Tussle with the Toads
Big stakes for winner in top-10 midweek battle
Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 22:07
The No. 5 Texas A&M baseball team will face perhaps its toughest test of the season today. The Aggies (26-10, 11-4) welcome in the No. 9 TCU Horned Frogs, the highest ranked competition to visit Olsen Field midway through this 2011 campaign.
"It's going to be a big challenge," said Head Coach Rob Childress. "[Head Coach] Jim [Sclossnagle] does a great job and those guys are playing well."
TCU's roster is one of the most talented and deep in the country, a fact bolstered by their top-10 national ranking. Pitcher Matt Purke, out of Klein High School, was drafted No. 14 overall in 2009 by the Texas Rangers after his senior year, but once contract negotiations fell through he decided to attend TCU. Recent 2011 mock drafts project Purke being selected No. 11 by the Houston Astros. Monday, left fielder Jason Coats was named MWC Co-Player of the Week after batting .562 (9-16), pushing his hitting streak to 16 games and his RBI streak to six games. The honor is Coats' second of his career and the sixth such award given to a Horned Frog this season. Third baseman Jantzen Witte (.374), who bats in the leadoff position, is in the midst of a hitting streak of his own, spanning 13 games.
The match-up against the Aggies will mark the end of a five-game away streak for the Frogs; they are currently 3-1 on the road trip and coming off a sweep of San Diego State.
"Hopefully they'll have a little jetlag coming in Tuesday," Childress said.
While the game carries no conference implications — TCU is a member of the Mountain West while the Aggies play in the Big 12 — the winner will garner national attention and increase their odds of having a super regional. RPI is used to rank teams based not only upon wins and losses but also strength of schedule, which is why the matchup will be so closely monitored by national media.
"It's going to be a great RPI game for both teams," Childress said.
The Aggies hope to use the knowledge of the terrain to their advantage. Winning at Olsen Field hasn't come easily for the Frogs, having lost their last two games in College Station, but they did win the teams' most recent matchup, a 6-1 victory over A&M at Lupton Field last season.
They play in a tough park to hit, you know," Childress said. "The wind's definitely going to be blowing a different direction here than it does in Fort Worth. It's going to be a great challenge."
Sophomore southpaw Brandon Parrent will pitch for the Aggies. In his most recent start, against No. 22 Rice, Parrent lasted a career-high six innings and allowed only one earned run.
The Flower Mound native will duel TCU's Andrew Mitchell, who boasts a 2-0 record and a 1.24 ERA in 36.1 innings of work this season.