It’s cliché, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle admitted, but it’s true.
When TCU and UT Arlington meet on the diamond, records and rankings can be thrown “out the window.”
The Mavericks (1-5) visit the No. 16 Horned Frogs (6-1) at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lupton Stadium.
Right-hander Jordan Kipper (1-0), who allowed one earned run on three hits in six innings in his TCU debut on Feb. 18, will start against UTA right-hander Brad Vachon (0-2).
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On the face of it, the teams would figure to be headed in different directions. The Frogs have won four consecutive games after three wins at the Kleberg Bank Classic in Corpus Christi over the weekend.
The Mavs won their first game Friday and had to go 19 innings (the longest game in UTA history) to get it against McNeese State. UTA’s Sunday finale against McNeese was canceled because of rain.
“They have a bunch of guys back off a team that did really well in their conference,” Schlossnagle said.
One of the keys for the Frogs’ strong start has been their defense. Catchers Kyle Bacak and Dylan Delso have combined for just one error. A year ago, passed balls were a problem.
Derek Odell and Connor Castellano are playing new positions. Odell has moved from second to third base and Castellano has moved from shortstop to second base. Both have two errors apiece but are making strides, Schlossnagle said.
“We knew going into the season that those guys are in the lineup more for their offensive potential than they are necessarily for being elite defenders,” he said.
“I think it will be a work in progress and they’ve both improved mightily since the beginning of the fall. Castellano is light years ahead as a defensive player than he was when he first made the transition to that side of the field.”
Infielder Garrett Crain, who injured his non-throwing right shoulder last week sliding into first base, is feeling better.
He missed the three games in Corpus Christi and is unlikely to be available Tuesday. Crain could be available this weekend at the Minute Maid Tournament in Houston after doctors evaluate his progress.