TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle feels the itch to move around his lineup, but in the name of consistency and considering the timing, he’ll go with the same order he’s used the past 23 games.
TCU (48-16) plays Virginia (50-14) in a College World Series winner’s bracket game at 7 p.m. Tuesday at TD Ameritrade Park. Horned Frogs lefty Brandon Finnegan (9-3) faces Cavaliers lefty Brandon Waddell (9-3).
The game will be televised on ESPN.
The winner has a big advantage toward moving on to the best-of-three championship series, which begins June 23. The loser has to play the winner between Texas Tech and Ole Miss on Thursday. Tech and Ole Miss play an elimination game at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Tuesday night’s winner doesn’t play again until Friday, which gives them the option to use their starter from Sunday’s opening game.
TCU’s Preston Morrison, who beat Tech on Sunday, could be available to pitch Friday with four days’ rest if TCU wins. Schlossnagle, depending on the opponent, is likely to go with left-hander Tyler Alexander or right-hander Jordan Kipper regardless whether TCU’s next game is Thursday or Friday.
As for everyday position players, he’d like to see two of his lineup’s first three hitters snap out of slumps. Boomer White, who led the team in hitting for much of the year, is batting just .216 in 11 postseason games. Derek Odell, No. 2 in the order, is batting .157 in the postseason with a lowly .246 on-base percentage.
“There’s a lot of me that wants to make some moves in the lineup but I don’t think this is the time of year to do it,” he said.
The last two hitters in TCU’s lineup are leading the team in postseason hitting — Kyle Bacak at .355 and Keaton Jones at .348.
If TCU keeps winning, however, expect the same lineup.
Lights out moment
TCU gave the term “lights out” a whole other meaning during its press conference Sunday afternoon.
While Schlossnagle, White, Morrison and Cody Jones were taking questions from the media after their 3-2 win over Texas Tech, the lights keeping them lit for television cameras suddenly went dark.
For a moment, no one was sure what had happened. But it was quickly discovered that the light switches on the wall had been accidentally flipped off by an embarrassed Jackson Schlossnagle, son of TCU’s coach. Jackson smiled sheepishly as an NCAA official adjusted the settings.
Jim Schlossnagle smiled and jokingly asked “Whose kid is that?” soliciting a roar of laughter from the room.
Jackson and the sons of assistant coaches Bill Mosiello and Kirk Saarloos have all been along for the ride during TCU’s CWS trip.
“It’s always a game of nerves. The celebration has gone on now from the time they got their invitation, punched their ticket to Omaha. Once you get there the celebration continues. It’s a celebration about what you accomplished, and it’s easy to buy into that and it’s hard to refocus and get competitive.” — Texas coach Augie Garrido on players focusing for the CWS opener