FORT WORTH, Texas - Long before TCU registered a strikeout against Pepperdine for the final out to go to Omaha for the College World Series the season was a success. The year, the team, the program ... it all worked.
The atmosphere at Lupton Stadium on Monday afternoon for the NCAA baseball Super Regional finale between TCU and Pepperdine was as good as a college baseball atmosphere can possibly be. The place was packed, despite the 3 p.m. start time. It was loud. People were watching the game, and every pitch mattered to the fans as much as the players.
The following does not have the power of football, but TCU has become a national baseball power.
As much of a gamble as the investment in football was for TCU, baseball was an equal risk without the potential giant payoff for the entire school, neighborhood and city.
TCU was late to the investment in its college baseball program, but the financial commitment the school made to its facilities has worked.
It was one thing to win a collection of Mountain West Conference titles, and reaching a College World Series in '10, it's another to do so at home. Doing this at home means you are supposed to win.
The '14 series against Pepperdine was the first time TCU hosted a sub and super regional on consecutive weekends; 2014 was the first time TCU was a national seed, was classified as the favorite, and played to that expectation.
The last time TCU headed to Omaha, the Horned Frogs were the cute little team from the little conference that became the favorite for the residents who annually go to the tournament. People wanted to see TCU do well because they were cute, and they were not in the BCS.
It's 2014, and the Horned Frogs are a real threat in this sport and can't be expect to the be the CWS darlings. People now see them as a threat, will want to see them lose, which means TCU baseball is a power.
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