After beginning they year as the consensus #1 team, and going 11-1 to start the year with a 3-0 showing against ranked teams in the Houston College Classic, it looked like TCU was poised for the kind of season Oregon State had. But injuries, a pitching staff that has been shaky at times save for Janczak, and an offense that has looked lost in pretty much every road game held them to a respectable, but somewhat disappointing 42-16 season.
They finished the regular season at 16-8 in the Big 12, good enough to tie for first place with Texas Tech. It’s awesome to win your conference, but to have to share the title with your most hated rival, yuck. That’s kind of been the feeling of the whole season for TCU. They’re so good and we should be so happy that they’ve earned a national seed and have a chance to make another playoff run, but losing Baker to injury and failing to truly live up to the number one ranking is upsetting.
Is that fair to this team, the coaches or the kids? No, definitely not, but sports make people irrational; though it’s also still far from over. The starting pitching finally gelled together in the Big 12 Tournament last weekend - if they pitch like that for the remainder of the postseason, they will have a chance at beating anyone and everyone. The offense also did a decent job of scoring runs in that tournament even without getting much help for Evan Skoug. I wouldn’t count on Skoug struggling the whole postseason, so that’s encouraging as well.
At the end of the day this team has another 40 win season, something they have accomplished 11 times in Jim Schlossnagle’s 14 seasons as head coach. They also earned their highest national seed ever this year at No. 6. As head coach, Schlossnagle has already won over 600 games with the Horned Frogs, been to three straight College World Series, four overall, and hosted seven NCAA regionals in Fort Worth. The Frogs are 28-18 all-time in the NCAA Regionals and have won six all-time.
The other good news is that for as long as TCU keeps playing leading up to the College World Series, it will be at Lupton. The Horned Frogs are 23-4 at home on the year compared to 19-12 away. Of all the frustrating things series losses that happened this year, none of them happened at Lupton. There was that one time they gave up 16 runs to Baylor, but they still won that series so it wasn’t a total disaster.
Expect Lupton Magic to ward off the road demons this team has struggled with, and give this team the energy to make a fun and exciting run this postseason. The Frogs will play their first game against Central Connecticut State University with the first pitch being scheduled for 8:00pm CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 online.