As a redshirt junior, pitcher Trey Teakell is the only remaining link on the roster to the 2010 TCU team that played in the College World Series.
While the Horned Frog coaching staff has a pedigree relatively rich in Omaha experience, no player on the roster has ever been. Teakell is the only one left that even played alongside TCU teammates that did make it to down to the final eight teams in all of college baseball four years ago.
Teakell joined the members of that team that returned in 2011, Teakell’s true freshman season. He said the first-ever group of Frogs to go to Omaha couldn’t even explain the feeling.
“The thing I remember most is that they couldn’t even put into words how cool of an experience it was,” Teakell said.
A then-18-year-old Teakell, a new face on an experienced team, observed teammates that had gained a special kind of motivation from their trip to eastern Nebraska having played for the ultimate goal of a National Championship.
“Everything they did was to get back there,” Teakell said. “You could tell everybody that experienced [Omaha] had a different drive that the freshmen didn’t understand. You could tell that meant so much to them.”
The 2014 model of the TCU pitching staff is similar to that of the 2010 Frogs sent the likes of freshman Matt Purke, sophomore Kyle Winkler and redshirt junior Steven Maxwell to the mound as starters and had a fleet of capable arms out of the bullpen.
A staff that made a complete turnaround in the second half of the season to ascend to the nation’s top team ERA at an impressive 2.19 is defined by it’s depth.
Teakell referred to the competition in the fall for the job as the team’s third starter behind Brandon Finnegan and Preston Morrison. Freshman Tyler Alexander, who won the job and recorded 10 wins this season, was in the mix with Teakell, Alex Young, Jordan Kipper and even redshirt freshman Mitchell Traver before an injury took Traver out of the conversation.
“There’s five guys right there that could be our Sunday starter and could be a starter in a lot of other rotations, and now we have all that in the bullpen,” Teakell said.
TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle stressed the importance of staying in the winners’ bracket, which would spread out the club’s games during its stay in Omaha and thus not put the pitching depth to the test. He said, however, his team is capable of pitching through a lot of innings over a few days.
“We won’t panic if we lose a game,” he said. “Somebody has to give you those innings, but we’ve got a group of guys who are capable of doing that.”
“We’re loaded with guys that know how to get the job done,” Teakell said.
Teakell, the lanky right-hander conservatively listed at 6-foot-5, is a weapon primarily used out of the bullpen, but who Schlossnagle said can pitch in any role.
Teakell said the prospect of pitching in different capacities - possibly even starting a game - doesn’t change his approach.
“My job is still to go in and pound the strike zone with quality pitches no matter what role I’m in.” he said. “I’m just going in ready to hear number called for whatever it is.”
In 2010, the Horned Frogs played four games in a week as eventual runner-up UCLA bumped them from the winners’ bracket.
In 2014, the quest to stay in the winners’ bracket will go through a familiar foe in Texas Tech on Sunday at 2 p.m.