“Great Horney Toads!,” as the Looney Tunes Wild West character Yosemite Sam often exclaimed. The TCU Horned Frogs are an outstanding baseball team.
They figuratively rained on their host program’s parade at the Fayetteville Regional in more ways than one. TCU drubbed the Arkansas Razorbacks twice on their way to capturing the Regional title and advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals where they will host Indiana State this Friday-Sunday at Fort Worth, Texas.
The Horned Frogs felt so at home in Baum-Walker Stadium that one of their players was caught in a photo relieving himself in a stadium alcove while waiting to take the field.
The Horned Frogs certainly marked their territory.
That sleight was nothing, though, compared to the whippings they administered to all comers on the diamond over the long weekend. TCU clobbered Arizona, 12-4, on Friday; walloped the Razorbacks, 20-5, on Sunday; and whipped the Hogs, 12-5, on Monday to blow away the regional.
The Horned Fogs certainly came into the Regional on a hot streak over the last 30 days or so. They won the Big 12 Tournament and came into Fayetteville just as hot.
That should have been enough to warn everyone involved, but many Hog fans were certainly surprised by the way TCU handled the Razorbacks, even though the Horned Frogs roughed Arkansas up, 18-6, in the second game of the season on Feb. 18.
It was a dominating weekend by Kirk Saarloos’ squad, and their entire team deserves a tip of the Hawg Hat for the way they performed.
I won’t go so far to say that I will be rooting for the Horned Frogs for the rest of their time in the NCAA Tournament, but I will be interested in keeping up with how they do, and I get the feeling from the way they put the ball in play last weekend, they will be playing for at least a couple of more weekends.
But you never know.
I felt that way about the Razorbacks going into last Friday. I figured coach Dave Van Horn, his staff, and Hogs had enough skill and talent to outlast the field in the Fayetteville Regional because that’s what the Razorbacks had done all season. Despite the odds and the copious amount of injuries, the Razorbacks usually found a way to come out on top this season.
But TCU was a hard-hitting steamroller that made the Razorbacks pay for even the slightest mistake.
While I usually don’t dote on the successes of opposing teams or players, TCU second baseman Tre Richardson put on a memorable hitting clinic at the Fayetteville Regional, and he certainly deserved being named MVP. While everyone else was playing baseball, he held his own home-run derby in Baum-Walker Stadium.
Richardson had hit two home runs coming into the regional, but he swatted six in the tournament, including two grand slams. He went 9 for 15 at the plate to bat .600 and drove in a whopping 14 RBI.
I’ve been watching Arkansas sports since I was tyke in the early 1970s, and that’s about as dominating of a performance as I’ve seen from an opponent against a very good Razorback team. I’d rate him up there with Texas’ Earl Campbell in football and Memphis State’s Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway in hoops as personal great Hog villains.
Razorback center fielder Tavian Josenberger and pitchers Brady Tygart and Will McEntire deservedly made the All-Tournament team for the Razorbacks.
This “early” exit for the Razorbacks does sting, but somehow the hurt over the abrupt end to the season is lessoned by the Horned Frogs’ dominance. They were the better team, and they proved it on the field.
Selective memory is particularly heartening as fan of any team, particularly if focus on the the successes.
It’s like forgetting the long lines you had to stand in at Disney World to have all the fun. I’ll personally remember the good stuff from this season more than I will the bad.
Though it’s a little difficult to put in perspective so soon after the losses, the highs of this season were so much greater than the lows.
Anytime a Razorback team wins a Western Division title and shares the overall conference championship, it’s been an outstanding season and one to remember warmly.