Kyle Winkler will not pitch Friday in Game 1 of a series against Utah with the Mountain West Conference regular-season title on the line.
TCU will rest Winkler (8-2), who has not missed a start this season as the Horned Frogs' regular Friday starter. Winkler has thrown 85 1/3 innings. He took the loss last Friday at Oklahoma State despite allowing just three runs and striking out nine in six innings.
Erik Miller (5-6) will start Friday and Andrew Mitchell (3-1) will pitch Game 2 at 4 p.m. Saturday. Game 3's starter has yet to be determined, but Kyle Starratt is a likely candidate. Miller has pitched well in his last three starts in place of Purke. He's allowed eight earned runs in 22 1/3 innings over those three starts. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said Winkler deserves to rest his arm with the postseason lingering two weeks away. TCU decided to rest him now instead of the week before the Mountain West Conference tournament, which begins May 24 in San Diego.
"We've been riding him all season," Schlossnagle said of Winkler, who leads the tenth-ranked Frogs in innings pitched.
Matt Purke (4-1) and Steven Maxwell (5-0) are both nursing soreness with their throwing arms. Purke hasn't pitched since April 16; Maxwell last pitched April 23. Schlossnagle hopes both are available for the MWC tournament May 24-28 in San Diego. He said Winkler will likely pitch May 19 at New Mexico in Game 1 of the last regular-season series for the Frogs. There's also a chance that Purke and Maxwell could pitch that series. Both pitchers are progressing on schedule, Schlossnagle said.
TCU (34-14, 15-2 in MWC) needs two wins against Utah (25-16, 15-5) to clinch its sixth consecutive regular-season MWC title.
-- Stefan Stevenson
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