TCU

TCU baseball passes on celebrating regional, sees bigger picture

TCU pitcher Brian Trieglaff celebrates the final out with catcher Evan Skoug after an 8-1 victory against Arizona State on Sunday at the Fort Worth Regional. The Horned Frogs swept the regional and won their sixth in eight seasons.
TCU pitcher Brian Trieglaff celebrates the final out with catcher Evan Skoug after an 8-1 victory against Arizona State on Sunday at the Fort Worth Regional. The Horned Frogs swept the regional and won their sixth in eight seasons. AP

There was no dogpile — or possibly, frogpile — as TCU clinched the Fort Worth Regional with an 8-1 victory against Arizona State on Sunday night.

Just lots of handshakes and smiles.

Does it mean winning NCAA regional championships is becoming routine for the Horned Frogs? After all, that was six in eight years and three in a row at home.

Maybe.

Probably, it was more a reflection of what lies ahead. Another series awaits TCU en route to an unaccomplished goal — winning a national championship. That’s still at least seven victories away, starting with this week’s best-of-three Super Regional series at Texas A&M. The winner goes to the College World Series.

“It’s hard to get in the NCAA Tournament, it’s really hard to host, and it’s even harder to win,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said. “We don’t want to downplay that. But at the same time, there’s a level of expectation among the players and the coaches. They don’t go to the weight room at 6 a.m. in the fall to win a regional; they go to the weight room at 6 a.m. to win a national championship.”

Last season, the regional-winning celebration was raucous and lasted long into the night — with good reason. The Frogs rallied from an 8-1 deficit in the eighth inning to defeat North Carolina State after coming out of the losers bracket. It had required two victories the day before.

This weekend, the Frogs breezed. They outscored Oral Roberts, Gonzaga and Arizona State 19-4. They didn’t commit an error, hit .318 and had a 1.33 ERA. Second baseman Cam Warner homered twice and was the tournament MVP. TCU hitters drew 18 walks and were 5-for-5 in steal attempts.

Only in two innings did the Frogs trail. Brian Trieglaff got the final three outs for the title with a seven-run cushion.

“When you work hard and you do the right things — you want the ball to bounce your way — but this is what you expect to happen,” Schlossnagle said. “At least it’s what we expect to happen. There’s no dogpiles there. Our job is to be ready to play the next time we’re asked to play.”

It was the fourth NCAA regional sweep for TCU, all at Lupton Stadium. The Frogs also went 3-0 in 2009 against Wright State and Oregon State twice, in 2010 against Lamar, Arizona and Baylor and 2014 against Siena and Sam Houston State twice.

TCU improved to 17-3 in NCAA regional games at home and 28-18 overall.

“I thought we played a very clean brand of baseball all weekend,” Schlossnagle said.

It was worth some handshakes.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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