The TCU Horned Frogs showed why there were a national seed in their regional last weekend. TCU routed all three of its opponents by at least three runs each over the course of three days and now get to host a Super Regional for a chance to go to Omaha. To get there, they have to beat a Missouri State Bears teams that showed they know how to win close games. The Bears couldn’t win the Missouri Valley Conference, but were able to knock off Arkansas in the Fayetteville Regional.
This series will be contested from Friday, June 9, 2017 through Sunday, June 11, 2017 at Charlie and Marie Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth. The start time for Friday and Saturday’s games will be 6 p.m. ET with Friday’s game being broadcast on ESPNU. If there is a Game 3, it’s time and network will be determined on Saturday.
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How They Got Here
TCU has been one of the best teams in the national all year long. The Horned Frogs were 26-4 at home and haven’t dropped a game in Fort Worth since April 25. They have a very explosive offense, dropping 29 runs over their three games in the Fort Worth Regional last week and will look to keep it up against Missouri State.
The Bears proved themselves adept at keeping it close in Fayetteville. All four of their games were decided by just one run with the Bears beating Oklahoma State 6-5 and Arkansas 5-4 on Saturday and 3-2 on Monday to advance to the Super Regional.
Pitchers to Watch
Missouri State uses star reliever Jake Fromson in whatever role he is needed. Fromson has made 36 appearances this season and has thrown 72 2/3 innings. He has been the most effective pitcher on the team, holding opposing batters to a .157 batting average and he has a strikeout-to-walk ratio of over five-to-one.
The Bears rely on Bryan Young to fill the role of the traditional closer. Young has made 25 appearances and hitters are batting a scant .118 against him this season. He has only allowed four extra base hits. Fromson and Young give this team the confidence that it can hold on to one-run leads.
Jared Janczak returned at just the right time for TCU. The undisputed ace of the staff had to rest for a few weeks because of shoulder soreness, but has picked up right where he left off. He is 9-0 with a 1.89 ERA in 12 starts and batters are only hitting .161 against him. He is striking out over a batter an inning and doing it without allowing any power. In 76 innings opponents have just six extra-base hits against him and zero home runs.
Hitters to Watch
Evan Skoug has been the Adam Dunn of TCU. Skoug can hit a ton and leads the team with 18 home runs on the season, more than double that of the next closest person, but strikes out at a prodigious rate too. He has whiffed 84 ties in 234 at-bats and that makes him very boom-or-bust in this series.
Jake Burger and Jeremy Eierman are going to swing for the fences. Both players have hit 22 home runs this season for the Bears and are getting on base often too. Each has an OBP of at least .430 and can draw a walk. They have plenty of protection in the lineup so TCU can’t avoid either hitter.
Luken Baker won’t be able to play the rest of the season for TCU. The only other player hitting .300 on the Horned Frogs fractured his left arm and underwent surgery two weeks ago to repair the damage.
Blake Graham is unlikely to play in this series either. The Missouri State star went down in a heap this past weekend and it looked like he hurt his leg pretty seriously.
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