Two Horned Frogs took home gold medals with the USA Baseball National Team as they helped the team defend its title and win its second straight World Championship in Havana, Cuba.Head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle and junior pitcher Jake Arrieta donned the red, white and blue jerseys this summer to represent Team USA in the baseball world championships in Havana in August.
Schlossnagle was an assistant coach for the national team, which finished the summer with a 28-2-1 mark, and Arrieta was a starting pitcher.
“Going to Cuba is something a lot of Americans don’t get to do, and playing for Team USA made it even better,” Arrieta said.
Arrieta, the first TCU baseball player to play for the national team, started six times this summer and pitched 33.2 innings for Team USA. He finished the season with a 4-0 record and a 0.27 ERA.
The right-handed pitcher struck out 34 batters and allowed only one earned run.
“To wear the USA uniform meant we weren’t just playing against different schools or different states but against different countries,” Arrieta said. “It’s an extreme honor. You really get a feel for what professional baseball is like.”
Schlossnagle said coaching for the national team enabled him to adjust some of his coaching techniques and reinforced what his team at TCU is already doing.
“The thing that stands out the most is the confirmation of my belief that the very best players can also be the very hardest workers,” Schlossnagle said. “We surely had some good players, but the quality of the kids on Team USA was amazing. They all tried to get better every day. I definitely expect my TCU guys to do the same.”
Schlossnagle said being on Team USA with Arrieta was a credit to TCU and the Mountain West Conference.
“He really represented our program at the highest level,” Schlossnagle said.
Arrieta said he improved his change-up in the world championships, especially playing against Japan, which, Arrieta said, was good at hitting fastballs.
Matt Carpenter, third baseman and junior communication major, said having a coach and a player on the national team adds credibility to TCU baseball.
“Coach Schlossnagle is a great coach, and coaching for the national team is another notch under his belt,” Carpenter said. “We’re excited about the group of guys we’ve got and are looking forward to competing every day when the season starts.”
Aside from the baseball that was played this summer, Schlossnagle and Arrieta both said traveling in Cuba was a unique experience.
Although the team members only got two days away from the sport while they were in Cuba, Arrieta said one of his favorite parts of Cuba was seeing the 1950s-style cars the locals drove around.
Schlossnagle said Cuba is a beautiful country, and Cubans love baseball and Americans.
“It was a privilege to be able to visit there,” Schlossnagle said.