TCU baseball appears headed to another postseason berth

The weekend couldn't have gone better for TCU baseball.

The Horned Frogs swept Air Force and took sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference with three league games left in the regular season.

New Mexico is a game behind after losing Friday night at UNLV. The Frogs (32-16, 16-5 in MWC) are at Oklahoma (33-19) at 6:30 tonight at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman, Okla.

TCU beat the Sooners 4-3 two weeks ago in Fort Worth. At the time, that game and tonight's appeared to hold great significance with regard to NCAA tournament qualifications.

Much has changed, but tonight's game remains important to both teams, if more for the Sooners, who are fighting to earn an at-large bid if they fail to win the Big 12 Conference Tournament. But things are looking up for Oklahoma. The Sooners are coming off a three-game sweep of previously No. 2-ranked Baylor. The Bears dropped to No. 7 in Monday's Baseball America Top 25. The Frogs moved up four spots to No. 20 and have greatly improved their at-large bid possibilities. They appear to be a lock to earn their ninth consecutive NCAA regional tournament appearance barring a total collapse against San Diego State this weekend and at the MWC tournament next week. The MWC tournament champion earns an automatic berth.

TCU is 18-3 since losing its third in a row April 5. The Frogs held Air Force to three runs (two earned) and outscored the Falcons 33-3 in the three-game sweep over the weekend. After winning the first two handily, TCU won 6-1 Sunday. It's the first time the Falcons had been swept at home this season.

"From a mental standpoint, Sunday was really impressive to me," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "We won the first two in convincing fashion and if there was ever an opportunity to have a letdown, that was it. That was as proud as I've been as the TCU coach in a while, to perform like that on Sunday."

Left-hander Brandon Finnegan (2-3), from Fort Worth Southwest High School, is starting tonight against the Sooners. He held Oklahoma hitless in two innings in the Frogs' May 1 win.

Players honored

Outfielder Jason Coats and pitcher Preston Morrison were named the Mountain West player and pitcher of the week Monday. Coats batted .571 with eight RBIs and became the second TCU player to collect 300 or more hits and 200 RBIs in his career. Royce Huffman is the Frogs' career leader with 317 hits and 225 RBIs. Morrison held the Falcons to two hits in eight scoreless innings Friday to improve to 8-0.

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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