116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Lisbon’s Austin Krob makes an impact for powerful TCU baseball team
Sophomore lefty transitions smoothly from bullpen to starting rotation for nation’s 10th-ranked team
CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s about the team goals for Austin Krob.
He wants his TCU baseball team to win the Big 12 Conference championship, wants the Horned Frogs to make it to an NCAA regional and host that regional.
He wants his guys to make it to Omaha, Neb., and the College World Series. And win the thing.
As far as individual goals, there aren’t many for the sophomore pitcher from Lisbon. Well, other than this one.
“A big goal for me is to throw a no-hitter,” Krob said, flatly.
Alrighty then. Shoot for the moon.
There is a reason Krob said that, though. He pitched two outs into the seventh inning without giving one up two weeks ago against Baylor.
In his most previous start last weekend against Oklahoma, he retired 16 batters in a row in another dominant performance that saw him give up just three hits and a run over seven innings, striking out 10.
The kid has been something for a team ranked 10th in the nation with a 21-7 record. TCU has won 10 straight as it prepares for a weekend series at Texas Tech.
“This team is really good,” Krob said. “We’ve got a lot of freshmen playing a lot of key roles right now. Having them (contribute) helps us out a lot. They’re young to the game, but they just play like they know how to. They have fun, they’re not (intimidated) by the whole Division I level. They just play and have fun, and I think that’s what makes this team really good. We’re all so relaxed now, we just kind of go out to play and have fun.”
This season has been really, really fun for Krob. The 6-foot-3 left-hander threw well out of the bullpen during last year’s abbreviated season but has elevated himself to the No. 2 starter’s role for TCU.
His pitching coach, Kirk Sarloos, a former major leaguer, told him he had to learn how to throw a changeup if he wanted to be a starter, so that’s what he worked on playing for a summer league team in San Antonio. Krob doesn’t use it much right now, but it’s another look for hitters who already have a difficult time with his fastball-slider combo.
That heater has topped out at 95 miles per hour this season.
“I knew that if I wanted to be a starter here, I had to have three pitches,” he said. “I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get by with just a fastball and a slider. My pitching coach, Kirk Sarloos, told me the changeup is one of the best pitches in the game and that he didn’t see people hitting me if I developed it. That really stuck with me, just thinking about how good I can be with a changeup if I can develop it. That was my main goal over the summer. It’s coming along.”
Krob was an all-stater at Lisbon, beginning his college career at Kirkwood in 2019. He impressed during a pro day/scout day event at the school that spring, and that got everyone’s attention.
Mississippi wanted him, as did Arizona State, Miami, Georgia and Iowa. He whittled his list down to Ole Miss, Iowa and TCU before committing.
Krob said he liked Fort Worth and the smaller campus at Texas Christian. The coaching staff, including longtime head coach Jim Schlossnagel, won him over, as did the tradition of the Horned Frogs program.
TCU has qualified for the College World Series five times in the last 10 completed seasons.
Krob gave mega props to Kirkwood Coach Todd Rima, who advised him to chase his Division I dreams even though he had another year of eligibility at Kirkwood. Krob and Rima had a sit-down meeting when Krob’s recruiting started taking off.
“He was like ‘I want the best for you, and if you want to move on to the next level, that’s all you. Because that’s my goal as a coach is to get you to the next level’,” Krob said. “I thought that was really cool that he was so accepting of me leaving and going to the Division I level.”
Krob is 4-0 in seven starts this season. He has allowed just 24 hits in 39.2 innings and has 48 strikeouts.
His earned run average is 2.27.
“It kind of took a little bit to get used to (being a starter) in the fall,” Krob said. “Then my first start up in Globe Life (Park, home of the Texas Rangers) against Arkansas, I kind of viewed that as a relief spot because I knew I wasn’t going to go long in the game. I was just going to throw 50 to 75 pitches. I was like ‘All right, I’ve just got to go in there and do my job.’
“Now that it has kind of sunk in that I am (officially) a starter, I’ve got a pretty good routine, I’ve got everything kind of narrowed down to specific things I need to do each day.”
And he’s got confidence. You bet he does.
“Yeah, I’d say it’s through the roof,” Krob said. “Sometimes I don’t feel confident, but I’ve just got to show that I am because that gives the hitters a bad look. They kind of look at you like ‘Oh, he looks confident, he looks ready today.’ Even though I may not be that day, or I feel a little sore, I know I’ve just got to go out there with the best body language, the best mindset possible.”