Sophomore pitcher Matt Purke started playing baseball when he was six years old, and for the past 14 years he said he hasn’t put the ball down.
“I was like every little kid and wanted to play all the time,” Purke said. “As I grew up I played multiple sports but as I got into high school I saw that [baseball] was more my thing.”
Purke said he started playing baseball late, while other kids started at the age of four and five. Throughout his childhood, Purke played multiple sports, but as soon as he started playing in high school, he realized baseball was the right direction.
His late start didn’t affect his performance on the mound. Purke was the 2010 Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year and helped lead the team to its first College World Series appearance.
In his two years at TCU, Purke has lost only one game, making his record 20-1. Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said Purke’s energy and confidence help drive him through the games.
“[He’s] the ultimate team guy and when you have a really good player, one of your best players, is a team player then that helps the club be better,” Schlossnagle said.
Junior outfielder Jason Coats said Purke is a great teammate to the other players. Coats said Purke goes out every day and competes as hard as he can, which drives the team.
“He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had,” Coats said.
Sophomore infielder Jantzen Witte said Purke’s energy drives the team and motivates everyone to work hard.
“He wears his hat a little sideways and wears his goggles on the field,” Witte said. “What can I say, he’s a funny guy”
As far as Purke’s performance off the mound, Witte had one more detail that makes Purke the teammate he is.
“Something juicy about Matt Purke that no one knows is he looks like Harry Potter and listens to Ke$ha,” Witte said.
Purke said listening to music before the game helps him prepare, and his playlist does have some Ke$ha on it.
“I mean there’s some, there’s some, it’s been there…she’s got a nice beat and that’s really what you look for when you try to get yourself in the zone so I have fun with it,” Purke said.
Witte said you don’t talk to Purke before the game because he is in the zone. Witte said Purke can do whatever he wants when he gets out there and has as much energy as he does.
Purke said he hopes his future will grow beyond pitching in a Horned Frog uniform. Purke said he has aspirations like every other little kids’ dream.
“When you start playing baseball…you want to be on a MLB team, play under the lights in front of 50…60 thousand people and that’s the goal and that’s where we’re headed,” Purke said.