Sunday’s 3 p.m. Austin Super Regional elimination game will begin just like it did in 2009: TCU and Texas tied 1-1 with a berth to the NCAA College World Series on the line.
Texas was able to bounce back from a 3-2 game 2 loss in 2009 to take the final game of the series 5-2. This year Texas (50-12) will enter the third game confident as ever after a dominant 14-1 victory over TCU (50-12); Texas out pitched, outhit and outplayed the Frogs defensively from the first out to the 27th out.
“I think we can carry over some of the confidence from the hitter’s standpoint,” said Texas first baseman Tant Shepherd. “I don’t think you can ever have enough confidence at the plate, and after a day like (Saturday), you certainly hope that gets carried over.”
Added Garrido: “I’ve asked (the Texas players) not to buy into expectations and develop assumptions based on the last two days. Expect a war tomorrow; be ready for it, there’s going to be nine battles and somebody is going to win the war at the end of it.”
Texas is 12-4 all-time in Super Regional play and has advanced the College World Series all six years they have made it to the Super Regional round. Texas also owns TCU at Disch-Falk field, with a124-23 all-time record against the Frogs at home.
Garrido might not want his players to develop assumptions and expectations going into game 3, but everyone not sitting in the TCU dugout Saturday probably did.
TCU will have to find ways to get runners across home plate against Texas’ Sunday starting pitcher Brandon Workman (12-1, 3.43 ERA). Workman was drafted 57th overall by the Boston Red Sox. If TCU figures Workman out, Texas’ lights out All-American closer Chance Ruffin (14 saves, 0.73 ERA) is available to come into the game when needed.
Ruffin, drafted 48th overall by the Detroit Tigers, also leads Division I baseball with a 0.75 ERA and 14.01 strikeouts per nine innings.
Schlossnagle will start Kyle Winkler (11-1, 3.05 ERA) against Workman; Schlossnagle will also have the option of putting in pitcher Paul Gerrish, who was the starting pitcher in TCU’s only victory in the 2009 super regional against Texas.
Schlossnagle would prefer not to pitch Purke for the second time in three games, even for an inning, although he would not completely rule out such a situation.
Winkler will technically be the home pitcher Sunday-a coin flip decided which team would be the home team if a Sunday game was necessary, with TCU winning the coin toss.
In reality, however, TCU will be faced with an elimination game on the road against a Texas team that sports the best overall team ERA in Division I baseball.
“You have two teams with identical records,” Schlossnagle said. “We just have to try to win one game tomorrow.”
He added that a blowout loss is easier to bounce back from than an emotionally draining close game that ends on a walk-off hit or botched play.
“It’s a zero-to-zero game (after Saturday’s loss), so we will be ready to play tomorrow,” he said.