There’s plenty of excitement around the TCU campus nowadays. The football team made its first ever BCS bowl appearance, the women’s basketball squad just clinched the Mountain West Conference title and the baseball team is off to a fast start.
Now I’ve heard that nobody cares about college baseball, but that’s another story. Plenty of people around the Fort Worth area are paying attention now. The baseball program is making sure of that.
Coming off a season where they were one step away from the College World Series, TCU baseball achieved its highest preseason ranking in school history, 11th by Baseball America. That’s only the beginning.
They opened the season with a 4-0 shutout of Sam Houston State in front of a crowd of 3,288, the largest opening day crowd ever at Lupton Stadium. TCU improved to 5-2 in season openers under head coach Jim Schlossnagle.
However it was this weekend that opened some eyes. TCU, ranked 9th on Friday, went to perennial powerhouse Cal-State Fullerton and calmly took 2 of 3 from the 6th ranked Titans. The series win helped the Frogs climb to 7th in the latest polls. The season may be young, but TCU has served notice to the college baseball world that they are a team prepared to make some noise.
Schlossnagle brought in a strong recruiting class during the off-season, highlighted by Texas Rangers 1st round draft pick Matt Purke. The Rangers were unable to sign Purke, so he decided to play college ball at TCU. A lefty who can bring it, Purke has the stuff to be a dominant pitcher on the college level.
The offense is led by sophomore outfielder Jason Coats. The Plano native was nearly unstoppable during the Fullerton series, hitting .571 with 2 home runs, 7 runs scored and 3 RBI’s. He was named the MWC Hitter of the Week for his performance.
But he didn’t stop there. In TCU’s 17-12 win over UT-San Antonio on Tuesday, Coats collected 3 hits, including a double and a home run in 5 at-bats to go along with 7 RBI’s. Don’t be surprised if he makes some College Player of the Year lists.
Last season TCU hosted a NCAA regional and took the Texas Longhorns to the limit in the super-regional series before losing in the final game. Needless to say they’ve taken that experience and built off of it.
As mentioned before, it’s still early in the season and there’s a lot of ball left to be played. Baseball is a game of ups and downs. With a 6-1 record out of the gates, TCU is showing everyone that they have what it takes to be a force on the national level. At this rate, Omaha may have a Frog problem when summer rolls around.
Written by C. James