Cal coach Mike Neu said on Monday that the Bears were leaning toward starting their ace, Jared Horn, against TCU on Friday in the opening game of the Arkansas regional. Since then Horn has been told he will be the starter against the Horned Frogs (32-26).
It is assumed Horn (6-1, 1.82 ERA) will be opposed by TCU lefty Nick Lodolo (6-5, 2.48 ERA) in what D1Baseball.com called the best opening-game pitching matchup of the 64-team NCAA postseason.
The Bears (32-18) have leaved on Horn in virtually every crucial situation and he has come through.
"He's been a big part of why we're standing here right now," Neu said.
Neu knows the importance of winning the first two games in the double-elimination, four-team regional in Fayetteville, Ark., so the pitcher for Cal's second game may be just as important, whether the Bears win the first game or not.