Head coach David Pierce and the No. 9 Texas Longhorns are set for the first Big 12 road series of the season against the No. 22 TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth this weekend.
And so a brutal schedule continues for the Longhorns against a conference power looking to break an impressive stretch of home dominance for the Horned Frogs — opponents have won only one of eight games at Lupton Stadium.
The caveat is that TCU hasn’t face a schedule nearly as difficult as Texas, having played only two games against ranked opponents entering the series. head coach Jim Schlossnagle’s team lost to Cal State-Fullerton 1-0 to open the season, then took down top-ranked Vanderbilt with in a decisive 10-2 victory.
The biggest challenge for Pierce and his pitching staff will be holding the TCU hitters in check, as the Horned Frogs are batting .379 over the last four games and boast the Big 12’s best batting average overall at .314, which ranks seventh nationally. During that four-game winning streak, six TCU batters have hit home runs — the team has 19 on the season.
Junior college transfer Austin Henry is particularly hot, recording 19 RBIs over those four games.
On the mound, Friday starter Nick Lodolo, a 6’5 left-hander, has emerged as an ace — his ERA is 1.36, he’s only given up 15 hits in 33.0 innings pitched, and he’s had three starts with 10 or more strikeouts to sit at 46 on the season, No. 9 nationally.
The Saturday starter, Jake Eissler, isn’t nearly as imposing, but Sunday starter Brandon Williamson has allowed one earned run or fewer in four of his five starts.
So not only will the Longhorns pitchers need to be at their best, the Texas hitters will, too.
The major question is whether TCU is as good as its record and statistics might suggest, as the schedule hasn’t been especially difficult and this is the first Big 12 series for the Horned Frogs this season.
First pitch on Friday is at 6:30 p.m. Central on FSSW+ and streaming on FoxSportsGo.