Frogs look for revenge against Oral Roberts after defeat in 2004 NCAA Regional Tourney

The last time that the Horned Frogs baseball team faced the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, one team was sent home without a chance to compete in the College World Series, while the other lived to play on another postseason day.The then No. 22 Horned Frogs (3-1) were defeated by the Golden Eagles (2-0) in the 2004 NCAA Regional, and Friday will mark the first time these two teams will face each other since that postseason matchup.

Both squads bring different teams to the field than those who played in 2004.

The Frogs of yesteryear included rookie standout Austin Adams, who is now a senior and tied for the team lead in extra-base hits, and Chad Huffman, now a member of the San Diego Padres farm system. Since that 2004 loss, the Frogs have found a way back into the postseason in both 2005 and 2006.

“Back in 2004 we were similar in terms of the veteran players we had, but this year, we are vastly different in ability and more depth in the lineup and pitching,” head coach Jim Schlossnagle said.

The Golden Eagles also brought different personnel to the table in 2004 when they were outed by the No. 2 Texas Longhorns.

“The club we had that year had two players on the field who were the best in the country at their position,” Golden Eagles head coach Rob Walton said. “We had the best defensive shortstop in college baseball that I had seen in maybe 30 years, and we had a guy who ran a 6.4 (60-yard dash) in the leadoff spot as our center fielder.”

On the mound, ORU senior Chris Ashman gets the start against TCU preseason All-American Jake Arietta.

“The series will be between two good pitching teams. The difference will be if we just catch the ball or not,” Schlossnagle said.

Though the lineups may be different, both teams carry a powerful squad into the season as they both fight stay at or near the top-25 places.

“For me, the ranking is something I don’t worry about early on,” Walton said. “My biggest concern early is to play good teams. It forces you to make decisions and how to evaluate your team.”

The USA Today/Coaches’ Polls have the Horned Frogs clinging to a No. 22 ranking, while the Golden Eagles are fighting for a berth into the top-25 after receiving 21 votes by the pollsters.

“We’re really the underdog,” Schlossnagle said. “In terms of success, they have had some more than TCU in the past.”

In the Collegiate Baseball Poll, TCU is riding a No. 16 ranking after an extra-inning victory over the Dallas Baptist University Patriots on Tuesday. Although the game went into extra innings, Schlossnagle said he is not bothered by the possible fatigue the game may have caused his players.

“Lineup-wise, we got some opportunities for the guys like (Matt) Vern and Ben Carruthers to get some play time,” Schlossnagle said.

This three-game series will mark the first of nine opponents for the Horned Frogs who are fighting for a spot or have received a place in the poll charts.