Conference losses plague ballclub

In the three full seasons TCU has played in the Mountain West Conference, the baseball team has dominated conference play.

The Horned Frogs finished first in both seasons, outdistancing themselves from the competition while garnering national attention.

The 2008 season has been a different story for TCU, which has struggled in its first two conference series, falling to 2-4 in the Mountain West.

The Horned Frogs have been unable to close series against Mountain West foes, losing to both the University of New Mexico and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas 1-2 after winning the series openers.

TCU is currently in eighth place in the Mountain West, ranking ahead of a winless Air Force squad.

Compare this to the Horned Frogs first two seasons in the Mountain West, in which the Horned Frogs lost a total of eight conference games.

In those two seasons, TCU only lost one conference series to San Diego State in 2006.

So why the early struggles? Why, in the first two series, has the team already passed the series loss total of its first two years?

TCU entered the year with a few admitted questions. Who would provide consistent power and scoring? How would its pitching staff, with almost zero starting experience, stand up? How would the team respond to its predominantly unknown roster?

Despite the questions, the team was still picked to three-peat as conference champions.

The team has struggled to find consistency, notedly because the questions have not exactly been answered.

TCU started its season with a monster non-conference schedule, which was supposed to show the Horned Frogs what they are made of and prepare them for conference play while providing answers to those preseason questions.

They took on Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine, Ole Miss, Wichita State and Tulane, all teams featured in the Rivals top 25 rankings at one point in the season.

The team struggled, winning just three of its 11 games against these ranked opponents, but it faced the best in preparation.

Now, the majority of the team’s remaining schedule is made up of conference opponents – teams the Horned Frogs had yet to struggle against entering the season but now find unable to beat.

Could the conference be getting stronger? San Diego State was ranked in the top 25 at one point, but that’s no tangible sign of a conference surge.

TCU still has 18 conference games left to play. Even if the team wins them all, its record won’t equal last year’s.

It all comes down to the Horned Frogs figuring out their problems. The season is not over – just take the sports adage of one game at a time, and maybe a third year as champs isn’t too much to ask for.