Super Regionals. However, the Frogs don't have a reliable fourth starter. It has hurt the team's RPI, as TCU struggled in midweek games but could power its way to two out of three wins against anyone in a series. If the Frogs lose focus in an early game, as they did in bad losses to Air Force and Dallas Baptist, and have to climb in to the region's final with a fourth starter, they could have a fight in store from Baylor or Arizona.

First game: Friday, 7 p.m. vs. No. 4 Lamar

The tourney primers will continue Tuesday with Oklahoma and Texas A&M.