Moments after TCU was eliminated from the Mountain West Conference tournament Saturday, team leader Josh Elander took over where coach Jim Schlossnagle left off.
Elander held a quick team meeting on the field at Wilson Stadium in Las Vegas after the Horned Frogs lost to San Diego State 12-11.
For Elander and several teammates, they are at a point where every game could be their last in a Frogs uniform.
With a bid expected, TCU finds out at 11 a.m. today where it's headed in the NCAA tournament when the field of 64 is announced on ESPNU. UT Arlington (36-23), which earned an automatic bid by winning the Southland Conference tournament, also finds out its playing site. The Mavericks are making their first NCAA trip since 2006.
Dallas Baptist (39-17), with a ratings percentage index of 22, also appears to be a lock to earn a bid. The Patriots advanced to last year's NCAA Super Regional after winning the Fort Worth Regional over TCU, Oklahoma and Oral Roberts.
The Frogs (36-19) should be a lock with an RPI of 38, but the disappointing 1-2 showing in Las Vegas didn't have the Frogs exactly feeling secure, especially for players such as Elander and Kyle Von Tungeln, who may decide to sign professionally after the major league draft in a couple of weeks.
Along with seniors Jason Coats, Brance Rivera and Zac Jordan, they could be looking at their final games at TCU as the postseason begins Friday. The Frogs hosted the regionals the last three seasons but will have to go on the road in 2012.
"You hate to leave it in someone else's hands," Schlossnagle said. "You want to pad your résumé with everything you can. We've had a great second half of the season and had a bad weekend, so I would assume that wouldn't be held against us."
TCU is 22-6 since April 6. Three of those losses came against the Aztecs, who seem to have pitcher Andrew Mitchell's number. Mitchell allowed 10 runs on 13 hits and 15 walks in 13 1/3 innings against San Diego State. He lasted just three innings Saturday and was struck for six runs on eight hits.
"It's disappointing," said Schlossnagle, who didn't have a reason for Mitchell's struggles. "I'm going to challenge him, and we're going to find out, because he's a better pitcher than that."
The offense, especially the older players, underperformed at the tournament. Three TCU freshmen, Derek Odell, Jerrick Suiter and Kevin Cron, earned all-tournament selections, but the Frogs' more experienced players struggled. Elander (3 for 12), Von Tungeln (3 for 12), Jantzen Witte (5 for 13), Brett Johnson (2 for 11) and Rivera (1 for 9) combined to hit .246 with eight RBIs in three games in Las Vegas.
Elander told his teammates they needed to play like it's their last game from here on out. Hopefully, he told them, they had done enough to earn a regional bid.
"If we're lucky enough to get into one, we need to play every game like it's our last chance," he said.
For the freshmen, that would mean just the end of the season, but for others, it means the end of their careers.