The assumption that TCU ace starting pitcher Jared Janczak would start the Horned Frogs’ first game in the College World Series is reality.
Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said the redshirt sophomore will start against the Florida Gators at a press conference Thursday.
Pitching coach Kirk Saarloos said it was a “foregone conclusion” that Janczak would receive the Game One nod at the team’s last practice of the season at Lupton Stadium in Fort Worth.
Janczak has embraced the big moment.
“I came here to be in the starting rotation,” Janczak said. “I didn’t come to not play, so this is what I’ve looked forward to my whole life.”
Sarloos said the right-hander’s mindset is what makes him elite.
“I think what makes him tick is he’s the ultimate competitor, and he’s confident in himself,” Saarlos said. “I don’t think his stuff is better than a year ago, but he’s more consistent. His changeup has gotten better, but ultimately it’s sinker/slider and the misses are a lot smaller and in good areas. He gets people out with his fastball, and his breaking ball is his best pitch, it’s a great combination.”
Janczak’s catcher agrees.
“Ever since he stepped on the scene here, he’s been outstanding, very consistent, been one of the most consistent performers since Preston Morrison my freshman year,” TCU catcher Evan Skoug said. “He came in last year, not starting off the year, and started the Game One of the regionals, the super regionals, and the College World Series and flat out dealt.”
In five postseason starts, Janczak has indeed dealt. In 32.1 innings, he’s totaled a 2.80 ERA, struck out 35 batters and walked seven while earning a 2-0 record with three no-decisions.
Janczak could earn the fifth starting pitching win in Omaha, joining an elite club occupied by Preston Morrison (2015), Matt Purke twice (2010) and Brian Howard (2016).
But first, he has to get past the Gators and their ace Alex Faedo, the No. 18 overall draft selection in the first round of the Major League draft Monday and the owner of the eighth-most strikeouts in the country this season, 135.
However, it wasn’t always easy for Janzcak. Last year, he fought his way into the starting rotation
“I think he proved it throughout the year last year, being a reliever and then starter, and he’s been on the uptick ever since he came back from his redshirt freshman year, he’s been working at it and doing it,” Saarloos said. “The guys that pitch the best pitch the most, and I don’t think there’s a situation that’s too big for him.”
TCU’s first College World Series game in Omaha at TD Ameritrade Ballpark is set for Sunday night at 6 against the Florida Gators.