Baseball reigns as Rangers roll and Frogs romp to Omaha

TCU's Cole Fontenelle. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Fort Worth and Tarrant County haven’t experienced this kind of baseball joy in quite some time.

While it remains to be seen if the Texas Rangers will reach Major League Baseball’s World Series, one thing is already certain. The TCU Horned Frogs are on their way to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series.

The Horned Frogs are the second team from the DFW area to reach their respective national championship tournament. Earlier this month the Weatherford College Coyotes finished third in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I World Series in Grand Junction, Colorado.

And while that was the Coyotes’ inaugural trip to their baseball promised land, TCU is there for a sixth time since 2010. It is, however, the Frogs’ first CW Series appearance since 2017, when they finished third for a second time, reprising their 2010 effort.

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TCU will face Oral Roberts (51-12) in the CWS opener at 1:09 p.m. Friday (the game will be televised on ESPN). Oral Roberts qualified by outlasting Oregon in three games in Eugene, Oregon, this past weekend and is back in the CWS for the first time since 1978.

The Horned Frogs clinched their journey to Omaha by sweeping No. 14 Indiana State 4-1 and 6-4 this past weekend at Lupton Stadium on the TCU campus. It was the fourth time the Frogs have secured a trip to the CWS by winning at home.

The clinching win on Saturday was in front of a crowd of 8,994, the largest ever to see an on-campus college baseball game in the state. The previous record was 8,812 and stood for a single day – that’s how many attended Friday’s game.

“I’m super proud of our guys. I’m proud of TCU,” Horned Frogs head coach Kirk Sarloos said. “That tells you a lot about TCU and our fans.”

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Of course, the fans have plenty of reason to be excited, particularly of late. The Horned Frogs, once sitting at a mediocre 23-20 with the postseason even in question, have gone 19-2 since, racking up 11 straight victories and heading to Omaha this weekend with a 42-22 record.

Along with 2010 and 2017, the Horned Frogs made College World Series appearances in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Their overall record in the CWS is 11-10.

In four of their five CWS appearances, the team that eliminated the Horned Frogs reached the championship round. In 2016 and 2017 that was Coastal Carolina and Florida, respectively, and they were ousted by runner-up UCLA in 2010 and runner-up Vanderbilt in 2015.

“They’ve been looking at that left field wall with all the College World Series experiences and they were tired of it,” Sarloos said of his team. “In our first meeting we talked about going to Omaha. They looked at the back wall and we talked about it and here we are.”

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The Horned Frogs are on quite on a roll as they head to Nebraska. In the 11 straight wins they have outscored their opponents 114-37, an average of 10.4 to 3.4 runs per game. They’ve scored in double digits six times, including games of 20, 16 and 14 runs, and three games with 12 runs.

Defensively, they’ve held opponents to three runs or less five times during the streak.

At the Fayetteville Regional in Arkansas, TCU went 3-0 and outscored opponents 44-13. including wins of 20-5 and 12-4 over No. 3 Arkansas, along with a 12-4 win over Arizona.

The Horned Frogs have played 18 games against opponents who were nationally ranked at the time they met this season. TCU is 12-6 in those games.

TCU’s record breaks down into 24-11 at home, 10-9 on the road and 8-2 on neutral sites – which, of course, Omaha will be.

Other notes of interest:

  • TCU is now 63-42 all-time in NCAA postseason play.
  • TCU improved to 13-8 in NCAA Super Regional play, including a mark of 8-2 at Lupton Stadium.
  • TCU has homered in a game 49 times this season.
  • TCU played errorless baseball for the 30th time this season in its Saturday win over Indiana State.
  • Brayden Taylor has reached safely in 30 straight contests.
  • Cole Fontenelle has reached safely in 21 straight games.
  • Fontenelle hit his 13th career home run.
  • Fontenelle collected his 24th multi-hit game of the season and the 26th of his career.

As for the Rangers, so far so good. For now, let’s enjoy the them being one of the best teams in the Major Leagues and hope for the Frogs to emerge as the best in the world (Series, at least) of college baseball.