Hello again, Ole Miss.
TCU will open the NCAA baseball tournament against Mississippi at 12:35 p.m. Friday at Texas A&M's Blue Bell Park in the College Station Regional. The No. 2-seeded Horned Frogs (36-19) split two games with the third-seeded Rebels (35-24) to open the season at Lupton Stadium in February.
No. 1-seeded Texas A&M (42-16) will play fourth-seeded Dayton (31-28) at 6:35 p.m. Friday. The two first-round winners will meet at 6:35 p.m. Saturday; the losers will play an elimination game at 12:35 p.m. The first possible championship game is set for 6:35 p.m. Sunday.
After splitting two games with TCU to open the season, Ole Miss shot out to a 13-2 record. The Frogs limped to a 2-6 record with several starters sidelined by injuries. The middle game of that season-opening series was canceled because of rain.
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"Ole Miss is a much different team today than they were at the beginning of the season and I think so are we," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "Obviously, considering how we played at the [Mountain West Conference] tournament, the selection committee still thought pretty highly of us."
Both teams enter the postseason coming off disappointing 1-2 showings in their conference tournaments. Ole Miss has lost six of its past seven games. The Frogs had been playing well, finishing the regular season by winning 21 of their last 25, but lost two of three at the MWC tournament and missed the title game.
TCU is one of 10 teams nationally to earn an NCAA berth the past nine years. The Frogs were a host team in the regionals the previous three years.
"I don't take it for granted knowing how hard it is to make the NCAA tournament," said Schlossnagle, who watched the tournament selection show with his players Monday morning. "They pretty much had no reaction. So I don't know if they're just taking it for granted, or if they're just driven. They have an interesting aura about them. I'm looking forward to practice to see what's going on because there was some serious determination and focus in that room today."
The winner of the College Station Regional will advance to play the winner of the Los Angeles Regional, hosted by No. 2 national seed UCLA. The Bruins host Creighton, San Diego and New Mexico, which won the MWC tournament to earn an automatic bid.
The Frogs are 2-4 against Texas A&M under Schlossnagle; 1-1 the last two seasons. The Aggies won 4-1 at Lupton Stadium on April 24. Last year Andrew Mitchell beat the Aggies 4-2 in College Station.
"I think A&M should have been a national seed," Schlossnagle said. "They have that kind of team."
The Frogs advanced to the Super Regionals to play Texas twice in the previous three seasons. Texas failed to make the NCAAs for the first time since 1998. Last year, injuries to the Frogs' pitching staff were a major factor in preventing a third trip to the Super Regionals.
"This is what we work all year for, to play well in a regional and hope to advance," Schlossnagle said. "In the postseason, it's all about playing well. Who's going to get the two-out hit? Who's going to make the big pitch? Who's going to make the big play on defense?"