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TCU Preview: From the Batters Box

NOTE: I just exchanged text messages with Brandie Davidson, TCU's baseball information director, and she confirmed that it will be TCU's broadcasters who will be synched up with the NCAA video feed. Kind of a bummer, but it is TCU's regional, and since the Horned Frogs will be playing in the game, it makes total sense. Just wanted to throw that out to you guys. 

Oregon State will see a TCU team today that is talented offensively, although their stats don't look as prolific as Texas A&M's did prior to yesterday. They're still a team that scores a lot of runs (385) and hits a decent amount of home runs (61). All of their numbers and percentages, including team batting average (.310) are just a little bit better than that of Oregon State (the Beavers are hitting .277), but again I think that can be attributed to style of play. 

Horned Frog hitters have gotten about 100 more at-bats than the Beavers have this season, but when you compare at-bats to runs, the Beavers in fact have a better ratio. In other words, TCU is scoring slightly more (less than one) runs per game, but the Beavers are more efficient with their at-bats. 

The Horned Frogs enter the game with a team batting average of .310, and have seven players hitting above .300. 

Matt Vern: .367, 15 home runs

Vern has been the leader all year on offense, pacing the team with his high batting average. He was selected as a first-team All-MWC first baseman, and was on the MWC All-Tournament team as well. Vern, who will hit in the cleanup spot and play first base, went 1-for-4 last night against Wright State. 

Chris Ellington: .339, 74 hits

Ellington paced the Horned Frogs last night against Wright State, going 3-for-3 with a run scored. He leads the team with 74 hits, and will likely hit in the middle of the order and play right field against the Beavers. 

Matt Carpenter: .333, 9 home runs

Carpenter, the Horned Frogs' third baseman, comes into the game against the Beavers hitting .333 with 9 home runs, and went hitless last night against Wright State. He was walked twice in the game, a statistical category in which he dominates for TCU. He'll likely hit in the three-hole.

Several other players with notable batting averages:

Matt Curry: .329, 1-for-2 with 2 RBI and 2 walks last night.

Jason Coats: .326, 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored last night.

Taylor Featherston: .313, 0-for-3 with a run scored, two walks last night.

Corey Steglich: .312, 0-2 with a run scored, two walks last night.

We can look at statistics from the 52 regular season games these teams have played all they want, but the Beavers seem to be the team playing better offensively heading into today's game. TCU's bats were fairly hot in the Mountain West Conference tournament despite losing two games, but TCU managed just seven hits against a Wright State team that was struggling on the mound. Part of the reason was that WSU's pitchers, especially starter Rylan Ostrosky, couldn't find the strike zone, as they issued ten walks and hit four more batters. But Oregon State showed some pop offensively against Texas A&M. Against Brooks Raley, TCU's ace, the Beavers got five hits in two innings, and worked A&M's #3 starter Alex Wilson for eight hits over the course of four innings. For a team that has averaged just over nine hits a game all season, the Beavers have the look of getting hot at the right time.

That seems like what it's all about--getting hot at the right time. From all the stats I've looked at, these teams seem to be coming into today's contest evenly matched on the statsheet. It's all about who plays the better game and executes their respective gam-plans... should be a great game.

--Jake (jake.buildingthedam@gmai.com)