Everybody on the TCU baseball team agrees.
“Nobody hates on Teakell,” pitcher Alex Young said.
Nope. Not when he’s a nice guy, as Trey Teakell is, but also a very valuable guy — the setup man for the fourth-ranked Horned Frogs and their star closer, Riley Ferrell.
“No way to make fun of him, other than being tall and skinny,” Ferrell said.
Well, there’s nothing Teakell can do about that.
Instead, the fifth-year senior from Weatherford does what he does — get coach Jim Schlossnagle from the starter to the back of the bullpen, close a game here and there, and be ready for an emergency start, if necessary. Last season, he pitched 6 1/3 innings in the 22-inning regional tournament win against Sam Houston.
It takes a Swiss knife of a pitcher to do it.
And Schlossnagle doesn’t forget it.
“No stats go next to his name,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s as unheralded a player as there is in college baseball. Ever.”
Schlossnagle has used Teakell 19 times in 38 games this year. Teakell has been the first arm out of the bullpen 13 times. He closed one game. Eleven times, he has been asked to go more than one inning, as he did last week against Santa Clara in a one-run game.
“The thing about Teakell is he changes the flow of games,” Schlossnagle said. “He comes in, he throws so many strikes, he works really quick. He puts a stopgap on things. I would have no problem with him closing. And that’s what we would have done if we had moved Riley into the starting rotation.”
Friday night against Santa Clara, Teakell inherited a two-on, nobody-out situation in the seventh inning. He got three strikeouts. In the game before at UT Arlington, he came in with the bases loaded and no outs. He got a double play and a strikeout.
Both times, Ferrell pitched the ninth.
“How many times has Teakell kept a one-run lead or a two-run lead in the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth inning in the course of Ferrell’s career?” Schlossnagle said. “And Riley understands that.”
Ferrell set a school career record this season when he recorded his 23rd save. He’s at 28 after Friday’s.
“We’ve kind of created this thing,” Ferrell said with a smile. “We call ourselves ‘The Package Deal.’ I couldn’t do the things I do out there if it wasn’t for him. He does an amazing job. He doesn’t get enough credit for that.”
But don’t kid yourself. Teakell wouldn’t mind starting.
“Everybody pretty much wants to be a starter,” he said. “I want to be a starter. Everyone that comes here wants to start; it’s just natural. But I don’t complain. I do my job.”
Teakell credits his parents for that. His father, Rick Teakell, a former college pitcher, is a TCU police officer.
“They taught me to always be humble, never bring attention to myself,” he said. “I kind of like being under the radar but at the same time being a really good pitcher.”
So what does Teakell have to do for some attention?
Maybe juggle next time?
“It doesn’t bother me at all not to be in the spotlight,” he said. “I kind of take pride in the fact that I’m kind of under the radar. I don’t get a lot of wins and losses, or saves, but I take pride in knowing that a lot of games we win, I play a big part in it. Getting from the starter to Riley, that’s a big job. I’m honored to have it.”
How can you hate that?
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407
TCU vs. Incarnate Word
6:30 p.m. Tuesday
Brian Howard (3-0, 3.81) vs. TBA
Records: TCU 30-8, Incarnate Word 13-25