Second Trip To Omaha Sweeter For Gerrish
June 18, 2010
OMAHA, Neb. -- When the third-ranked TCU Horned Frogs take the field in Omaha for the first time in school history Saturday at 1 p.m. versus Florida State, there will be a roster comprised of many newcomers to college baseball's most sacred city.
While none of the players have ever had the opportunity to play in the College World Series, there will be one who can provide valuable insight on how to handle the atmosphere of playing on collegiate baseball's highest stage.
Righthander Paul Gerrish, one of the Frogs' five seniors and a 42nd-round pick of the Houston Astros this year, traveled to Omaha last season as a fan, absorbing a feeling that he wished to witness alongside his teammates before the end of his college career.
"Obviously, it's a way better feeling to be here as a player than as a fan," said Gerrish. "Last year, I got to experience the fan's side of things, like the food and the whole atmosphere, and it will be awesome to get on the field this year."
The annual two-week span in which the city of Omaha hosts the College World Series is arguably the city's favorite time of year, and has taken part at Rosenblatt Stadium since 1950. The stadium seats roughly 23,000, but Gerrish is certain that his team will not succumb to stage fright.
"I think that Omaha is something we've been preparing for all year," said Gerrish. "I don't think it's going to be anything too different from what we've been playing in as far as the size of the park. There will just be a lot more people."
For all seniors or underclassmen departing for professional baseball after this week, it will be an abrupt transition from the final moments of their college careers to the rigors of professional baseball.
"I probably won't have a lot of time between (end of CWS and reporting time to minor leagues)," said Gerrish. "I may come back to Fort Worth for a few days to get packed up and heading out to wherever they send me for minor league ball."
Gerrish's career has been very beneficial to the Frogs' success, as one of the mainstays in either the starting rotation or bullpen since 2008, after a transfer from Division II Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. His biggest contribution to date was his masterpiece against Texas in 2009, allowing two runs in seven innings for TCU's first Super Regional win in school history.
"The best thing he's given us is his experience," says TCU pitching coach Randy Mazey. "The young guys that are pitching in this atmosphere for the first time can ask him questions and bounce things off him to see how to handle it."
By David Cohen, GoFrogs.com
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