The loss was just the Horned Frogs’ fifth in their last 38 games. On April 1, TCU’s record stood at 15-12. Since then, the Horned Frogs have run off 33 wins and been on the losing end just five times.
TCU and Ole Miss will oppose each other in a loser’s bracket elimination game Thursday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. The loser will become the fourth team to be knocked out of the 2014 College World Series, while the winner will move on to face well-rested Virginia on Saturday.
Strong pitching has been TCU’s calling card all season, and the way Ole Miss has been shutdown offensively in its first two games in the CWS that could be a major plus for the Horned Frogs in their effort to stave off elimination. Mississippi only managed one hit in a 2-1 opening-game loss to Virginia and mustered just five hits in pulling out a Tuesday win over Texas Tech by the same score.
The two teams have a common opponent in the CWS. The wins recorded by both TCU and Ole Miss were over Texas Tech. TCU outlasted the Red Raiders 3-2 with two runs late in a comeback win, and the Rebels got by Tech by a slim one-run margin on Tuesday.
Junior right-hander Sam Smith will get the start for Ole Miss against the Horned Frogs. Smith has a record of 5-4 in 17 starts this season and an ERA of 3.45. It is uncertain who TCU will start in this must-win game for both teams. It will be either junior right-handers Jordan Kipper (8-2, 3.10 ERA) or Preston Morrison (9-4, 1.32), who started in the Frogs’ series-opening win with Texas Tech.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle might want to try to win Thursday night’s encounter with Ole Miss with Kipper on the mound and hold back Morrison, one of his two weekend aces during the regular season, to go against Virginia, should the Horned Frogs advance.
Catcher Kyle Bacak wielded the hot bat in TCU’s loss to Virginia, going three-for-six at the plate and recording a third of the Horned Frogs’ nine hits in the game.
TCU has three players in its starting lineup hitting over .300 for the season (Garrett Crain, .330; Dylan Fitzgerald, .311; and Boomer White, .311). In TCU’s first two CWS games, the trio was a combined 4-for-26 at the plate. This is probably going to have to chance if the Horned Frogs hope to advance.