TCU baseball is in the midst of an historic hot streak and on Monday morning it was rewarded.
The Horned Frogs were named one of eight national seeds, a first for the program, which means as long as they keep winning they’ll be playing at Lupton Stadium with a chance to make it to their second College World Series in Omaha.
“You still have to play baseball, but it is an awesome achievement and it’s a great achievement for our conference,” said TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, who has led the Frogs to the postseason in 10 of his 11 years. “We’ve created some expectations here and have a fan base that wants to see the baseball program do really well.”
TCU (42-15), which earned the No. 7 national seed, will host one of 16 NCAA Regionals, which begins on Friday at Lupton Stadium. The three teams headed to the Fort Worth Regional are No. 2-seed Dallas Baptist, No. 3 Sam Houston State and No. 4 Siena.
TCU, which has won 27 of its last 30 games, opens against Siena (26-31) at 7 p.m. Friday. Sam Houston State (41-17) and DBU (40-19) play at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
“It’s going to be a fun atmosphere,” said TCU first baseman Kevin Cron, who was a freshman when the Frogs won the College Station Regional in 2012. “It was fun going into someone else’s house and taking a regional from them but it’s going to be fun winning it in front of our crowd as well.”
TCU’s Regional is paired with the San Luis Obispo Regional, hosted by top-seeded Cal Poly. The other three teams in that Regional are Sacramento State, Pepperdine and No. 2 Arizona State. If the Frogs win their Regional, they’ll host their first-ever Super Regional against the San Luis Obispo Regional winner.
TCU hosted three Regionals from 2009 to 2011. The Frogs won the first two to advance to the Super Regionals. In ‘11, Dallas Baptist won it, beating the Frogs and Oklahoma in the process. In 2012, TCU won the College Station Regional to advance to its third Super Regional in four years. The Frogs earned their lone College World Series berth after winning two of three at Texas in the 2010 Super Regional.
“The guys that were in the program last year really felt like they let this program down,” Schlossnagle said of the the 2013 season in which the Frogs missed the postseason for the first time in his tenure. “I’ve heard them talk about that. They want to make sure they leave this thing in better shape than it was last year. They want to be one of those teams because they hear me talk about those guys all the time. That’s why [Sunday] was huge. They’ll always be the first Big 12 champion.”Schlossnagle hasn’t decided which pitcher he’ll start in Friday’s opener. He wants to learn more about Siena’s lineup before making a decision.
“Whoever we throw out there is going to be hard to beat,” TCU pitcher and Southwest High School alumnus Brandon Finnegan said. “We have four starters that hard to beat, especially on our own turf.”
Other Big 12 teams in the tournament include Oklahoma State, which will host the Stillwater Regional, Texas, Texas Tech and Kansas.
The Longhorns open against Texas A&M on Friday at the Houston Regional, hosted by Rice. The Red Raiders (40-18) are the No. 2 seed at the Coral Gables, Fla., Regional, hosted by Miami. Kansas (34-24) earned a No. 3 seed in the Louisville Regional and opens against Kentucky.
The Cowboys (45-16) open against Binghamton (25-25) at 6 p.m. Friday. Nebraska and Cal State Fullerton round out the field in Stillwater, giving OSU a tough draw. If the Cowboys advance they’re matched with top national seed Oregon State in the Super Regional round.
Fort Worth Regional
Here’s a quick glance at the four teams competing in the Fort Worth Regional, beginning Friday:
Here’s a quick glance at the eight national seeds: