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Purke to open CWS on the mound; Schlossnagle receives praise

Purke to open CWS on the mound; Schlossnagle receives praise

Freshman Pitcher of the Year and second-team All American Matt Purke (14-0) will take the mound 1 p.m. Saturday against Florida State’s Sean Gilmartin (9-7). Purke struck out 11 in 7 2/3 innings in a 3-1 victory over Texas in Game 1 of the Austin Super Regional.

The Frogs will look to Purke to win Game 1 of the CWS, much like he did in the Super Regional.

“Matt (Purke) pitches like his rear end’s on fire, I promise you,” said TCU head baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle. “We practice those things all year. whether it’s a mid-week game in front of 200 people on the road or whether it’s this time last week against University of Texas in front of 10,000 Longhorn fans.

“I think Matt handled that really, really well.”

Purke’s (3.23 ERA) and Gilmartin (4.89 ERA), both lefties, will be challenged by the opposing line-ups.

Frogs’ catcher and Johnny Bench Award Finalist Bryan Haladay will look to continue his leadership on and off the field-Holaday is hitting .350 with 13 home runs.

Holaday’s biggest impact might be in the locker room during the CWS, however. Schlossnagle credited Holaday as the primary player-motivator after the 14-1 drubbing Texas handed TCU in Game 2 of the Austin Super Regional.

“I knew that the core group of our club, namely Bryan Holaday, our catcher, would be back, and he’s just one of the greatest leaders I’ve ever been around,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s the ultimate dirt bag player and he refuses to allow our guys to do anything other than their best. And as coaches we all try and influence that, but when they hear it from a peer, it’s significantly different. “

Seminoles’ All-American Mike McGee (1.37 ERA), a two-way player, has 12 saves and also has team-high 15 home runs and 68 RBIs to go along with a .328 batting average. Florida State All-American Tyler Holt will also challenge Purke– the Seminoles outfielder is hitting .352 and has some pop with12 home runs and 46 RBIs.

Schlossnagle Lauded by Florida State Coach Martin

Florida State head baseball coach Mike Martin, who has led the Seminoles to 13 CWS appearances in 31 seasons as head coach, praised Schlossnagle for his accomplishments at TCU during a Friday press conference.

“Well, I think when you look at TCU and what Jim (Schlossnagle) has accomplished in a short period of time, you’ve really got to take your hat off,” Martin said. “This is a program that nobody even thought about five, six, seven years ago.

“Jim comes in and starts really getting after it recruiting-wise, and now he’s got a tremendous fan base.”

Schlossnagle would not be intimidated by coaching from the opposite dug out of Martin, who has 13 CWS appearances notched on his belt as a head coach compared to Schlossnagle’s zero before Saturday.

“You question whether you should be on the same stage with (Martin),” Schlossnagle said. “The same thing last weekend with Coach Garrido, you know. It’s almost a 40-year-old head coach. I came here as an assistant in 2001 with Tulane. But it’s significantly different.”

Added Martin: “I got to watch the ball games TCU played against Texas. Heck, they had a tremendous turnout there at Disch-Falk. Horned Frog. How do you make that thing? I’ll tell you right now. It’s an outstanding program. They belong here. They deserve to be here and to do what they did in Austin is an unbelievable accomplishment.”

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