Wearing lavender polos and hats with ‘2014 Big 12 Champions’ emblazoned across the front, the TCU baseball team entered the Champions Club of Amon G. Carter Stadium to a chorus of applauding fans.
It wouldn’t be the last time they’d hear applause, either.
The Frogs (42-15, 17-7 Big 12) found out Monday morning via ESPN’s NCAA Selection Show that they earned the school’s first-ever national seed heading into postseason play.
“It is an awesome achievement and it’s a great achievement for our conference,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.
The news came one day after TCU beat Oklahoma State for the purple and white’s first Big 12 title in school history.
In anticipation of the announcement, TCU hosted a watch party in the Champions Club for the players, fans and members of TCU Athletics. It was also by far the biggest crowd for a TCU baseball watch party, Schlossnagle said.
“We’ve created some expectations here and a fanbase that wants to see the baseball program do really well,” Schlossnagle said. “It’s a great achievement up to this point.”
The Frogs also found out whom they’ll face in the Fort Worth Regional this week.
TCU will open with Siena on Friday at Lupton Stadium and then face Dallas Baptist and Sam Houston State later on, both teams of which TCU has already beaten this year.
While the excitement was high Monday morning, junior first baseman Kevin Cron made it clear the team’s expectations are much higher.
“Whenever you can do something that’s the first time in program history, that’s a big accomplishment,” Cron said. “We want to win the first national championship [though]. Not just be the first national seed.”
Schlossnagle said either Brandon Finnegan or Jordan Kipper will start on the mound Friday against Siena.
“We have a huge chance to make a big run for it,” Finnegan said.
As Schlossnagle added, the road to the College World Series is long and arduous and Monday’s announcement is only the beginning.
“They don’t just hand you tickets to Omaha and say ‘Come on,’” Schlossnagle said. “You still have to play baseball.”
“You don’t win 27 out of 30 if you stick your head in the clouds. They know what the higher goal is. You don’t get up at 7 in the morning all fall long, at least at TCU, to win a conference championship. You get up to get to Omaha.”
First pitch for TCU vs. Siena is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. from Lupton Stadium.