The College World Series will have a decidedly Lone Star State feel in 2014.
TCU joins Texas Tech and Texas in Omaha, Neb., when the eight-team tournament begins on Saturday at TD Ameritrade Park. It’s the most Texas-based schools to compete in the CWS in one year.
Texas clinched its record 35th CWS berth Saturday after sweeping Houston. TCU is headed back to Omaha for the second time after beating Pepperdine 6-5 Monday at Lupton Stadium. The Horned Frogs’ lone previous appearance was in 2010. Texas Tech swept College of Charleston to earn its first trip to the CWS.
TCU (47-16) opens the CWS against Texas Tech at 2 p.m. Sunday. The Red Raiders (45-19) and Frogs split their four regular-season games this year. Texas (43-19) opens against UC Irvine (40-23) at 2 p.m. Saturday in the opposite side of the bracket.
Texas could meet TCU or Texas Tech for the best-of-three CWS championship series. Both sides of the eight-team bracket play a double-elimination tournament, just as the regional tournaments work. The winners of those two brackets advance to the championship series, which begins June 23.
The three Big 12 teams playing in the CWS ties for the league high. Texas, Baylor and Nebraska advanced in 2005, the year the Longhorns last won the national title. The last time a Big 12 team played at the CWS was 2011, when Texas and Texas A&M both earned berths.
The league’s chances of sending a record four teams to the CWS were vanquished when Oklahoma State was swept by UC Irvine.
The most teams to advance from one state is four from California in 1988 (Cal State Fullerton, California, Fresno State and Stanford). California has sent three teams four times (1992, ’95, ’00 and ’01). Florida has twice sent three teams (’96 and ’98) when Florida, Florida State and Miami all made it.
Long road back
Eight TCU players have been together since 2012 when the team was swept at UCLA in the super regional round. Monday’s victory was especially sweet for those players, including Kevin Cron, Derek Odell, Jerrick Suiter and Keaton Jones.
“The guys I’ve been here with that’s all we’ve ever talked about,” Cron said of the CWS. “I’m proud of my guys for hanging in there and staying tough. It’s a pretty unbelievable feeling. Everything we do is to lead up to this point.”
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle told assistant coach Zach Etheredge before the game that Cron was going to be a big factor Monday. Cron responded, going 2 for 5 with a homer and two RBIs.
“I wasn’t expecting him to hit a homer or anything,” said Schlossnagle, who praised the leadership of his older players.
“He’s worked so hard and the expectations have been so unrealistic for him since he came out of high school. I’m thankful for them, too, because they are the ones who are taking my family to Omaha.”
“I don’t really know about the mood, but we knew we had to get it done. It worked out. The Frogpile was pretty unreal. I still don’t know how to put it in words. It’s just an unbelievable feeling.” — TCU’s Jerrick Suiter
“Can everybody here confirm that Aaron Brown will not be in Omaha? Because I’ll sleep better if that’s the case. What a great, great player.” — TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle on Pepperdine’s two-way stud