Freshman Pitcher of the Year Matt Purke’s record-breaking 16th win wasn’t business as usual. But he’ll take a win any way he can.
Win 16 broke Lance Broadway’s previous TCU record of 15 wins in a single season, which Purke tied in TCU 11-7 victory over Florida State in Game 1 of the College World Series.
“Coming in I was tied with Lance Broadway, and certainly to be in that category with those guys at TCU, its awesome to have the record,” Purke said. “But hopefully next year I can break my own.
“This is where you want to be as a college player, and to come (to Omaha) as a freshman was phenomenal; I just took it as it is, it’s still baseball, just a different park and a different team.”
Purke typically pounds the strike zone, working fast and getting ahead in the count early, racking up his strike totals. He was 11 strikeouts from the single-season TCU record of 151 entering Friday’s game. He only notched two strikeouts in a 6-2 win over UCLA.
“Jerome (Pena) joked with me this week that (in) the Florida State game I didn’t get him a ground ball,” Purke said. “He said, ‘I want a ground ball.’ Alright, today I’ll give you a few.”
Purke also thought the Bruins conspired to slow down his pace throughout the game. Head TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle thought that was good coaching, but Purke didn’t appreciate any UCLA attempts to disrupt his pitching rhythm.
“I mean, (UCLA) decided that it was their job to take about 20 minutes between the walk from the dugout to the plate,” Purke said. “And you just can’t get rattled with that stuff because teams are going to try to do that, try to break up your rhythm.
“I was able to stay focused and keep getting ground balls, and I figured sooner or later I would get them out and they could take their time on the bench.”
Bush league tactics or good coaching, depending on differences in Purke and Schlossnagle’s opinion, didn’t change the overall moment for the TCU’s star freshman. Regardless of if TCU made it to the College World Series, Purke was comfortable with his decision to come to TCU.
“I knew when I wanted to go to college I wanted to compete for a national championship, that’s why you go to college and play college baseball,” he said.
“I’ve talked to coach, and I’ve told him even if we weren’t here (at the CWS), I’d be 100 percent OK with my decision. I love TCU I love and Fort Worth and I love everything about it, it’s my new family.”