College Sports

April 3, 2014

TCU looking to move up in crowded Big 12 standings

The Horned Frogs enter the weekend 2-4 in league play but with several teams in striking distance.

The TCU baseball team dropped its first two Big 12 series of the season, but the Horned Frogs have a chance to gain back ground in the conference standings.

Only two teams enter the weekend with winning league records.

One of them is West Virginia (16-8, 2-0 Big 12), which comes to TCU (16-12, 2-4) for a three-game series starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday. Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (5-2, 1.42 ERA) will start on the mound for the Frogs, matching up against reigning Big 12 Pitcher of Year Harrison Musgrave (3-1, 2.06).

The Mountaineers, coached by former TCU assistant Randy Mazey, lead the league after sweeping Baylor in a weather-shortened series last week. Behind West Virginia sits Oklahoma at 4-2 then a cluster of teams at .500: Baylor at 4-4 and Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas at 3-3. Texas Tech is 4-5, one spot ahead of the eighth-place Frogs.

“Any team in our league can finish first and any team in our league can finish last,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “That’s not a statement of how mediocre the conference is, that’s a statement of how good the conference is.”

Kevin Cron and Dylan Fitzgerald each homered in TCU’s 12-6 win over UT Arlington on Tuesday. Cron, who had another hit to go along with three RBIs, made an adjustment at the plate after last weekend’s series against Oklahoma State.

“One game does not a season make, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction [for Cron],” Schlossnagle said.

On the mound, Jordan Kipper struck out seven and gave up three earned runs for the win over the Mavericks. The junior right-hander pitched into the seventh inning before leaving after an RBI double.

His career-high 6 2/3 innings gave TCU’s bullpen a breather, Schlossnagle said.

“[Kipper’s outing] was huge,” Schlossnagle said. “We pitched three guys [out of the bullpen] on Sunday. His line probably didn’t look as good as it should, considering [Travis] Evans gave up the double, but we really needed those innings from Kipper to be fresher for the weekend.”

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