TCU, fresh off a Big 12 tournament championship and winner of nine of its past 10 games, will open NCAA postseason play at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Oral Roberts in the Fort Worth Regional at Lupton Stadium,
The Horned Frogs and Golden Eagles have done this before. They met in the Fort Worth Regional in 2011. TCU beat ORU 10-2 in the opener that year, then lost to Dallas Baptist and ORU (8-4). DBU won the regional.
The other side of this year’s Fort Worth Regional has Gonzaga (35-19) and Arizona State (34-21) playing at 2 p.m. Friday in the double-elimination format.
For Gonzaga, it will be a second trip to Fort Worth this year. The Bulldogs won one of three games against TCU in March.
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I just want to be in. I don’t care if it’s the fourth seed in Anchorage, we just want to be in the thing.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle
“I never get tired of this day,” TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said Monday at a watch party for the NCAA Selection Show at Schollmaier Arena. “I know everybody gets excited about hosting and national seeds and all that. But for me, I just want to be in. I don’t care if it’s the fourth seed in Anchorage, we just want to be in the thing. Anything on top of that is great, and we’re excited to be playing at home.”
TCU is hosting a regional for the sixth time in eight seasons and is in the NCAA postseason for the 12th time in 13 years. The Frogs are one of seven schools to host a regional each of the past three seasons.
“It’s a big advantage hosting a regional,” senior reliever Brian Trieglaff said. “This year, since they added seating, with 7,000 Horned Frogs fans, it’s going to be fun.”
We were going to go anywhere and compete. Just to be home, it’s an extra benefit. It’s an X-factor for us.
TCU catcher Evan Skoug
TCU won five consecutive games to end the regular season and then won four of five in Oklahoma City to win the league tournament. The strong finishing kick and a top 20 RPI overcame a third-place finish in the Big 12 in the regular season, which had left the Frogs a bubble team for hosting.
“I think it was in the back of our minds all week long,” catcher Evan Skoug said. “We were going to go anywhere and compete. Just to be home, it’s an extra benefit. It’s an X-factor for us. We’re really excited to be home again.”
TCU is 21-7 at Lupton Stadium this season.
TCU has won the past two Fort Worth Regionals, in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, the Frogs won 11- and 22-inning games.. In 2015, they won a 10-inning game.
The Frogs have won the past two regionals at home, in 2014 and 2015. They are 14-3 all-time in home regionals.
“I remember the phone call I got in 2009 two minutes before the show started, finding out we were hosting for the first time,” Schlossnagle said. “And now we’ve done it five or six times.
“It’s really exciting for this year because the university’s invested so much money in our facility. We have all this new seating in the outfield. I was just going to be sick to my stomach if we didn’t get a chance to play a regional at home and try to fill all that space with Frog fans.”
The winner of the Fort Worth Regional will meet the winner of the College Station Regional, where host Texas A&M is the No. 4 national seed. TCU and Texas A&M met in a Super Regional series last season in Fort Worth, won two games to one by TCU, including the finale in 16 innings.
14NCAA regional appearances for TCU, including 12 of the past 13 seasons. The Horned Frogs are 25-18 all-time in regional games.
Two other Big 12 teams made the NCAA postseason. Texas Tech is the host of the Lubbock regional as the No. 5 national seed, and Oklahoma State is the second seed in the Clemson Regional.
Fort Worth Regional
Friday-Monday, Lupton Stadium
(1) TCU Horned Frogs (42-15), Big 12 tournament champions, league’s top-hitting team.
(4) Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (38-19), Summit League champions, 26th regional appearance.
(2) Arizona State Sun Devils (34-21), making 39th regional appearance, sixth-most all time
(3) Gonzaga Bulldogs (35-19), first at-large berth for West Coast Conference co-champs