College World Series: Texas Tech's road to Omaha
Texas Tech Red Raiders team profile
How they got here: Winners of the Lubbock Regional; defeated East Carolina in Lubbock Super Regional in three games
Key players: OF Stephen Smith, P/INF Eric Gutierrez, OF Tanner Gardner, SS Cory Raley, SP Davis Martin, RP Hayden Howard
College World Series appearances: 2 (0 championships)
Think TCU at the College World Series is becoming a habit?
So is a game against Texas Tech.
The Horned Frogs opened in Omaha in 2014 against Texas Tech and will again Sunday.
The Big 12 rivals are scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch at TD Ameritrade Park in what will be their fourth meeting this season. And with the teams being in the same four-team pairing, a potential for a fifth -- even sixth -- meeting this season is possible.
It's awesome to have conference teams up there. It would have been nice not to play them until at least the championship game.
"It's awesome to have conference teams up there. It would have been nice not to play them until at least the championship game," TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said. "It is what it is."
It is what it is when a league sends multiple teams to the eight-team College World Series.
In 2014, the bracket matched No. 7 national seed TCU and unseeded Texas Tech. TCU won 3-2.
This year, the bracket matches No. 5 national seed Tech against unseeded TCU, which advanced in the slot of No. 4 national seed Texas A&M with its Super Regional series victory last week.
"I don't have to watch a lot of film," Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock told reporters in Lubbock.
Exactly, Schlossnagle said.
"It's a lot less time we have to spend on scouting and video. We can focus our efforts a lot more on Coastal Carolina and Florida, the other two teams in our bracket," he said.
Combined, TCU and Texas Tech have six appearances in the past seven seasons at the College World Series. Combined, they are 6-8 (6-6 TCU, 0-2 Texas Tech).
Two years ago, the teams tried to set up a nonconference game in Abilene, Schlossnagle said. Tadlock remembered that after the pairing was announced.
"No disrespect to Abilene, but he texted me and said, 'Congratulations, sure is better to play in Omaha than in Abilene,' " Schlossnagle said.
Texas Tech won the regular-season series two games to one in Fort Worth on the last weekend of April this year. Big 12 player of the year Eric Gutierrez homered twice in the series for the Red Raiders, who were on the way to winning the Big 12 regular-season championship.
"It's all about how you play today, not how you played back then," TCU third baseman Elliott Barzilli said. "It's about how you win this game today."
Since the end of the regular season, Tech was eliminated in bracket play at the Big 12 tournament; TCU won it out of the other bracket.
Tech went 3-1 in its home regional and 2-1 in its home Super Regional against East Carolina.
TCU went 3-0 in its home regional and 2-1 in its Super Regional at Texas A&M.
Tech is 12-5 since it left Fort Worth with a series victory; TCU is 17-4.
Both qualified for Omaha on the same day. Tech is making its second trip; TCU its fourth.
Very impressive for a nine-baseball-school league. The Big 12 is strong and had a good postseason.
"They're really starting to hit right now," Tech designated hitter Cory Raley said of TCU. "They've got some pitchers that haven't started for them starting and doing pretty well. They're a scrappy team."
TCU pitcher Brian Howard, who started the second game of the Tech series in April, said he's glad to see the Big 12 well-represented this week with the Frogs, Raiders and Oklahoma State Cowboys.
"Very impressive for a nine-baseball-school league," he said. "The Big 12 is strong and had a good postseason. As far as playing Tech, no matter who you play in Omaha, you're going to be very excited about it, and you're going to be ready to go. It's good for the Big 12. As far as knowing them, it's just another team that we need to go out and execute our game plan against."
This article was written by Carlos Mendez from Fort Worth Star-Telegram and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.