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TCU Magazine "Riff Ram"
First Person | Baseball | Tennis | Track and Field | Rifle | Brian Estridge

Jake Arrieta has emerged as the team’s unquestioned No. 1 pitcher.

By: Mark Wright

Baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle approached this season with cautious optimism. In mid-February, he spoke of the potential impact of a trio of relatively inexperienced pitchers: Sam Demel, Brad Furnish and Jake Arrieta.

They haven’t disappointed. All three hurlers have played a pivotal role in the team’s success in the Mountain West Conference, and each can stake a claim to being arguably the team’s No. 1 pitcher.

But while the pitchers’ upsides may be comparable, it is Arrieta who has been the steady hand of the staff. In the early going, the Frogs leaned on Arrieta, a sophomore right-hander from Weatherford College, to pick up W’s as the rest of the team struggled through inconsistent play.

“We felt like he was a guy with tremendous upside,” Schlossnagle said. “We didn’t realize what a great work ethic he had and what a great person he is. He’s got tremendous physical skills, but he’s also a guy who has that special quality of always wanting to get better and having the work ethic to put the required time in.”

Arrieta entered the season with high expectations. Among his lofty goals: becoming the unquestioned ace of the staff.

“I definitely came here with the intentions of becoming the No. 1 pitcher here,” Arrieta said. “We have three or four topnotch starters, so it’s an honor to be called an ace on this staff.”

He appears well on his way to becoming just that. Armed with a repertoire that includes both power and precision (a mid-90s fastball and a breaking ball thrown consistently for strikes), Arrieta leads the team in victories and opposing batting average. He’s also among the team leaders in strikeouts and earned run average.

But what has impressed his coach and teammates most is his maturity.

“It’s not necessarily numbers. It’s how the team feels,” said junior Brent Allar, a right-handed reliever. “Whenever he’s out there on the mound everybody is saying, ‘If we score two runs, we’re going to win the ballgame.’ ”