Last week, TCU acknowledged an uphill task going to College Station to try and win two of three games against national seed Texas A&M.
Coming home Monday, having done it, the Horned Frogs said they knew they could.
“Oh, yeah. We knew we had it in us all along,” relief pitcher Brian Trieglaff said. “Yeah, it was a tall order. But we went down there and played good baseball for two games and got it done.”
Brian Howard allowed two hits over seven innings, and Durbin Feltman pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings as TCU won Game 3 of an NCAA Super Regional series 4-1 Sunday night at Blue Bell Park, pushing the Frogs to the College World Series for a third consecutive season.
TCU will open at 2 p.m. Sunday in Omaha, Neb., against Big 12 regular-season champion Texas Tech, which also won its Super Regional in three games.
“Going to Omaha three years in a row, it’s like you’ve got to pinch yourself,” Howard said. “It’s incredible.”
The Frogs might not have guessed it at the start of the year. They had lost their infield from a year ago, started without their most experienced pitcher and center fielder/leadoff hitter because of injury, and had six newcomers in the lineup, including a freshman left fielder and designated hitter.
Plus, the closer and three other starting pitchers had been drafted.
“I don’t really know what my expectations were,” Trieglaff said. “Obviously, the standard is to go to Omaha. But for this team, going down there, with the adversity we’ve faced, we’ve done some pretty amazing things. We’re playing good baseball right now. It sounds a little corny, but it’s true — it’s not about the best team, it’s the team that plays the best.”
TCU closed the regular season with five straight wins and has won 14 of 16 games overall, including five of six in NCAA postseason.
The win at College Station was the second Super Regional Game 3 victory for TCU, to go with a win in 2010 against Texas in Austin.
“I thought for sure we could win it,” said Feltman, who recorded his eighth save. “Coach and everybody compared it to 2010, going into Texas. A&M’s a great ballclub. For sure, they were going to give us a hard-fought series. I thought for sure we could win it. After the second game, I knew we were going to come out fighting that third game.”
Coach Jim Schlossnagle told his team to enjoy the atmosphere of a Super Regional on the road, promising it would be a “life experience.”
Howard said he did just that.
“I really enjoy those situations,” he said. “They’re a lot of fun. And it’s a really good time to compete, especially against a team like that. It’s just about competing. It’s real easy to compete when you have that much to play for.”
College World Series
(Big 12 qualifiers)
TCU vs. Texas Tech,
2 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU
Oklahoma St. vs. UCSB,
2 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2