TCU has a chance to win the regular-season Big 12 championship for a second time in three seasons when it starts a three-game series at Oklahoma on Friday, needing two victories over the weekend to collect the title.
But it’s window dressing compared to the Horned Frogs’ ultimate goals.
“I know it sounds ‘coachy,’ but at the end of the day, we’re just trying to put together three days of consistent baseball,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I felt like we came a little bit closer to that from a starting pitching standpoint this past weekend. There were parts of the bullpen that were really disappointing. But the starting pitching was relatively good.”
Nick Lodolo, Brian Howard and Mitchell Traver combined to go 1-0 with a 3.06 ERA in the series sweep of Texas, with Howard and Traver pitching season highs in innings. They are scheduled to pitch in the same order at Oklahoma, which starts the series 3 1/2 games behind the league-leading Frogs.
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TCU won the 2015 regular-season Big 12 championship and the 2014 and 2016 Big 12 tournament championships.
“Oklahoma has a lot to play for, too,” Schlossnagle said. “They can still win the league. Everybody is playing for position in the postseason, and they have a good team. Our only result-oriented goal in the regular season is to try to win as close to or over 40 games against a good schedule so we can put ourselves in position to be an at-large team in the NCAA tournament.”
TCU holds a two-game lead on second-place Texas Tech, which is idle this weekend. So with a magic number of 2, two victories would clinch the championship for the Frogs and add to a résumé that includes a No. 5 RPI rating.
Two years ago this weekend, the Frogs clinched their first Big 12 regular-season championship with a sweep in Norman.
“Any kind of championship that is to be played for, we would love to be in a position to win it. It means a lot,” Schlossnagle said. “As good as the league’s been since we’ve been in it, 2013, that would be great. It’s nice to have it in your own hands versus waiting for somebody else to help. But the most important thing is that we play well on Friday night and see what happens.”
No. 5 TCU at No. 24 Oklahoma
6:30 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday (FSSW+), 1 p.m. Sunday (FCS)