Of course, TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle remembers Oral Roberts’ last visit to Lupton Stadium for an NCAA regional.
He’d just rather not.
“Not very fond memories,” he said.
Five years ago, Oral Roberts ended TCU’s season with an 8-4 victory in an elimination game, courtesy of a sixth-inning grand slam. The details, names and circumstances surrounding it remain clear.
“That’s the year we were preseason No. 1 in the country, and we had our entire weekend rotation back from the previous year in Omaha,” Schlossnagle said. “But by the end of the year all three of those guys — Matthew Purke, Kyle Winkler, Steven Maxwell — had had some sort of injury. So we were limping to the finish.”
I promise you, there’s plenty of coaches in the country, when they saw that name come up on the screen, they were glad it was in Fort Worth and not their regional.
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle, on Oral Roberts
This week, Oral Roberts is back for another regional at Lupton Stadium, the opening opponent Friday night for the host Horned Frogs.
That was the case in 2011, and TCU won 10-2.
But TCU lost its next game to Dallas Baptist, and Oral Roberts was waiting in an elimination game. Chris Elder’s grand slam in the sixth inning produced an 8-3 lead, and the Frogs — who got only 12 pitches from starter Kyle Winkler, battling elbow soreness all season — couldn’t recover.
“We were just a shell of our former self,” Schlossnagle said. “It was disappointing because you never want to have a poor showing in a regional that you host at home. But we were really behind the eight ball in terms of injuries that year. Not very fond memories of those games.”
TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle and Oral Roberts coach Ryan Fulmer grew up in towns 25 miles apart, Schlossnagle in Hagerstown, Md., and Folmer in Chambersburg, Pa.
Oral Roberts can feel better about it. But coach Ryan Folmar, then an assistant, says it’s only a memory.
“None of our guys have experienced winning there yet,” he said.
And besides, the Golden Eagles didn’t finish off the regional. They forced a second game against Dallas Baptist, but lost.
“I just remember it being a really exciting regional tournament for us,” Folmar said. “Obviously would have liked to have won it. But a lot of fun for us.”
Oral Roberts has not been back to Lupton Stadium since, but the Tulsa, Okla., school has a long history against TCU. The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series 26-17, although TCU had won five straight before the regional loss.
Oral Roberts was the opponent in TCU’s first NCAA regional game under Jim Schlossnagle. The teams met on June 4, 2004, at the Austin Regional. Oral Roberts won, 6-5, and again two days later, 10-1, to eliminate TCU.
The teams played in the regular season in 2007, and TCU swept a three-game series. The opening victory was Schlossnagle’s 200th career win.
TCU won single regular-season games in 2010 and 2011.
.306Batting average for Oral Roberts, led by outfielder Noah Cummings’ .363. TCU hit .308, led by designated hitter Luken Baker’s .376.
Both teams are postseason veterans. TCU has been in the NCAA field 12 of the past 13 seasons and is 38-31 all-time. Oral Roberts has been in 26 NCAA tournaments and is 34-50 all-time.
No one has to remind Schlossnagle.
“They have a lineage of NCAA tournament experience,” he said. “They’re very familiar with NCAA tournament success. I promise you, there’s plenty of coaches in the country, when they saw that name come up on the screen, they were glad it was in Fort Worth and not their regional.”
Oral Roberts comes to the Fort Worth Regional having won 12 of 15 games. TCU has won nine of its past 10.
TCU vs. Oral Roberts
6:30 Friday, Lupton Stadium