TCU will start redshirt freshman Jared Janczak in Game 1 of the Super Regional at Texas A&M.
Not that coach Jim Schlossnagle would have guessed at the start of the year.
“No way,” he said with a laugh Thursday at a press conference at Blue Bell Park. “Not this time last year, relative to where he was at that point in his career, and relative to the guys we had coming back and the guys we thought we had coming in. Every ounce of credit should go to him and Kirk Saarloos. Mainly to Jared.”
Janczak (6-3, 2.41) started Game 2 of the Fort Worth Regional against Gonzaga for TCU last week, going 5.2 innings. He had allowed only three hits before a home run and a single chased him.
Friday will be only his fifth start. He made 19 relief appearances before getting his first start May 15 at Baylor.
Schlossnagle said Janczak forced himself to be considered for the rotation.
“He’s a reliever, and then he’s our most trusted reliever, and then we say we’ve got to start this guy, and then he starts pitching on conference weekends,” Schlossnagle said. “He pitched the most important game of a regional, that’s Game 2. We have full confidence in him. I couldn’t be more proud of him – I told him that. I hope he knows that. And he doesn’t need to do anything different than he’s done the last couple of weeks.”
Janczak started and won May 21 against Kansas State and started May 28 against Texas at the Big 12 tournament, giving up one hit in 6.1 innings, leaving in a 1-1 game.
“Especially in the last month, at least from a strike-throwing perspective, Jared has been the most consistent guy,” Schlossnagle said. “If he’s pitching at his best, it’s a good matchup against our opponent.”
The right-hander from Belton said he’s “thrilled” to get the start.
“This time last year, I was watching on TV, so I’m just really excited to get out there and perform,” he said.
He said his plan will be, “as simple as one pitch at a time — don’t try to take it as a big picture. Just execute one pitch at a time and trust your defense behind you. That’s all you can do.”
TCU catcher Evan Skoug said Janczak has command of three pitches and praised his competitiveness.
“He gets after it every time we give him the ball,” Skoug said. “For me behind the plate, having a guy out there who wants to be out there and wants to win, it’s a huge benefit for our team. I know we’ve got a good shot of winning when he’s on the mound.”