TCU baseball takes fun alumni game seriously

02/07/2014 4:13 PM

11/12/2014 3:51 PM

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle doesn’t treat his team’s annual alumni game as a fun exhibition.

With the season opener less than a week away, the game offers the team a dress rehearsal.

The 1 p.m. game Saturday at Lupton Stadium features a slew of former Horned Frogs stars such as Matt Carpenter, a star for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Admission is free.

But for Schlossnagle and the Frogs, it’s a day to learn how the team prepares before each game during the season, which opens Friday night against Jacksonville at Lupton Stadium.

“I take it very seriously,” said Schlossnagle, who is starting his 11th season at TCU. “It’s kind of like the mock game day that football gets in the spring. We get a chance to go against a bunch of really good professional baseball players.”

It also allows Schlossnagle to give a freshman pitcher such as Tyler Alexander, a left-hander from Southlake Carroll, a chance to start in game-like conditions. That’s something Schlossnagle has tried to do for young pitchers in the past.

“We think he’s going to pitch a lot for us,” he said. “He started the fall game against Abilene Christian. That’s very intentional to try to get him as close to game-ready as we can.”

The starter for the alumni team hadn’t been determined early Friday, but Andrew Mitchell and Greg Holle are possibilities.

Schlossnagle said his starting lineup is starting to take shape. A couple of minor injuries, including one to second baseman Derek Odell, could alter the look early in the season.

The team is not sure whether Odell’s elbow injury will prevent him from playing for a couple of weeks.

Odell, a junior, has been through it all before. But for 18 new players on the roster, Saturday’s exhibition is a chance to tackle the unknown and shed any nerves.

“It’s learning the schedule with how we do things in pregame, from team breakfast all the way up to batting practice,” Schlossnagle said.

“During the course of the game, it’s an opportunity for us to kind of try to knock some nerves off of that.”

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