With a pair of series and two mid-week games in the books, the TCU baseball team has seen its fair share of troubles.
Following Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss to Texas State, the Horned Frogs saw their record drop to 2-5.
For a team that started the season nationally ranked with dreams of winning a seventh-consecutive conference championship and making a ninth-straight NCAA tournament appearance, the losses have been deflating. However, freshman pitcher Brandon Finnegan said he is adamant the team is in a good place.
Despite close losses and injuries to key players, Finnegan said he knows the team has “to come back tomorrow at practice and just go at it.”
“We just have to come back and go as hard as we can, that’s all we can do,” he said.
Although the team has run into difficult obstacles, the young team still possesses the enormous potential that makes them a threat to any team in the country.
In what head coach Jim Schlossnagle called “the toughest part of our season,” the Frogs have experienced injures to several key players. Senior outfielder Brance Rivera, a key leader from last year’s team, and freshman first baseman Kevin Cron, a highly-touted recruit, are both out right now, placing even more pressure on a young pitching staff.
Although the losses have been difficult, many young arms have managed to gain invaluable experience. Schlossnagle said many of his young players now been able to play in a “high-pressure” environment.
As the season moves on and players get healthy, the experiences garnered during the early stretch of the season will pay dividends.
Even without injuries, the team heavily front-loaded its schedule with quality opponents. Both of TCU’s weekend series so far have come against ranked opponents.
As the season wears on, the Frogs’ schedule will become easier and the wins will begin to add up.
The Mountain West Conference has historically not been a baseball powerhouse, and although the Frogs might struggle in the early going, they still have the arms and bats to compete for yet another MWC Championship.
With the youth of this particular team, growing pains are to be expected even beyond the injuries and the difficult schedule.
More than half of the players of the team’s 33-man roster are underclassmem. Many of these young players have seen action so far, and while the team has remained competitive in many of its losses, they have not learned how to win close games yet. That being said, the ability to grind out difficult wins is a learned skill and one the team will develop in time.
In the meantime, the team should be happy with the efforts it has given.
Schlossnagle said he is determined to continue to hold his team to the highest possible standard.
“We competed and I told the team that. I don’t doubt anyone’s want or desire or effort. We have guys out, but no one is going to feel sorry for us there. I expect the guys in the lineup to be able to represent TCU in the highest fashion,” he said.
It is true the team has faced a difficult onset to the 2012 campaign. Regardless, there is much to look forward to for this particular squad.
The old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” will apply for this team and the team will get itself back on track.
Players will recover from injuries, the schedule will lighten up, the young players will gain experience, and by the time April rolls around, we will all be eagerly anticipating another run deep into the postseason.
Dalton Goodier is a senior English and history double major from Lufkin.