So what if there’s a little more maroon sprinkled among the purple than expected Saturday?
The more the merrier, TCU’s coach and players said.
“They could split the freakin’ crowd down the middle, for all I care,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “I want to have as many people in the ballpark as we possibly can. If you sell 10,000 tickets and 10,000 people are in here, I could care less who they are.”
School officials are expecting a record attendance of nearly 7,000 as part of a crackling scene — two Texas teams, TCU and Texas A&M, Southwest Conference opponents from days gone by, playing a best-of-three series at Lupton Stadium on ESPN for the right to go to the College World Series.
The color in the stands may be the least of these teams’ worries.
“Yelling’s yelling, either way,” TCU closer Riley Ferrell said. “It doesn’t make a difference if it’s all A&M people or all TCU people. It’s a great time to be a TCU baseball player. It’s a great time to be an A&M baseball player. There’s going to be a lot of people screaming.”
Despite fears to the contrary, it won’t be a majority A&M crowd. But even if it were, Schlossnagle said his team would be fine.
“Players love that,” Schlossnagle said. “I love it. I know what the ticket breakdown is, so we welcome those fans. I’d rather play in that than some lesser facility on the West Coast that only holds 1,100 people. Competitors want to be part of competitive environments, and I’m a competitor.”
The Horned Frogs fed off the atmosphere at Lupton Stadium on Monday night to fuel their rally from a seven-run deficit to reach the super regionals.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of purple,” said TCU pitcher Tyler Alexander, who will start Game 1. “Our fans were great in the regional. I know they’re going to be great in the Super. I’m excited to see a lot of purple. I know there’s going to be a lot of it.”
Not to mention a lot of intrigue.
TCU (47-12) is hosting the matchup because it got a national seed when Texas A&M (49-12) didn’t.
TCU ended A&M’s season in 2012 by winning a regional on the Aggies’ own field.
TCU is trying to get to a second consecutive College World Series, while A&M hasn’t been since 2011.
TCU is the last Big 12 team standing. A&M left the Big 12 three years ago to create one of the openings in the Big 12 for TCU.
TCU’s closer is from College Station.
And one more thing: “My girlfriend goes there,” TCU center fielder Cody Jones said. “So that makes it a pretty big deal. Got to beat ’em.”
Ferrell, who holds the school record for saves at TCU, said the Aggies were the first team to offer him out of high school at A&M Consolidated. TCU had to pull hard to get him out of his hometown, where his mother is employed at A&M and his stepfather’s sister works for the 12th Man Foundation.
“Maroon’s a shade of purple to me,” Ferrell said. “Especially seeing how many people are going to be here who are for me who will still have A&M stuff on. All the friends and family, despite me being here at TCU, are still going to be wearing maroon. It’s not going to make a difference for me. I know there’s going to be a lot of purple out there. I’m more focused on the guys in purple on the field that are going to be helping us win.”
The Horned Frogs’ battery on Saturday has Chicago ties —Alexander said he was born there, and catcher Evan Skoug is from Libertyville, Ill. — but that doesn’t keep either from appreciating the significance.
“If we’re playing one team from Texas, I’m glad it’s going to be A&M,” said Alexander, who played at Southlake Carroll. “I was recruited by them. Couple of friends on that team. A lot of the guys on our team are from Austin and Houston and that area. That’s just going to be good competition.”
Purple, maroon, Big 12, SEC? Schlossnagle shakes his head.
“We’re proud to represent the conference, but we’re just trying to win a baseball game,” Schlossnagle said. “I don’t want our guys thinking about that stuff. All they can control is how they play the next pitch.”
And perhaps what they do with the scene around them.
“We’re going to have a lot of fun with this,” Schlossnagle said. “This is a life opportunity, a life experience. This’ll be my sixth or seventh super regional, and I’ve been a part of winning them, and I’ve been a part of losing them.
“The teams that win them, first of all, you’ve got to play well. But second of all, you better just enjoy the heck out of it. Because if you build too much into it, it’ll be over quick.”
That goes for both colors.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760
FW Super Regional
TCU (47-12) vs. A&M (49-12)
at Lupton Stadium
Gm 2: 1:15 p.m. Sunday, ESPN
Gm 3: TBA Monday, ESPN, if necessary