TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle seems to have a magic touch with his ballclubs. Frog fans got a glimpse of that magic touch last year when TCU advanced all the way to the college world series.
Schlossnagle’s teams just seem to peak at the right time. If last night’s victory was any indication of what is in store for the baseball team that started this college baseball season ranked #1 in the nation then tcu fans may be in for another fun ride this June.
Freshman Andrew Mitchell led the frogs to a 10-2 victory over Oral Roberts who was the 4 seed in TCU’s region. Mitchell pounded he strike zone with 94 mph fastballs to hold the Golden Eagles scoreless for 7 innings. The Frogs’ much-maligned offense came alive and put he game away early against a clearly leSs talented team. Offensively Jantzen Witte led the way with 3 hits and 3 RBI. Witte said after the game that TCU wanted to take advantage of the strike thrower that Oral Roberts put on the mound. He threw strikes, and TCU put the ball in play, finding holes and getting some bloop hits as well.
Defensively, TCU was as good as they had been all season. Kyle Von Tungeln made a diving catch in the first inning to set the stage. Jantzen Witte followed with a nice bare handed pick-up. However both plays were one-upped by right fielder Brance Rivera’s catch to save two runs and preserve the Frogs’ 5-0 lead at the time.
On the other side of the Fort Worth regional bracket, Oklahoma, the #2 seed, fell to Dallas Baptist. For TCU, this may have been a very lucky break as Oklahoma has owned the Horned Frogs the last few seasons. Beating the sooners has been as difficult as tough as defending Dirk Nowitzki in a 4th quarter recently.
However this is no honeymoon for Schloss’s Frogs. Dallas Baptist has played well against tcu and beaten hem twice already this season. Nonetheless Jim Schlossnagle has some magic left in his cap.
Despite all the turmoil that the Frogs have had with their pitching staff recently, it looks as if Jim Schlosnagle may have pulled all the right strings so that he could keep all the bullets in his gun for the regional. LHP Matt Purke will pitch tonight vs. Dallas Baptist. Purke did not throw at ll after last season so that he could rest his young and powerful arm. Injuries and fatigue have cut his innings down significantly this season, but all indications show that Purke is ready and at full strength for this post season.
Purke will be facing Jared Stafford of Dallas Baptist who is 7-4 on the season. TCU will undoubtedly feed off of Purke’s energy in a game that they need to win tonight. A 1-2-3 inning will have Purke fist pumping off the mound and TCU rolling. “We have great respect for [Dallas Baptist],” Schlossnagle told reporters have last night’s game. “They aren’t sneaking up on anybody.”
While sitting and watching TCU steamroll Oral Roberts, the Frogs looked a little but like the Grogs from 2010. They had the killer instinct in their eye. They looked primed to deliver a knock out punch at any moment to a team that they knew was lesser in talent and less deserving of a win. Jim Schlossnagle works his team as hard as any team in America, and the veteran frogs looked like there was no way that someone was going to beat them after all the work they put in.
Of course yesterday was just one game. Their fortunes could change tonight, but last night was an encouraging sign for a team that has ridden a wild roller coaster all season.