TCU is coming off its third consecutive weekend sweep and has moved into first place in the Big 12.
But this is no time to coast, coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
“You have to remain desperate to win,” he said. “Because the more you succeed, the more is at stake.”
Like home-field advantage. There is little more precious in college baseball’s postseason, where the four-team regional tournaments and three-game Super Regional series are all played at one site — the home of the top seed.
“On any given day we can play with anybody in the country,” Schlossnagle said. “We’ve just got to put ourselves in the best possible position so when the postseason gets here, we give ourselves the best possible chance to advance. Which means playing at home.”
That’s the path TCU took to the College World Series a year ago, winning both a regional tournament and a Super Regional series at Lupton Stadium. The Horned Frogs hosted the Super Regional because they earned one of the eight national seeds, their first in team history.
“I told the team before the game on Sunday that you can’t get tired of winning,” Schlossnagle said. “You have to remain desperate to win. That’s not something to be afraid of. It’s something to desire. I think they have a grasp of that.”
The Horned Frogs (37-9) are 13-5 in the Big 12 after sweeps of Texas and West Virginia on back-to-back weekends. Their magic number is five to clinch the regular-season title.
Oklahoma State and Oklahoma are tied for second place. OSU holds a tiebreaker on both TCU and Oklahoma. TCU finishes the regular season next weekend at OU.
“We don’t talk about it much,” Schlossnagle said of a regular-season championship. “What we talk about is trying to get to 40 wins during the regular season. We don’t scoreboard-watch during games or even over the course of the weekend. It’s more about about coming in the office on a Monday and kind of reassessing where everybody is, not just in the Big 12, but across the country. I’m a college baseball fan as much as I am a college baseball coach. I try to pay attention after the weekend to what’s going on everywhere simply because I’m a fan.”
Last week, d1baseball.com projected TCU as a No. 5 national seed.
Back to form
The Horned Frogs hope they re-established their pitching and defensive identity in the weekend sweep of West Virginia.
All three starters went eight innings or more, and there was only one error. The Frogs had committed 10 over the previous four games.
“I define a good weekend by how we pitch and how we play defense,” Schlossnagle said. “I think the guys took a lot of confidence from that. We had a good positive vibe going in the dugout the entire weekend. Definitely what the doctor ordered. Even though we had won three games against Texas, I don’t think anybody walked away feeling good about how we handled the baseball.”
Schlossnagle also liked how the team handled the travel. The Horned Frogs had lost a series at Kansas State in their previous conference road trip.
“That’s a tough trip. The travel’s tough,” he said. “A lot different environment than what we’re used to, in terms of the turf.”
First baseman Jeremy Fagnan may miss the Kansas series as he recovers from a foot injury.
He was hurt in Game 2 of a doubleheader against Texas on April 25 when he slid into second base. He was hitting .327 with two home runs and 17 RBIs and had not made an error.
“We’re hoping with a full week of treatment and rest, he can get back,” Schlossnagle said. “He wasn’t anywhere close this weekend. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
▪ Alex Young was named Big 12 pitcher of the week after throwing eight shutout innings at West Virginia. It was his second pitcher of the week award from the conference. Preston Morrison has also won twice.
▪ The Horned Frogs stole a season-high seven bases Sunday against West Virginia.
▪ TCU has swept six series, three in conference.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407