By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
TCU’s season opens today against No. 10 Vanderbilt at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
We’ve been spending the week getting you ready, and you can catch up on anything you missed right here.
- Process-oriented Frogs planning for long trek to Omaha
- A retooled rotation, bolstered bullpen, and young names to know
- Elite talent and depth define Frogs’ infield
- Speed abounds in veteran outfield
- A stacked schedule will keep the Frogs busy
Now, it’s time to dive into the College Baseball Showdown and TCU’s three opponents this weekend. First though, Oklahoma State and Texas are also participating in the weekend showcase.
TCU’s Big 12 rivals will not meet the Frogs until later this season, but TCU fans will get a taste of what the Cowboys and Longhorns will offer up as competition as the Frogs attempt to defend their 2022 Big 12 regular season title.
Friday: No. 10 Vanderbilt Commodores
2022 record: 39-23, NCAA regional appearance
Projected starting pitchers: TCU – RHP Ryan Vanderhei, Vandy – LHP Carter Holton
The Commodores are a college baseball blue blood, and the return a wealth of talent from last year’s NCAA tournament team. The Frogs are just 2-4 all-time against Vanderbilt, and look to right that ship on Friday.
Vanderbilt is led by junior center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr., who has 93 career stolen bases and a career .433 on base percentage. His presence at the top of the lineup causes problems for opposing pitchers, and Vanderhei will have to be cautious with him.
Sophomore pitcher Carter Holton should get the start on Friday, but if it’s not him Devin Futrell will likely get the nod. Both received freshman All American honors a season ago, while Holton struck out 97 in 80 1/3 innings pitched.
Saturday: No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks
2022 record: 46-21, College World Series appearance
Projected starting pitchers: TCU – RHP Cam Brown, Arkansas – RHP Will McEntire
Arkansas was one of the final eight teams standing a season ago, notching their third CWS appearance in the last four seasons. The Razorbacks once again have a load of talent in the lineup and on the mound, including the pitcher TCU will face on Saturday.
McEntire posted a 2.59 ERA last season in 12 appearances, including eight starts.
Meanwhile, Arkansas boasts four preseason All Americans, including sophomore first baseman Peyton Stovall. Stovall slashed .295/.373/.425 with six homers and 31 RBIs in 2022 during his true freshman campaign.
Creighton transfer Jared Wegner is in his first season with Arkansas, after finishing his four-year career with the Bluejays with a .303 batting average.
Sunday: Missouri Tigers
2022 record: 28-23
Projected starting pitchers: TCU – TBD, Missouri – LHP Tony Neubeck
Missouri was picked to finish seventh in the SEC East in the preseason coaches’ poll, receiving the fewest votes of any team in the conference. Don’t let that fool you though, as the Tigers are a talented bunch.
Third baseman Luke Mann received All-SEC preseason honors this year, as he enters his fifth season. Mann led the Tigers with 17 home runs a season ago. Defensively, the Tigers posted a team fielding percentage of .976 last season, one of the top in the SEC. For comparison, TCU’s team fielding percentage was .978.
TCU is expecting Luke Savage to start Sunday’s contest, but there’s a chance he’ll pitch earlier in the weekend in relief. If that’s the case, Cal transfer Sam Stoutenborough is in line to get the start.
- Austin Davis, RF
- Elijah Nunez, CF
- Brayden Taylor, 3B
- Kurtis Byrne, C
- David Bishop, 1B
- Luke Boyers, LF
- Cole Fontenelle, DH
- Tre Richardson, 2B
- Anthony Silva, SS