OMAHA, Neb. —
New facility draws rave reviews
The College World Series experience started Friday for the Virginia players, with the opening ceremonies at TD Ameritrade Park.
“I had goose bumps the entire time,” said left fielder John Barr, who also raved about the park’s cleanliness. “I don’t think there’s one part of this place that has a speck of dirt.”
The venue was designed with this week in mind, and has spacious dugouts as well as batting cage facilities underneath the stands.
One bit of home-field advantage for the Wahoos is that the dimensions stayed the same from Rosenblatt Stadium, which matches Davenport Field in Charlottesville.
This is the second CWS appearance for some of the Cavs, and they’re working to keep the team’s younger players focused.
“It’s great for us veterans to be able to talk to these new guys during their first experience and help them out on things outside the game,” second baseman Keith Werman said.
Special Father's Day for O’Connor
Virginia coach Brian O’Connor is from nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa, and shared memories of his own personal "Field of Dreams" that he had growing up.
“We used the tractor to mow a field into the grass,” he said.
A large contingent wearing T-shirts branding themselves as “O’Connor’s Army” were cheering the team Sunday.
His father, John, was Brian's Little League coach, making the Father's Day victory extra special.
“He would drop everything for us three boys,” Brian said. “No matter what it was, he’d always put his family and his boys in front of everything.”
Umps get a spotlight for the week
Part of ESPN’s College World Series broadcast is having the home plate umpire wear a microphone, which is transmitted live across the air.
During Sunday’s game, fans were treated to an interesting exchange between ump Jeff Head and U.Va.’s David Coleman, who had just been hit on the thigh while bunting.
Head ruled that Coleman hadn’t made an effort to back off the plate, yelling at Coleman as he took off for first.
“No, no, no,” Head yelled. “You stay right there.”
Coleman hit into a double play in the at-bat, but executed two successful sacrifice bunts before the game had ended.
•O'Connor brought closer Branden Kline in for the final out. He said he was weighing in his mind the need to get Kline experience in the stadium against the ability of opposing teams to scout him. Ultimately, the decision was to bring him in for one batter.
•The last time a CWS game was scoreless through six innings was in 1987.
•Cal coach David Esquer became the 14th person to coach in the CWS after playing in the event. O’Connor, who played for Creighton, also fits that category.
•Kline’s save, his 18th of the season, set a school record.
•Virginia will hold a practice this morning at Creighton. Saturday the players dropped by TD Ameritrade Park to watch a portion of the other games that were being contested.