TCU Baseball Head Coach Kirk Saarloos along with key players Tommy Sacco and Riley Cornelio sat down to speak with media ahead of Friday night’s regional matchup against the 3-seeded Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns.
Throughout the press conference, there was a sense of confidence across the trio of Horned Frogs. Although a “been there, done that” attitude could be expected for a team that’s made the postseason 16 times in the last 18 years, the Frogs appeared to be cool, calm, and collected while also maintaining a level of respect for their fellow regional qualifiers.
Despite being matched up with Louisiana for game 1, it seems like the whole world is getting googly-eyed over the potential Schlossnagle vs Saarloos matchup before it’s even been confirmed.
“We’ve still got to play Louisiana first,” said Tommy Sacco. “If it works out to where we get to play him that will be an experience that we’ve kind of been looking forward to and thinking about ever since he left, so we’ve got to take care of our first game.”
Saarloos was also questioned for his take on being slotted in the College Station regional but made it clear that the team’s focus is on beating the Ragin’ Cajuns.
“The big thing [against Louisiana] is going to be controlling the running game,” said Saarloos. “I think they’re at 134 out of 172 so that’s a lot of attempts and that’s a lot of successful attempts. We’re going to have to do a good job of trying to limit that, and hopefully get out to a lead where it kind of shuts that down a little bit.”
With Riley Cornelio set to take the mound in game 1, the Frogs are in good hands.
“We don’t win the Big 12 without that month-long stretch, 6-week stretch where Riley was dominant,” said Saarloos. “He’s been our Friday night guy for pretty much the whole year and has thrown the ball really well at stretches. We’re going to need him, we’re going to need Marcelo Perez, we’re going to need everyone on our pitching staff. Riley being in rotation and not having to change anything up I thought gives us the best opportunity.”
If the Frogs take care of business against the Ragin’ Cajuns and the Aggies handle Oral Roberts; we’re set for a juicy rivalry game between the purple and maroon squads. It would be the 9th time these teams have met in the postseason since 2012, but the first since Jim Schlossnagle left the Frogs for a head coach position at A&M.
The current roster wasn’t a part of the program for that relentless streak of TCU vs A&M meetings from 2015 to 2017, but that doesn’t mean they don’t recognize the importance.
“I remember seeing Durbin [Feltman] close out the game here, and that’s something that we would like to follow in the path of. Winning a regional here would be super special,” said Riley Cornelio.
Saarloos on the other hand, while recognizing the weight the potential matchup carries, had a more “business as usual” approach to being slotted in College Station.
“I would like to see teams get a chance to play other teams around the country,” said Saarloos. “I understand why they do it because they don’t want teams from the same geographical area making it to Omaha, they don’t want 3 or 4 Texas teams in Omaha. It seems like there is always a headbutt within the state, but that’s normal.”
TCU is set to take on Louisiana this Friday, June 3 at 7 p.m. CST. The game is being played at Blue Bell Park and broadcast live on ESPN+.