trio has the Frogs bats on fire
freshmen have made a name for themselves on the baseball
diamond with their bats this season, and they plan to
keep it that way
Entering the 2004 season, head coach Jim Schlossnagle
was searching for a new collection of hitters he could
pencil into his lineup card every game.
Gone were the Frogs top six statistical hitters
from the year before, who combined to hit .346, leaving
Schlossnagle weighing his options this spring.
Well, just a little over a month and a half into his first
season with the Frogs, its safe to say his search
In freshmen Chad Huffman, Shelby Ford and German Duran,
Schlossnagle has found much more than a group of hitters
capable of replacing last seasons departed starters.
He has found the cornerstone of his program.
Theyre the core of our program, Schlossnagle
said. Were building our program around those
guys. As long as they continue to do what they are supposed
to in the classroom and on the field, theyll be
names that TCU fans will follow for a long, long time.
Based on their performances this spring, Schlossnagle
shouldnt worry too much about their on-field performance.
Through the seasons first 22 games, Huffman, Ford
and Duran have been nothing less than excellent. In fact,
the three freshmen have played so well they comprise the
top-third of the Frogs batting order.
Huffman leads the team in hitting with a .448 average,
while Ford leads the team with seven home runs and Duran
owns a 16-game hitting streak, bringing his average to
.402. Aside from junior Bo Cogbill, who is hitting .403,
the three freshmen represent the Frogs top hitters.
And Schlossnagle understands what these freshmen bring
to his team.
We wouldnt have much of a baseball program
without them, right now, he said. Pretty much
how they go we have gone. Theyre all as good of
freshmen as there is in the country.
Duran isnt at all surprised by his play or the performance
of the other two freshmen, though.
We knew we were real good, the shortstop said.
Im doing a little better than I thought I
would be doing, but Im not surprised. We came in
here as three freshmen starting and we knew we had to
put up big numbers so we could produce.
Schlossnagle admits the freshmen have exceeded his expectations.
After fall practice I knew they were pretty special,
he said. I never expected them to perform at the
level they are performing at currently as freshman, especially
with the schedule we have played. But I knew they were
great players and would eventually be this good.
Much of the their successes this season stem from Duran,
the leadoff hitter, who owns a .469 on base percentage,
the second highest on the team behind Huffmans .564.
I try everything I can to get on base and get the
guys behind me some RBI opportunities, Duran said.
It makes for more runs for us and keeps us in the
game and gives us some wins.
Ford said he enjoys batting at the top of the order behind
Duran but that his high school relationship with the two
other freshmen provides the most benefits.
Its great, we try to set the tone for the
rest of the game with our first three batters, the
third baseman said. We came in as a great group
of freshmen. Everyone had played together for a while
and we had known each other, which helps out a lot.
Schlossnagle said he hopes to recruit some big bats in
the future in order to give his strong nucleus of freshmen
some protection in the lineup.
We need to get some more bats around them, specifically
in the outfield, Schlossnagle said. Then if
we can sign some new pitchers to replace these ones, everything
should be in place.
Ford cant wait for his next few years in a Frogs
uniform. And he can only hope it will include the other
Im really excited, he said. Well
have a chance to put together even better numbers and
have the younger guys grow and develop. We want to be
together for the rest of our careers here, but whatever
happens, whether some of us get drafted or not, I know
we all want to stay together and have a great team here.
third baseman Shelby Ford takes a break from practice
to cheer on his teammates at Lupton Stadium.