How sweet it is. The Frogs and Aggies went punch for punch until the decisive fifth inning, when the wheels came off. But, it was less about the errors that the Aggies made, and more about just how good Brian Howard was.
"The story of the night is Brian Howard," said A&M coach Rob Childress, who was trying to guide the Aggies to the CWS for the first time in five years. "We started twisting the bats a little tight as the game went on."
Jim Schlossnagle has built an absolute powerhouse in Fort Worth, as TCU has now made three straight trips to Omaha, and four in the last six seasons.
"What this speaks to is the pedigree of our program – a true program," Schlossnagle said. "There's an expectation, and some great leadership."
There is a long and storied past between these two Texas teams, but it's been on the diamond where things have truly taken off over the past two seasons - and six most recent meetings. Another close series ends in heartbreak for the Aggies, this one on their home turf.
From 1906 to 1996, Texas A&M and TCU played baseball on 245 occasions, but none of those meetings carried the weight of the last six games between the old Southwest Conference foes.
Austen Wade, 0-10 in the series, was the unlikely hero, collecting his first RBI of the weekend on a bases loaded walk that gave TCU a lead they wouldn't relinquish. But it was Brian Howard's career game that send the Frogs back to middle America.
“You have good starting pitching, you have timely hitting, and you play good defense behind the pitcher,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s that simple. You can’t do anything more than that.”
After TCU fell off a cliff in May, Schlossnagle and the coaching staff were just hoping they could get their young team a little post-season experience. They have done that, and more, with a group that is playing their best baseball of the season at the perfect time.
“There were times during the season,” Schlossnagle recalled, “when I remember talking to the coaches and saying, ‘Somehow, we’ve got to get this team into a regional, just so they can get some postseason experience.’ ”
The full article is subscription only, but this quote in the preview is definitely worth sharing. We are very lucky to have a group of players to cheer for that have shown the kind of leadership and commitment to a bigger cause on and off the field for as long as Schlossnagle has been in Fort Worth.
“That doesn’t mean that teams like a Louisville or A&M didn’t have that program, but there’s an expectation and great leadership here with guys like Brian Howard and Evan Skoug. They were doing some unbelievable things in the dugout in the eighth and ninth innings to help our guys out. It’s just a great joy to see as a coach. It’s a lot of fun to watch that evolution from class to class.”
Get to know one of the newest members of #CarterBoys17, and intriguing prospect who could contribute on both sides of the ball. This kid has Gary Patterson kind of player written all over him.
For the same reasons he's a great receiver prospect -- combination of size and athleticism, both in long speed and short-area agility -- Ebner is a solid cover man who can also make tackles in the open field on the perimeter when needed.
East Texas was good to the Frogs, who saw three players verbal to TCU over the course of the last several days. Thompson, who could play multiple positions in the defensive backfield, possesses an excellent combination of size and speed.
Type of player who could become a dangerous blitzer if used that way. Always around the ball and possesses the ability to chase down receivers in coverage if beaten off the line.