The Lone Star State will be down one of their two entrants into the College World Series following the elimination game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the TCU Horned Frogs on Tuesday. Texas A&M was the longshot of the tournament and happy to be here after avoiding mighty North Carolina thanks to goliath-killer Davidson. As for TCU, it had the misfortune of facing first-round pick Alex Faedo in its opening game. Faedo dominated the Horned Frogs with seven innings of shutout baseball and left them on the precipice.
This game will take place at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. It will be broadcast on ESPN.
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TCU is going to trust Brian Howard to get the job done and stave off elimination after ace Jared Janczak was somewhat less than his best against Florida.
Howard was 11-3 on the season and pitched more innings than anyone on the Horned Frogs. He posted a K/9 of over nine so he knows what it takes to get batters out and TCU knows it can ride him for six or seven innings if he is pitching well.
His power numbers are a little dicey, allowing a home run a little over every 16 innings, but nothing too alarming. However, he did hit 10 batters and register six wild pitches on the season, so control can be an issue.
Texas A&M is going to go with Stephen Kolek on Tuesday afternoon. Kolek averaged a little less than six innings a start last season and will need to go around that for the Aggies to feel confident about their chances.
The Aggies used five different pitchers in their loss to Louisville. Although the bullpen is used to going longer innings, the Aggies have to try to be somewhat frugal with their arms since they are in the loser’s bracket.
Kolek didn’t start in the Super Regional, but pitched a gem in his last outing. He went 8.1 innings against Houston and struck out nine to give the Aggies the regional clinching win.
Manager Rob Childress stated that star pitcher Brigham Hill will be available in the bullpen, but you have to wonder how effective he will be. He pitched 3 2/3 innings against Louisville in his first bullpen appearance of the season and no one knows how he would respond after just a day of rest.
Hitters to Watch
Blake Kopetsky had the best game of any Aggies batter against Louisville. He went 3-4 at the plate with two doubles and didn’t let the moment get the better of him.
More than anything else, the Aggies need people to get on base. Their power hitters are just fine, but they have the lowest team OBP of any school here. Nick Choruby is the only player with an OBP above .390 that is an everyday starter and even he strikes out in a fifth of his plate appearances.
TCU has a fantastic power hitter in Evan Skoug, but he was held in check against Florida. Skoug has 20 home runs on the season because of his aggressive nature at the plate and the Gators were able to use that to their advantage. They got him to whiff three times in his four plate appearances.
Cam Warner was the only Horned Frog that had a multi-hit game against the Gators. He was third on the team in batting average in the regular season.
College World Series ATS Pick
TCU is the play in this do-or-die game. The Horned Frogs have better hitters and a manager that knows what he is doing. The bullpen has been solid and Howard is reliable enough in his typical role. TCU should be able to pull out a low-scoring win and stay alive in the CWS.
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