No. 3 TCU faces Pepperdine for College World Series spot

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    Only two wins away from the pinnacle of college baseball, the TCU Horned Frogs can practically feel Omaha, Neb., in their fingertips.

    For the no. 3-ranked team in the country though, there’s still plenty of work to be done.

    “This is the time you wanna play your best, get the hottest” sophomore left fielder Boomer White said.

    “If we’re not putting that into practice and we’re not working on our routines and trying to stay within ourselves now, then what was it for in the past?”

    The Frogs take on the Pepperdine Waves (42-16, 18-9 WCC) over the weekend in the Fort Worth Super Regional and neither team has lost in the postseason yet.

    “Pepperdine is one of those teams right now that they’re talented and they’re hot,” Schlossnagle said. “Usually this time of the year, as I said last week, you get one or the other or both. They’re both.”

    Something will have to give as the winner earns a berth to the College World Series.

    “Gonna be a big weekend,” TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

    Because TCU earned the seventh national seed in May, they continue to have home field advantage until they lose or reach the College World Series.

    “We’re unbelievably excited to be here,” Pepperdine head coach Steve Rodriguez. “It’s a pretty special group and we’re excited to be here. I just know the hospitality we’ve received here in Texas has been second-to-none so far.”

    TCU holds a 3-5 all-time record in NCAA Super Regionals, but is also 10-2 in NCAA postseason games played at Lupton Stadium. The purple and white have also won 17 of their last 18 home matchups.  

    The Waves beat top-seeded Cal Poly (47-12, 19-5 Big West) in the regional round to make it to Fort Worth. The Mustangs were ranked high in the standings for most of the year before falling to Pepperdine.

    “One of the best offensive teams I’ve seen in a long time,” Rodriguez said of Cal Poly. “That regional was really fun.”

    Junior left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan will make the start Saturday for the Frogs Saturday.

    “It’s me against the game, honestly,” Finnegan said. “I gotta go out there and do my best, do what I do every night.”

    The Kansas City Royals drafted the Fort Worth native Thursday night with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft.

    Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Preston Morrison will likely take the mound on Sunday with freshman Tyler Alexander playing the rubber match Monday if necessary.

    Both pitching staffs this weekend rank in the nation’s top 10 in earned run average. The Waves average the 10th-best ERA in the country at 2.52 while TCU holds the top spot with a 2.14 ERA.

    “They’re a team that can match up with us pitcher for pitcher,” Schlossnagle said.

    Saturday’s matchup will be just the second time these two have met in school history. Pepperdine won in Minneapolis in 2008 by a score of 10-4.

    After last weekend’s 42 innings of baseball in three games, Schlossnagle expects another close series this weekend.

    “More than likely, these are all gonna be dog fights and I expect us to handle it well,” he said.

    First pitch for the series opener is at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The game is scheduled to be broadcast on ESPNU.