After dominating their own Regional and defeating Texas A&M in a thrilling three game series in the College Station Super Regional, TCU is set to kick off their third consecutive College World Series trip against, familiar foe, Texas Tech. TCU is becoming a regular in Omaha and hopes to make this their year, because they know just how fortunate they are to return.
TCU has been playing its best baseball at just the right time, winners of 14 out of their last 16 ballgames. That hot streak started in game three of their series against Baylor, that they actually lost, but the Horned Frogs have not lost a series since.
TCU has been so hot they have yet to lose multiple games in any week and that success should help them prepare for the grind of the College World Series’ tougher of 2 brackets. Their bracket contains top-seeded University of Florida, Big 12 regular season champion Texas Tech, and Coastal Carolina, who just swept LSU in Baton Rouge.
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Junior-infielder Elliot Barzilli, a transfer from Georgia Tech who was a part of TCU’s CWS team last year, says the team has been better of late because they are “more experienced, even though it’s the same season”. He is not surprised the team is going to Omaha for the third season in a row though, because it’s “always expected” for a program like TCU, under Coach Jim Schlossnagle.
Coach Schlossnagle, who is now going to his fifth College World Series (once as an assistant, four times as the head coach of TCU), is getting used to coaching through June. He understands what he needs to do to put his team in the best position to win, but he does not want his team so wrapped up in the game that it “takes away from the experience”.
Texas Tech is not playing so hot. They have lost five of their last eleven and had to stave off elimination three times this postseason, despite being the fifth overall seed in the tournament. They do have room for optimism though, as they won two of three in Fort Worth earlier this season.
Look for Brian Howard, who won the clinching games in TCU’s Regional and Super Regional, to be the X-factor. He was the starting pitcher in TCU’s lone-win against Tech this year and has 17 strikeouts to just one earned run this postseason. His excellent pitching might be the difference between this season and the previous two for the Horned Frogs.