Don’t put too much thought into it, now. There’s just one — the TCU Horned Frogs, led by head coach Jim Schlossnagle.
“Regardless of how many times you come, I mean, this is the pearly gates of college baseball,” Schlossnagle said Friday. “It never gets routine.”
The 2014 and 2015 squads were largely comprised of the same core group of players, but this year was supposed to be a rebuilding season for TCU.
“This particular team, we have an entirely, for the most part, new club,” Schlossnagle said. “This is not a position, I don’t think, people expected us to be in.”
With all the new faces on the team, the Frogs will have to trust their stellar freshmen to keep the emotions of Omaha in check.
“I think we’re going through some of that first-time trip stuff with a lot of our players,” Schlossnagle said. “So we’ve tried to set up a good structure for everybody. But at the end of the day the players are the ones who have to handle it.”
TCU will open against Texas Tech on Sunday at 2 p.m. Jared Janczak, a redshirt freshman who earned the win last Friday against Texas A&M, will start for the Frogs.
The other game on the Frogs’ side of the bracket will feature Florida and Coastal Carolina, who knocked off LSU in an upset.
Here’s a look at the teams TCU will need to beat in order to make it to the championship series for the first time in school history.
The Red Raiders have emerged as one of TCU’s main baseball rivals over the course of the past few years, and this season was no exception. Texas Tech won the series against the Frogs 2-1 at Lupton Stadium this year on a weekend that saw some of the largest crowds in TCU baseball history.
Offensively, Tech is led by Eric Gutierrez and Tyler Nesloney, who have combined to hit 22 home runs and 116 RBIs this season. Stephen Smith also adds pop, with 10 home runs to his name this year.
Steven Gingery will start on the mound against TCU, according to head coach Tim Tadlock. Gingery has a 4-2 record in 13 starts this year with a 3.25 ERA.
Gingery threw 4 innings against TCU earlier this season, giving up just one run. The Frogs got to the bullpen quickly and scored 7 runs in the fifth inning, winning that game 13-6.
The Gators come into the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed in the country. Florida rolled through the year with a 19-10 conference record and a staggering 33-4 out-of-conference record.
Peter Alonso is the most dangerous player on the Gators’ roster, with a .373 batting average, 13 home runs, and 58 RBIs. JJ Schwarz also adds timely hitting — although his average is just .295, he leads the team with 60 RBIs on the season.
Logan Shore, one of the best pitchers in the country, will start the CWS for Florida on Sunday. In 17 starts, Shore has a 12-0 record and a 2.24 ERA.
Shore’s last start was against Florida State in the final game of the Gainesville Super Regional last Sunday, when he threw 8 innings of shutout ball with 9 strikeouts, allowing just 2 hits.
TCU will likely not see Shore this week. The Frogs should consider themselves lucky.
The Chanticleers pulled off one of two stunning Super Regional upsets this year, along with UC-Santa Barbara. Coastal Carolina took a 3-game series from LSU in Baton Rouge, and advanced to the College World Series for the first time in school history.
Still, CCU should not be overlooked. They went 21-3 in the Big South Conference, and were 49-16 overall.
Zach Remillard poses the most potent offensive threat for the Chanticleers, with a .347 batting average, 69 RBIs, and 17 home runs on the season. Michael Paez, Connor Owings, and G.K. Young also have 15 or more home runs each.
Andrew Beckwith will start Sunday’s game against Florida. Beckwith has compiled a 12-1 record in 23 appearances and 7 starts, with a 2.12 ERA.