One of TCU’s most productive hitters in the past week forgot he didn’t have a hit last year.
“I started getting hugs in the dugout, and I was thinking, ‘what’s going on?’ ” first baseman Michael Landestoy said, thinking back to last month’s game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff when he singled for his first college hit and drove in two runs. “I was, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s right. I had flushed that out already.’ ”
It couldn’t have been easy to forget, however.
Landestoy was hitless in 20 at-bats for the Horned Frogs last season, barely seeing the field and not making much of an impact at the plate when he did. He had one RBI, a stolen base and struck out six times, playing just 14 times in 66 games.
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This year didn’t look to be much different.
Stuck behind Connor Wanhanen, the Big 12 freshman of the year last season, and Luken Baker, the national high school player of the year and TCU’s top recruit, Landestoy knew his playing time would remain scarce.
I told him going into the season, I don’t know when you’re going to play — you’re an awesome guy; if I made decisions with my heart, you’d play every day.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, on Michael Landestoy
But when Wanhanen hurt his hamstring in the opener of a series against USC on March 11, Landestoy had to take over — and immediately made an impact. Playing first base and hitting in the 3-hole the rest of the game for Wanhanen, Landestoy went 2 for 3 with three RBIs.
His run-scoring single in the seventh broke a 3-3 tie, and his two-run single in the eighth added two insurance runs in the 8-3 TCU victory.
“I was worried for Connor,” Landestoy said. “I didn’t really say it was my time. I was just ready to go, because I knew my number was going to be called. I just wanted to make sure I did everything right in my preparation, my routine. That’s something that’s stayed consistent is my routine. My routine never slumps.”
Landestoy has started five games at first base since Wanhanen’s injury as TCU prepares to host Abilene Christian on Tuesday. TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle is optimistic that Wanhanen can return by Thursday when the Frogs (16-3, 3-0 Big 12) open a three-game series at Texas (8-12, 0-0).
TCU first baseman Michael Landestoy had no hits and one RBI last season in 16 games. He has nine hits and nine RBIs this season in 12 games.
But Landestoy has given the Horned Frogs as much or more than they expected while he has played. Batting ninth, he drove in five runs in the USC series and two in the West Virginia series last weekend. For the season, he is 9 for 25 with nine RBIs, four walks, seven runs scored and a sacrifice. He has not made an error.
“I told him going into the season, I don’t know when you’re going to play — you’re an awesome guy; if I made decisions with my heart, you’d play every day,” Schlossnagle said. “He said, ‘I’ll be ready when you need me,’ and he has been.”
Landestoy knows his playing time may soon become limited again.
But he’ll be glad to see Wanhanen come back, too.
“I’m praying for Connor every day. I hope he gets better because we’re going to need him to win a national championship,” Landestoy said. “If he comes back and starts playing again, good for him and good for the team. I’m worried about winning. If we win, that’s all that matters to me.”
TCU vs. Abilene Christian