Pack your coolers and grab your costas, kids, because baseball starts this afternoon. If you haven't already reserved your spot in right field, you might be out of luck. In our far-flung bureaus of Boston, Durham, Pascagoula, etc., we trusty blogguers are jealous of those who will be in and around the ballpark for opening day, and it won't get any better if you keep tweeting pictures of lady spectators wearing entirely insufficient clothing for 55-degree weather. Don't stop, though. We're easily distracted on Fridays.
Focused like a laser, though, we're sure, are the Diamond Rebs on opponent. We understand that you've been a little busy napping after you camped out early behind the Music Building with your tent, so we've compiled a brief primer on Texas Christian's baseball team. If you want someone else's homework concerning the names of the girlfriends of their outfielders, you'll have to look elsewhere because
our damned lawyers we don't encourage that.
RANKINGS ARE IMPORTANT!
Ole Miss comes in ranked #13 by Baseball America, while TCU is ranked #14 by the same publication. The Horned Frogs recieved 3 out of 9 first place votes in the Big XII coaches' preseason poll, putting them right behind Oklahoma in preseason rankings. Ole Miss is predicted to finish 4th in the SEC Western Division because SEC! SEC! SEC! SEC!
PROJECTED PITCHING MATCH-UPS
The Rebels return a significant 1-2 punch in Bobby Wahl and Mike Mayers. (Oh, look, we already talked about that!) Today's starter for TCU is LHP Brandon Finnegan, a sophomore who made 11 starts in 2012 with a 3.47 ERA and a 4-5 record. Rebels might remember him for pitching 7 1/3 innings in TCU's first elimination game in last year's College Station Regional (a game the Frogs won). The young man has yet to allow a home run in his college career.
Pre-season All American RHP Preston Morrison, also a sophomore, is slated to start Friday. His statistics are demonstrably more impressive than Finnegan's. Morrison also made 11 starts in 2012, posting an impressive 2.08 ERA and a 9-2 record. His first victory in college baseball came against Ole Miss early last season, but, of course, we waxed that ass in the first game of the College Station Regional.
And don't look past Sunday Starter RHP Stefan Crichton's silly spelling of his first name. The Junior posted a perfectly respectable 9-2 record last year with a 3.41 ERA.
Closing for TCU is another Pre-season All American, RHP Andrew Mitchell, the junior who had a .198 ERA last year in 16 starts. Our piss poor journalism did not uncover why Coach Slobnoggle (sp?) has moved him to closer.
Not unlike their top starting pitchers, the rest of TCU's team is young. Infielders Derek Odell, Kevin Cron, Keaton Jones and outfielder/designated hitter Jerrick Suiter were all contributers to the team in 2012, and all return as sophomores. Cron led the team with a .338 batting average, starting at First Base in 30 of their games. And he let three fly out of the park during the College Station Regional.
Another big hitter is Jantzen Witte, a senior who, based on name alone, may also double as either a Northern European ambassador to the United Nations or a mid-afternoon anchor on MSNBC. Whether either of those things are true, he did his for .315 in 2012. And, after missing the first 18 games of the season, roared back to do things like hitting the go-ahead home run against the Rebels in the Championship Game of the College Station Regional. This is all to say that I hope everyone stops buying Nordic Tracks, and his home country goes bankrupt and gets invaded by a different set of vikings.
OTHER FUN FACTS! Check out TCU's opening weekend notes here. The Fort-Worth Star Telegram says things here. You can harrass their sports information directors on Twitter @TCU_Baseball. And, of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't pimp our SBNation colleagues at Frogs O'War (it's like Beef O'Brady's, but it doesn't suck) right here. Go over there and tell them that SMU is their real rival; that'll probably piss them right off. Careful though - frogs give you warts.
GO REBS & THROW IT IN THE DIRT!