Three days of rain has postponed, delayed and jumbled the Fort Worth Regional schedule.
But one thing hasn’t changed — the importance of starting 2-0.
TCU and Virginia were both playing for that valuable distinction in their rain-delayed baseball game late Sunday night at Lupton Stadium.
In a four-team, double-elimination format, winning the first two games creates a commanding position. From there, a team need only a split of two games against a team that must win three consecutive games to advance.
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There is another benefit — avoiding back-to-back games.
The TCU-Virginia winner would advance to a 7 p.m. Monday game, awaiting the winner of a 2 p.m. Monday game between the loser and Dallas Baptist.
If the 2-0 team then wins its next game, the championship is theirs. A loss would force a second championship, Tuesday in the case of the rescheduled Fort Worth Regional.
So Sunday night’s winner between the Horned Frogs and Cavaliers can set up its pitching for two games in two days, if necessary. The loser would need to find pitching for three games in two days.
Sophomore right-hander Jared Janczak (8-0, 1.99 ERA) started for TCU against Virginia sophomore left-hander Daniel Lynch (7-4, 4.94).
TCU still has starters Brian Howard and Nick Lodolo, but would need a fifth starter or a bullpen game to win the title if they fell into the loser’s bracket Sunday night.
Virginia is missing two starting pitchers, Adam Haseley and Noah Murdock, because of injury. Its potential remaining starter is sophomore right-hander Evan Sperling, with nine starts. Outside of that, Virginia could use reliever Alec Bettinger if he is not called on heavily beforehand.
Sunday night’s game started at 9:04 p.m., five hours behind schedule because of rain that started shortly after 4 p.m. The teams never took the field and the pitchers never warmed up for the 4 p.m. start.
Stadium officials announced an “extended delay,” and the teams were advised they were free to leave the stadium and return in time to warm up about 8 p.m.
2 p.m. and/or 7 p.m. Monday, ESPN3