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Phillip Sikes had an opportunity to pursue a professional baseball career two years ago. The Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him in the 33rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft out of Pima Community College in Arizona.

But Sikes also had an opportunity to join TCU’s baseball program. He chose the latter.

“I’m from Paris, Texas,” Sikes said. “TCU was the powerhouse growing up. They were going to the College World Series every year. I wanted to play for TCU, man. When I got that opportunity out of junior college, I prayed about it and thank God I made the right decision in coming here.”

The decision is paying off.

Sikes, a junior, is arguably the Horned Frogs’ hottest hitter going right now. He has four home runs in the last four games, including a three-run opposite field shot to help TCU to an 8-3 victory at UT Arlington on Tuesday night.

Sikes finished 2 for 3 on Tuesday and has multiple hits in six of the last nine games. He earned Big 12 newcomer of the week honors last week as he was 7 of 13 with three home runs in the weekend series against Kansas.

“I feel really comfortable and super mellow-minded at the plate,” Sikes said. “I’m not thinking about too much. I’m trying to take the ball to the other side of the field and reacting to the pitch. I know they’re going to have to throw me a pitch at some point because of the guys in front of me and behind me in the lineup. I’m feeling really good in the box right now.”

Sikes exemplifies just how deep and potent TCU’s lineup is these days. He’s batting seventh with a .374 average, eight home runs and 47 RBIs in 38 games. Those numbers are drastically improved from last year’s COVID-shortened season in which Sikes batted just .167 with no home runs and five RBIs in 15 games.

As coach Jim Schlossnagle said, “We always expect a lot out of junior college players in that first year, but it’s an adjustment for them too. A lot of times when you get a good athlete like Phil, even though he was only a part of 15 games last year, the second year for a junior college player is like the sophomore year for a kid coming out of high school.

“They’re more comfortable. They have more success.”

For Sikes, he’s found his comfort zone at TCU. He’s making an impact with his bat and is an elite defender whether playing center field or right field for the Frogs. Oh, and Sikes has the ability to pitch too.

Sikes made 10 pitching appearances during his lone season at Pima. He started his college career at New Mexico in 2018, pitching four times for the Lobos. At Paris High School, Sikes had a 0.83 ERA over 13 appearances his senior season.

“It’s definitely in there,” Sikes said, smiling about his pitching ability. “Schloss knows that. If we’re up 15 to whatever against a team and we don’t want to use any arms, he knows I’m the guy to go to.”

At this point, of course, Sikes’ pitching days are over. He knew it was time to make a decision and he chose the right route. He’s an everyday position player for the No. 5-ranked team in the country.

“I don’t know where we’d be without him,” Schlossnagle said. “To have a player like that hitting seventh in the lineup, that’s what allows you to score a lot of runs.”

TCU (30-10, 12-3 Big 12) travels to West Virginia (15-18, 6-9) this weekend for a three-game series in Morgantown. TCU is then back home to face Incarnate Word on Tuesday night at Lupton Stadium.

No. 800

Tuesday night’s victory over UTA at Clay Gould Ballpark was a milestone victory for Schlossnagle. It was his 800th career victory with 723 of those wins coming at TCU.

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