For TCU, it's win or go home from CWS

Updated: June 23, 2010, 2:39 PM ET
By Josh Davis | ESPNDallas.com

OMAHA, Neb. -- Since TCU's regular season ended more than a month ago, the Horned Frogs had lost only once before Monday night's defeat to UCLA in the College World Series, but it was a doozy.

The Horned Frogs dropped the middle game to Texas, 14-1, in the best-of-3 Austin Super Regional. But TCU dusted itself off and won the deciding game to clinch the Frogs' first trip to Omaha.

Schlossnagle We've used our mulligan. Now we have to play with our backs against the wall in the corner, and we're a much better club when we're in that scenario.

-- TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle

Now that TCU is again on the brink of elimination after Monday's 6-3 loss to UCLA, the Frogs will look to quickly put it behind them and get back to the business of winning baseball games.

"Very confident," coach Jim Schlossnagle said of his team's chances. "We're 52-13. That's pretty good. ... When you have good starting pitching, it's hard to go on too much of a [losing] streak."

The same pitching staff that hasn't lost more than one game in a weekend all season will start junior right-hander Steven Maxwell against Florida State on Wednesday night.

Although Schlossnagle wasn't dismissive of the Seminoles' chances, he was confident in his staff and said he never expects his team to lose. But his postgame comments were aimed more toward UCLA.

"I'm sure UCLA is certainly sitting pretty, but I like the guys we have left to pitch," Schlossnagle said.

Kyle Winkler lasted only 2 2/3 innings against UCLA on Monday, giving up five earned runs on six hits and three walks. The performance obviously was not the norm for Winkler (12-2, 3.16 ERA), but Schlossnagle said he had chosen Winkler as the starter against the Bruins over Maxwell based on his strong Sunday start against Texas.

So Maxwell, who started the 14-1 loss in Game 2 to Texas, will try to keep TCU alive long enough to get another shot against UCLA. Against the Longhorns, Maxwell was scorched for five runs -- all unearned -- on four hits and three walks in 3 2/3 innings.

Schlossnagle gathered the Horned Frogs in right field after Monday's loss and told them he expects their pitching depth to shine through the rest of the College World Series. He also expects his team to be "totally locked in" on playing well against Florida State.

"One thing we talked about out there in right field is, the crazy thing about this tournament is you can lose two games and still win a national championship," Schlossnagle said. "You just can't lose any more between now and the championship series. We've used our mulligan. Now we have to play with our backs against the wall in the corner, and we're a much better club when we're in that scenario."

Josh Davis is an ESPNDallas.com intern and a writer for TCU's student newspaper, the Daily Skiff.

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