No. 6 TCU heads to Austin for a three-game series against Texas starting Thursday with a healthy Connor Wanhanen and some bullpen pitchers in form.
Wanhanen played in Tuesday’s 6-4 victory against Abilene Christian, his first action since missing six games with a hamstring injury, and three relievers each threw a scoreless inning.
“He said he feels good,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said of Wanhanen, a sophomore first baseman who was the Big 12’s freshman of the year last season. “I was glad to see him finally get his timing. He crushed that ball into center field, really had a good at-bat there. That was a really good thing to see.”
Wanhanen is hitting .283 in 14 games with four walks and 12 strikeouts. He hit leadoff for 13 games and returned to the No. 3 spot Tuesday.
TCU is 8-1 against Texas since joining the Big 12. The Horned Frogs swept three-game series in Austin in 2014 and in Fort Worth in 2015.
Schlossnagle said center fielder Nolan Brown, who had hand surgery in January, took one round of batting practice Tuesday and felt better.
“I’m not ready to say he’s ready to play yet, but he’s a lot closer than he has been in the last three weeks,” Schlossnagle said.
Preston Guillory, Jared Janczak and Durbin Feltman were sharp in relief Tuesday. Guillory allowed two hits but no runs and struck out two. Jared Janczak gave up a walk but no hits. Feltman struck out all three batters he faced for his first save.
TCU will play only its second true road game Thursday. The team plays 10 of its next 11 on the road. The Frogs are 28-13 on the road since 2014.
For Guillory and Feltman, it added to strong outings against West Virginia. Both were unscored on in two appearances in the series. Janczak, however, had been scored on in his previous three outings.
“I think Preston’s doing better. And Janczak’s been fine,” Schlossnagle said. “We’ve asked a lot of him early in the season. He was 92 mph [against ACU], which was as hard as he’s thrown in a while.”
Drew Gooch and Brian Trieglaff also pitched scoreless relief innings in their last appearances, Sunday against West Virginia.
18Times TCU has outhit the opponent this season. The Horned Frogs have 218 hits in 160 innings hitting and 143 against in 175 innings pitching.
TCU (17-3, 3-0 Big 12) is going with its regular rotation when it faces the Longhorns. Luken Baker will start Game 1, followed by Brian Howard on Friday and Rex Hill on Saturday.
Texas (8-10, 0-0) is going with Morgan Cooper, Tyler Culbreth and Kyle Johnston.
TCU at Texas
6 p.m. Thursday (LHN)
6 p.m Friday (LHN)
2:30 Saturday (FS1)