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Frogs take on Air Force Friday

If the Frogs are planning on getting themselves into one-run games this weekend against Air Force Academy, the odds are against them.

TCU (15-9) will enter game six of its season-long 13-game homestand at 3-2 in the stand with a 9-7 overall home record. The most concerning statistic for the Frogs? In seven one-run ball games the Frogs are winless. Last season, the Frogs were 6-4 for the entire season in one-run ball games.

“Right now, we’re just not a good fundamentals team,” head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle said after Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Stepen F. Austin. “But sometimes that’s baseball and the hits don’t drop.”

The Lumberjacks had won 15 of 17 ball games coming into Wednesday’s game, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but the Frogs seemed to be turning a corner after winning five of their last six games.

TCU junior starting pitcher Erik Miller (0-5) allowed three runs in two innings pitched in his first start of the season Wednesday. The Frogs had a chance to tie the ball game in the ninth inning with junior center fielder Aaron Schultz at third base with two outs, but sophomore third baseman Jantzen Witte struck out swinging to end the game.

The Frogs did tally 11 hits in the loss, but also hit into a season-high four double plays to kill scoring opportunities.

Junior right fielder Brance Rivera will enter the series on a 24-game hit streak, while his .430 batting average is now ranked 23rd nationally and second in the Mountain West.

If there is any solace for the Frogs, Air Force (11-14) still has yet to notch a road win and is 0-2 in conference play this season. Last season, TCU took four out of six games against the Falcons and went 2-1 against AFA at Lupton Stadium.

Junior pitcher Kyle Winkler, Friday’s slated starter, is also 3-0 at home with a 0.32 ERA.

While TCU’s opponents are hitting .220 at Lupton Stadium, that hasn’t necessarily translated to a stellar home record for the Frogs. The dimensions of Lupton Stadium, as well as new NCAA regulation bats, seem to also have affected the Frogs’ offense. Junior shortstop Taylor Featherston and Rivera are the only Frogs to hit multiple home runs at Lupton this season. Thirteen total home runs have been hit in 16 games at the stadium.

Air Force comes to Fort Worth riding a four-game losing streak. The Falcons dropped two games at Utah in their last series, falling 5-3 last Friday and 2-1 Saturday. Game three of the series was halted after the seventh inning due to Air Force’s travel plans. The game was delayed nearly two hours because of snow and Utah was up 9-4 on the Falcons when the game was postponed.

Air Force’s 4.71 team ERA is its lowest since 1979, while junior pitcher Sean Carley boasts the second-lowest ERA (2.45) in school history and the lowest since 1979.

Series notables

TCU and Air Force will meet for the 26th time Friday.

The Frogs hold a 22-3 record in the series.

The Frogs are 16-2 against Air Force since joining the Mountain West in 2006.

No. 15 TCU vs. Air Force

Game 1

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Lupton Stadium

Probable starters: Kyle Winkler (4-1, 1.02 ERA) vs. Evan Abrecht (5-1, 4.26 ERA)

Radio: 88.7-FM KTCU Watch live or follow GameTracker

Game 2

When: 4 p.m. Saturday

Where: Lupton Stadium

Probable starters: Matt Purke (3-1, 1.17 ERA) vs. Sean Carley (2-3, 2.45 ERA) Watch live or follow GameTracker

Radio: 88.7-FM KTCU

Game 3

When: 1 p.m. Sunday

Where: Lupton Stadium

Probable starters: Steven Maxwell (3-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Michael Ceci (2-3, 3.76 ERA) Watch live or follow GameTracker

Radio: 88.7-FM KTCU

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