Not every TCU player is a stranger to Texas A&M’s Blue Bell Park and its raucous atmosphere.
“I’ve been to a lot of A&M games in my life,” designated hitter Luken Baker said. “The students are rowdy, the fans are loud.”
Relief pitcher Brian Trieglaff said, “It’s pretty crazy. There’s going to be 10,000 fans screaming at you every single pitch.”
Baker grew up in a Texas A&M family, and Trieglaff is from nearby Houston. As is starting pitcher Mitchell Traver.
But for many of the Horned Frogs, the atmosphere will be all-new when TCU meets the Aggies in a Super Regional series starting Friday night.
There aren’t too many places in the country that are similar to what they have going on there.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, on Texas A&M and its home park
“It’s something that I’ve never experienced before,” catcher Evan Skoug said. “I’ve never been to A&M. I’ve never been to that ballpark. I’m excited to get down there.”
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle can tell him.
“There aren’t too many places in the country that are similar to what they have going on there,” Schlossnagle said.
Adjusting to the scene will be one of the first things the Horned Frogs want to do. Schlossnagle said the team spent time in practice this week preparing for the surroundings.
“What’s unique about this team is they have a lot of posteason experience,” Schlossnagle said. “But all of it’s in our park.”
The best approach, he said, is to make pitches and plays.
“The biggest thing in this park and in this environment is, you’re going to have to be able to get off the field,” Schlossnagle said. “You’re going to have to be able to make a play or execute a pitch so innings don’t steamroll on you.”
Texas A&M is 32-5 at Blue Bell Park this season, including 2-2 in its last four. TCU was 14-7 in true road games this season.
TCU has won at A&M before.
In 2012, the Horned Frogs won their first road regional, coming out of the losers bracket to win four consecutive games and win the College Station Regional. One of those games was a 10-2 victory against the Aggies.
And TCU has won Super Regionals on the road before.
In 2010, the Frogs defeated Texas two games to one to reach their first College World Series.
No one from those TCU teams is left. Except Schlossnagle and student assistant coach Josh Elander.
But they can pass along what they remember.
I want them to enjoy that, and I want to enjoy it. Because it’s really hard to do.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, on his players competing in a Super Regional
“It comes down to guys trusting their routine, staying in control of their bodies, in control of their breathing, so they can be in control of their performance,” Schlossnagle said.
And, ironically, enjoying the moment.
“I want these guys to enjoy this because every single former player of ours that is in the major leagues that played in one of these things has come back and said, ‘This was the best experience I’ve had in baseball,’ ” Schlossnagle said. “And we’re talking about guys that have played in a World Series — a Major League World Series. I want them to enjoy that, and I want to enjoy it. Because it’s really hard to do.”
TCU vs. Texas A&M
(best of three)
8 p.m. Friday, ESPN2
8 p.m. Saturday, ESPN
8 p.m. Sunday, ESPN2