All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

Read More

Frogs open season tonight against Ole Miss

It’s that time of year again. New team, new season.

The No. 10 ranked TCU baseball team opens the 2012 season with a home series against No. 22 Ole Miss tonight.

Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said Ole Miss was one of the best programs in the Southeastern Conference. He said he expected them to be competitive and have hard-throwing pitching.

“They’re going to be a really good team,” Schlossnagle said. “I know they’re really excited about their team, and we’re really excited about our team.”

Nationally, the Horned Frogs are ranked in the top 15 by USA Today, the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Baseball America. The program also was unanimously voted to win its seventh straight regular season Mountain West title.

The Frogs return 13 letterwinners and welcome 16 newcomers. The newcomers include 13 freshmen and three junior college transfers.

The starters for opening day will be Jason Coats (LF), Kyle Von Tungeln (CF), Brance Rivera (RF), Davy Wright (3B), Keaton Jones (SS), Brett Johnson (2B), Kevin Cron (1B), Josh Elander (C) and Zac Jordan (DH).

Schlossnagle said everyone would know a little more about the team by next week. He said a team only gets better by finding out its strengths and areas of improvement while playing games.

“We’re definitely prepared. I think we’re not the team we’re going to be at the end of the season, but nobody is,” he said. “The thing we need to do is just play somebody else [outside of practice].”

Ole Miss was picked to finish fourth in the SEC Western Division. The Rebels return 16 letter-winners from last season.

“I think they’re going to be a good team with a bunch of good arms on the mound and a team that can swing the bat,” Coats said. “That’s about how every SEC school is, so we’re just going to go out there ready to hit against some good arms and see what happens.”

Coats decided to return for his senior year after being drafted in the 12th round of the MLB amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles.

“We haven’t been doing anything different than what we normally do. We’re going through the same routine,” Coats said. “I just treat it like any other game. I’ve been here for three years now, so I’m used to going through the same routine and getting ready no matter who’s on the mound or who’s playing.”

Coats said the team this year had just as much talent as the team that went to the 2010 College World Series in Omaha. He said the young players on the team had a lot of potential, and he was excited to see what the team would do this weekend.

“We’re going to have to play a lot of younger guys, and we’re going to see what they’re made of early,” Coats said. “They are going to be tested early, and I think we’ve prepared them good enough going into the game that they feel comfortable and not feel like any pressure is on them.”

Sophomore Andrew Mitchell will start on the mound for Opening Day for the Horned Frogs.
“It feels cool to be able to start the first game, but we have a lot of really good pitchers that can do the same thing and pitch Opening Day,” Mitchell said. “There’s really no one, clear-cut guy that’s going to be number one.”

Schlossnagle said that although Mitchell was just a sophomore, he had the most experience as a starting pitcher.

“He pitched great for us last season. He started the regional. He pitched on Fridays and Saturdays in conference play. He pitched all summer long for the USA national team and pitched internationally, so there’s not a whole lot for him to do outside of pitching in the Super Regional and pitching in Omaha,” Schlossnagle said. “I’m very comfortable with him on the mound.”

Mitchell said he had been focusing on getting his arm speed back and improving his command with his fastball. He also was working on his changeup and curve ball to give him two secondary pitches to help him throughout the series.

He said he was going to focus only on the coaches and junior catcher Josh Elander calling pitches behind the plate. If he just focuses on pitching and Elander’s catching, everything will be fine.

“We’re a bunch of guys that are going to go out there to compete and not worry about anything outside this field,” Mitchell said. “We believe in ourselves, and we’re going to give it our best shot no matter what.”

Schlossnagle said the team was excited, ready to play and ready to move forward with the season.

“It’s two nationally ranked clubs, one of the better marquee matchups in college baseball in the first weekend,” Schlossnagle said. “It should be great college baseball. I hope the weather is kind to us because for fans, it’s going to be really neat to watch.”

No. 10 TCU vs. No. 22 Ole Miss

Game 1
When: 6:30 p.m. tonight
Where: Lupton Stadium
Starters: Andrew Mitchell vs. Bobby Wahl

Game 2
When: 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lupton Stadium
Starters: Stefan Crichton vs. R.J. Hively

Game 3
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Lupton Stadium
Starters:  Brandon Finnegan vs. Mike Mayers

Radio: KTCU-FM 88.7 Follow GameTracker or listen live

More to Discover