Old rivals TCU, Texas A&M meet in super regional
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — There have been those special first-time moments for TCU under coach Jim Schlossnagle.
The Horned Frogs played an NCAA regional at home for the first time in 2009 and won it. They went to the College World Series for the first time in 2010 and got back to Omaha last season after their first time as a super regional host.
Now the Big 12 regular-season champion Frogs (47-12), the No. 7 national seed, are hosting a best-of-three super regional for the second year in a row. Game 1 against Texas A&M (49-12) is Saturday.
“It’s definitely not the same, because nothing is as special as the first time,” Schlossnagle said. “This one is going to be unique because instead of us like in ’09 and ’10, where we had to go to Texas, it’s going to be unique to have one of those big state universities on our campus for a super regional.”
TCU and Texas A&M passed on the way in and out of the Big 12 Conference. The Aggies left for the SEC three years ago, the same time the Horned Frogs moved to the Big 12.
Texas A&M felt it had a resume worthy of a national seed, but is on the road for its sixth super regional appearance. The last one was in 2011, when they won in three games at Florida State to make their fifth College World Series.
In their game notes for this weekend’s series, the Aggies point out “they post superior numbers to TCU” in RPI (A&M is 5th, TCU 10th), strength of schedule (39 to 72) and record for top 50 RPI teams (A&M 17-8, TCU 9-6).
The Aggies had to get through a pair of extra-inning games at California before eliminating Cal in the winner-take-all regional final game.
“I’m excited for this team. It’s a very talented team. It’s a close a team and as fun a team as I’ve ever been a part of,” 10th-year Aggies coach Rob Childress said. “They’re earned it, and I’m certain their attitude is they’re not done yet. There’s work to be taken care of.”
Some things to watch when the former Southwest Conference rivals play this weekend. Texas A&M has a 160-88-4 series advantage, but TCU won 10-2 at the 2012 College Station regional:
BEFORE THE DRAFT
TCU junior closer Riley Ferrell, expected to be a high pick in next week’s draft, has struggled of late. Ferrell’s only blown saves came in the Big 12 tournament last month and the winner’s bracket game last week against North Carolina State. Ferrell also allowed four runs facing only five batters Monday in the regional final.
“He’s the best pitcher that’s ever stepped on this campus in that role,” Schlossnagle said. “But nobody’s perfect, and everybody goes through slumps. ... Whenever we play again, if the game’s on the line, you can be Riley Ferrell’s going to be pitching.”
Texas A&M has 68 home runs, already 43 more than last season. The Aggies have 20 homers in their last 13 games, but most of their long balls have come at home — 52 homers in 41 home games. Logan Taylor, tied with Nick Banks for the team lead with 10 homers, has hit all of his at home.
Texas A&M played two extra-inning games against Cal in its regional, losing 2-1 in 14 innings to drop into the loser’s bracket and winning 4-3 in 12 innings to force the deciding game the Aggies won 3-1. TCU won its regional clincher 9-8 in 10 innings after trailing 8-1 in the eighth. The Frogs won a 22-inning game in the Fort Worth regional last year, the night after playing 11 innings.
PLENTY OF PURPLE
The series is sold out, with a record crowd of about 6,800 expected for Game 1. TCU officials said most of those tickets got in the hands of their fans, despite social media claims that Aggie maroon would be more prominent than Horned Frog purple.