Brown embraces homecoming opportunity with the Chanclas

TCU outfielder Porter Brown hopes to show off his versatility this summer with the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio. — Photo by Gregg Ellman, TCU athletics

Porter Brown attends Texas Christian University as an undergraduate student in neuroscience. He is a young man with high hopes of one day becoming a doctor, possibly an orthopedic surgeon.

In addition, Brown also plays baseball, a sport in which he may already have earned enough credits to enter the school of hard luck.

It’s true. After sparking San Antonio Reagan to two straight UIL state tournaments, Brown’s career on the diamond has been stalled the past few years by misfortune.

In 2019, he emerged in his first season as a collegian to snag a spot in the starting lineup at TCU, one of the top programs in the nation.

But after hitting .278 and stealing seven bases in eight attempts, the speedster went down with a shoulder injury that knocked him out for the year.

Just as Brown got healthy, adversity emerged again, like a bad hop on a bumpy infield.

The Horned Frogs were off to a fast start in March when the coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting down operations at TCU’s Lupton Stadium, along with just about every aspect of sports and life in America.

Trying his best to shrug it all off, Brown stayed calm, focusing in the ensuing months on what he could control.

Now he’s set to resume his career this summer with the Flying Chanclas de San Antonio in the Texas Collegiate League.

“Growing up in San Antonio, I’ve always watched the Missions and the Flying Chanclas,” Brown said. “When my coach (at TCU) called and told me I had an opportunity to play in my city, in my hometown, I was grateful and excited. I’m excited for baseball to start up in the summer league.”

Brown is scheduled to report to the Chanclas, based at Wolff Stadium, on Tuesday.

The season opener is set for June 30 in Amarillo, and then he and his teammates will open in front of the home fans on July 3 against Acadiana, a ball club based in Lafayette, La.

Even though Brown brings only modest credentials from his star-crossed TCU career to the TCL, he may immediately emerge as a player to watch, especially when fans witness his speed.

For fans who have never seen him accelerate from first to second base on a steal attempt, they can ask Reagan coach Chans Chapman for verification of his ability.

“I think the thing that jumps out at you is the way he runs,” Chapman said. “I mean, he’s one of the fastest guys, as far as baseball speed, that I’ve ever been around. Like I said, he’s a very dynamic player. I mean, he can hit. He runs the bases well. He’s good defensively.

“You know, he can change the game. He can affect the game in so many ways.”

Ever since he donned a uniform and suited up at McAllister Park Little League as a 10-year-old, Brown has played with joy and enthusiasm.

He’s played for his teammates. But this summer, the season is also about opportunity.

A year from now, he’ll be eligible for the Major League Baseball draft. And because he’s only played a combined 29 games at TCU during the past two springs, Brown knows he needs to turn it on.

He is a strong student academically at TCU, one who might one day wield a surgeon’s knife. But Brown also wants to find out whether he is good enough to swing a bat in the pros.

Asked about his big-picture dream in baseball, Brown paused and answered carefully.

“Right now, my dreams are smaller,” he said. “One pitch at a time. One game at a time. One summer league at a time, is really what matters. Once I get to the future, I’ll worry about that then.”

Brown was a dynamo at Reagan, batting .360 and .385 in his last two seasons, respectively. Over those two years, he smacked 18 doubles and stole 55 bases, including 29 steals in 31 attempts as a senior.

In the past few weeks, Chapman has watched Brown take batting practice at Reagan. As Brown battered balls to the fence and beyond, the coach marveled at the way his former player has changed physically since 2018.

“You could tell that getting bigger and stronger has helped him, just the way the ball comes off the bat now,” the coach said. “That’s not to say it didn’t … when he was in high school, but (after) two years in a college weightlifting program, it does come off different.”

At TCU, fans have yet to see Brown’s full potential. He played only 16 games in 2019 when he hurt his shoulder.

This year, he was batting .189 in 13 of TCU’s 15 games when it all came to a stop, with the COVID-19 threat eventually ending the season.

Regardless, Brown remains as a prospect. He was scheduled to play in the highly-regarded Cape Cod summer league before it, too, was canceled.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle said it’s evident that his outfielder’s progress has been slowed by the circumstances.

“Porter is an outstanding young man with an incredible amount of potential both on the field and off,” Schlossnagle said. “When he is at his best and healthy, he is a dynamic offensive player and a very capable defender in the outfield.

“He has had to overcome some injury and, like the rest of our players, the COVID pandemic has stunted his development. (But) he is a supreme worker, incredibly intelligent and very self aware.”

Brown also is grateful, happy to have the chance to play at home this summer.

“I am happy to be back,” he said.

Flying Chanclas roster

Pitchers

Jaime Ramirez Jr., RH, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Johnny Panatex, RH, St. Mary’s
Connor Schmidt, RH, St. Mary’s
Marcelo Perez, RH, TCU
Austin Krob, LH, Mississippi State
Kobe Jaramillo, RH, UTSA

The Flying Chanclas of the Texas Collegiate League are scheduled to play their home opener on July 3. All home games are set for Wolff Stadium. — Photo by Jerry Briggs

Catchers

Tyler LaRue, Rice, Grayson College
Nick Wolff, UTSA.

Outfielders

Kyte McDonald, Mississippi State
Jordan Thompson, Grayson College, committed to Texas A&M
Porter Brown, TCU

Infielders

Johnny Hernandez, St. Mary’s
Grant Smith, Incarnate Word
Ryan Flores, Incarnate Word
Lee Thomas, Incarnate Word
Conner Shepherd, TCU
Leyton Barry, UTSA
Garrett Poston, UTSA

From San Antonio-area high schools

OF Porter Brown, Reagan; OF Kyte McDonald, Antonian; OF Jordan Thompson, Boerne Champion; P Jaime Ramirez, Jr., Holy Cross; C Tyler LaRue, Blanco; P Connor Schmidt, Devine.

Jaylen Fisher-led TCU rallies past SMU, 67-59

Guard Jaylen Fisher hit five 3-point shots, and the TCU Horned Frogs rallied for a 67-59 road victory Wednesday night against SMU, a longtime rival in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Both Fisher and JD Miller scored 15 points apiece, and Kouat Noi had 12, to lead the Horned Frogs.

SMU controlled the game early, pushing out to a 10-point lead midway throuogh the first half.

The Mustangs led by six at halftime, but the Horned Frogs stormed from behind with Fisher and Miller leading the way.

Fisher hit four of his five threes after intermission. SMU, meanwhile, shot 24 percent from the field in the second half.

“As a coach, you never fault that unless guys were just playing selfish, which I don’t think we did at all. We had some really good shots that didn’t go in,” SMU coach Tim Jankovich told the Associated Press.

Senior guard Jahmal McMurray led the Mustangs with 19 points.

Records

TCU 6-1
SMU 6-4

Notable

Both Fisher and Noi have played four games since returning from knee injuries. Fisher had been out since last January.

Quotable

“I liked how we did it, because we gutted it out, grinded it out. We didn’t make shots early, and got it done with our defense. Just got it done by finding a way,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon told the AP.

Texas moves up to No. 17 in AP Top 25; Texas Tech is 20th

The Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech Red Raiders have moved into the Associated Press Top 25 in college basketball for the first time this season, according to the poll released Monday.

Texas (5-1) is ranked 17th after knocking off North Carolina by three points last week in Las Vegas. The Longhorns let a 19-point lead slip away the following day in falling to Michigan State.

Texas Tech (6-0) climbed into the No. 20 position following double-digit victories in Kansas City over Southern Cal and Nebraska. The Red Raiders followed on Saturday night by routing Northern Colorado, 93-63, in Lubbock.

The TCU Horned Frogs had been ranked in the first three polls of the new season but fell into the ‘others receiving votes’ category following a 73-64 loss to Lipscomb, (Tenn.) of the Atlantic Sun Conference.

AP Top 25
Week 4
1. Gonzaga 6-0 West Coast
2. Kansas 5-0 Big 12
3. Duke 5-1 ACC
4. Virginia 6-0 ACC
5. Nevada 6-0 Mountain West
6. Tennessee 4-1 ACC
7. Michigan 6-0 Big Ten
8. Auburn 5-1 SEC
9. Michigan State 5-1 Big Ten
10. Kentucky 5-1 SEC
11. North Carolina 6-1 ACC
12. Kansas State 6-0 Big 12
13. Virginia Tech ACC 5-0
14. Iowa 5-0 Big Ten
15. Florida State 5-1 ACC
16. Ohio State 6-0 Big Ten
17. Texas 5-1 Big 12
18. Oregon 4-1 Pac 12
19. Purdue 5-1 Big Ten
20. Texas Tech 6-0 Big 12
21. Buffalo 5-0 Mid-American
22. Wisconsin 5-1 Big Ten
23. Villanova 5-2 Big East
24. Maryland 6-0 Big Ten
25. Mississippi State 4-1 SEC

Forward Rui Hachimura and Gonzaga leaped from third to No. 1 in the rankings after winning the Maui Invitational.

The Bulldogs capped the tournament with an 89-87 victory over previously top-ranked and undefeated Duke. In the new poll, Kansas of the Big 12 remained in second, while Duke tumbled to third.

No. 21 TCU rallies past Fresno State to remain undefeated

The 21st-ranked TCU Horned Frogs on Thursday night rallied from a two-point halftime deficit at home to remain undefeated with a 77-69 victory over the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Junior guard Desmond Bane led the Frogs with 23 points and 7 rebounds.

Senior guard Alex Robinson added 14 assists and 13 points to facilitate an offense that finished with 51.7 percent shooting.

Bane’s drive to the basket for a layup and a three-point play helped TCU (3-0) pull away from Fresno (1-1) in the last two minutes.

TCU opened the season with a come-from-behind, 66-61 victory at home over Cal State Bakersfield.

The Frogs outscored the Roadrunners 38-24 in the second half after trailing by nine at intermission.

In Game 2, TCU played at a much higher level, shooting 50 percent from the field and rolling past Oral Roberts, 79-62.

Guard Braxton Huggins scored 18 points to lead Fresno State, a program with 66 wins in the past three seasons.

Bulldogs guard Deshon Taylor, a first-team, all-Mountain West Conference player, was held to 13 points on 4 of 13 shooting.

Dixon’s extension

After reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time in 20 years last spring, TCU handed coach Jamie Dixon a two-year extension on his contract that runs through 2023-24.

In Dixon’s first year at TCU, the Frogs finished 24-15 and won the NIT. Last season, they posted a 21-12 record and lost in the NCAA round of 64 to Syracuse.

Hutson takes over at Fresno

Justin Hutson is in his first year as head coach at Fresno, replacing Rodney Terry, who left to take the head coaching job at uTEP.

Hutson helped lure Kawhi Leonard to San Diego State. Hutson worked as an assistant with the Aztecs from 2006-11 and from 2013-18.

Leonard played at San Diego State for two seasons from 2009-11 before entering the NBA Draft, where he became a star with the Spurs.

The Spurs traded Leonard to Toronto last summer.

Texas Tech set for tests this week at Arkansas, TCU

Is Texas Tech really this good?

We’ll know more this week when the fourth-ranked Red Raiders play two on the road at No. 8 Arkansas.

The games between former rivals in the Southwest Conference are set for Tuesday and Wednesday in Fayetteville.

After that, Tech travels for a Big 12 series at TCU from Friday through Sunday.

The Red Raiders on Monday moved up one spot in the national rankings, according to Baseball America.

They did it after a 3-1 week overall, and a 2-1 series win over Oklahoma in the Big 12.

Sophomore third baseman Josh Jung from San Antonio (MacArthur HS) enjoyed a magical week for the Red Raiders, hitting .588 with three home runs and 13 RBIs.

He produced 10 hits, including seven that went for extra bases.

Last Tuesday, he became the sixth player in school history to hit for the cycle at New Mexico.

Last Friday, he scored the winning run against Oklahoma on a balk.

On third base, Jung faked a steal of home and caused an OU pitcher to make the mistake that moved runners up, giving Tech the victory.

Here’s the rest of this week’s Top 25, according to the magazine’s website:

1. Florida 34-8 SEC
2. North Carolina State 31-8 ACC
3. Stanford 30-5 Pac-12
4. Texas Tech 32-9 Big 12
5. Mississippi 32-9 SEC
6. Oregon State 29-6 Pac-12
7. East Carolina 30-9 American
8. Arkansas 28-13 SEC
9. UCLA 25-10 Pac-12
10. North Carolina 27-13 ACC
11. Vanderbilt 24-16 SEC
12. Duke 31-10 ACC
13. Kentucky 26-14 SEC
14. Clemson 29-11 ACC
15. Southern Miss 28-11 Conference USA
16. Coastal Carolina 28-14 Sun Belt
17. Florida State 29-12 ACC
18. Indiana 29-8 Big Ten
19. Texas 28-15 Big 12
20. South Florida 26-14 American
21. Tennessee Tech 34-5 Ohio Valley
22. Oklahoma 27-15 Big 12
23. Minnesota 25-11 Big Ten
24. Georgia 27-13 SEC
25. Jacksonville, Fla. 28-13 Atlantic Sun

TCU loses slugger Luken Baker for the season

The TCU Horned Frogs’ hopes of making a fifth straight trip to the College World Series took a serious blow Wednesday when it was learned that home-run leader Luken Baker has been lost for the season with a broken leg.

TCU defeated UT-Arlington 11-7 on the road Wednesday night. But the Horned Frogs are destined to miss the talents of Baker, a 6-foot-4, 265-pound slugger out of Spring.

Baker, a junior, suffered the injury Tuesday night in Fort Worth during the Frogs’ 4-2, 11-inning loss to Abilene Christian.

Reports indicated that he got his spikes caught in the dirt while running from first to second base.

Through 31 games, he was hitting .319 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs.

With the win over UT Arlington, TCU improved to 19-14. The Frogs are 6-5 in the Big 12 leading into a weekend series in Waco against Baylor.

TCU edges Nevada, extends winning streak to 15 games

The 20th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs remained undefeated with an 84-80 victory over No. 22 Nevada on Friday night in Los Angeles.

The Frogs (10-0) have won 15 games in a row dating to last season’s run to the NIT championship.

The 15-game streak is the longest in the nation.