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The doubles pair of Bertus Kruger (left) and Reese Stadler (right) are the No. 17 ranked duo in the nation. Courtesy TCU. (Photo/Gregg Ellman)

Whacking Away

The Racquet Frogs double-faulted the regular season conference crown for the first time in three years by whiffing against the Bears and Longhorns. Texas awakened from their slumber to ace their first title since 2010 and are the top-ranked team in the nation despite their disgraced former coach. Baylor’s conference record is identical to TCU’s, but Baptist U won a head-to-head victory in Waco at the end of March. TCU recovered from their loss against conference-champion Texas to outlast eighth-ranked Texas A&M in an exciting final-match third-set victory before spending the weekend touring the casino-dotted landscape across the Red River gathering wins against the Sooners and Cowboys. It’s time for the Big 12 championship tournament, and the third-seed Frogs are slated against sixth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday at the Jayhawk Tennis Center in Lawrence. Frog coach David Roditi led his players past Okie State last week in a comfortable 4-1 victory. I expect the same result. If successful, the Big 12 private schools spin and serve on Saturday, and the Frogs will try to redeem their 2-5 loss to the Bears in March. Neither Frog nor Bear is likely to volley past the undefeated Longhorns, who are resting on the other side of the bracket for the championship on Sunday. The backhanding Bevos feature the best-ranked doubles duo in the country and are worthy of their No. 1 team ranking, having only lost this season to Ohio State and USC. National championship tournament selection occurs next week, and the format is similar to college baseball: regional, super-regional, and then championships in Orlando. It is possible TCU will host a regional this year, and Roditi’s squad will strive to head back to the Elite 8 and possibly beyond.

Schlossnagle’s Sluggers

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Pro baseball has barely started, but our boys in purple are cooking through their conference slates. TCU’s boys of summer are 22-12, ranked 19th in the country and third in the Big 12 behind Baylor and Oklahoma State. Offense is more fun, which is how these Frogs play, scoring 10 or more runs in 10 games this season. Lupton Stadium’s magic men rank Top 50 in most team offensive categories alongside conference contenders Baylor and Texas Tech. College baseball teams face conference opponents in three consecutive games in an NCAA baseball series. TCU’s 5-4 conference record includes series wins (2-1) against the Longhorns and the Sooners along with a series loss (1-2) against the Cowboys. Threats of the looming wet weekend converted Friday into a double-header against the Seton Hall Pirates in the last non-conference series of the season. Bats bellowed in the first game with a 5-1 Frog victory and muscled up in the second game to an 8-6 victory to overcome defensive deficiency. Sunday’s script flipped when the good guys drowned against the arm of Pirate pitcher Noah Thompson (a graduate of Frisco Liberty High School), who allowed only three runs in six-and-two-thirds innings to ultimately save Seton Hall from being swept. Coach Jim Schlossnagle’s boys travel to Manhattan to take the mound against the last-place Wildcats this weekend. Road prowess isn’t the hallmark of these Frogs, who are 8-7 away from Lupton this season. Kansas State is the perfect opponent to break out the Big 12 brooms for and secure three wins to boost the purple’s conference resume before hosting first-place Baylor at the end of April.

Selective Service

March Madness is over. Time for April Angst. No news is good news, although news continues to break for TCU hoops. Junior guard Desmond Bane and redshirt sophomore forward Kouat Noi formally declared for the NBA draft last week. Both hoopers had outstanding offensive spurts throughout the season. Neither showcased sufficient consistency for consideration beyond the NBA’s developmental league. Bane is testing the waters, didn’t hire an agent, and is leaving the door open to return to head coach Jamie Dixon’s squad (where he would be the only senior from last year’s roster). Noi is definitely leaving TCU and said his goodbye to Frog faithful on Twitter. Sources close to Noi said he will pursue his career overseas if he isn’t drafted. Horned hoops would be better if both Noi and Bane returned, but pragmatists can’t fault any collegiate athlete for trying to secure their money. They’re kids, and their futures in athletics aren’t guaranteed. Best of luck to both. Cross your fingers to see Bane back in purple next season to improve the team and his draft stock. It’s possible the freshmen friendom of Kevin Samuel, RJ Nembhard, and Kendric Davis will be default veterans leading Horned hoops next season, which is equal parts exciting and unsettling. 

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