The Road to Omaha: Day 3
OMAHA, Neb. — It’s a sunny start our day here, but there is a threat of severe weather for later this afternoon and evening here in the state’s largest city.
Ole Miss fans headed up to the College World Series should be aware that there is a 70 percent chance for thunderstorms, some being severe. Here is a link to help out http://www.weather.com/weather/today/Omaha+NE+USNE0363
The Rebels will be practicing at Millard West High School this afternoon. I’ll be there to get some interviews, and video. The first game of the CWS begins today at 2. It’s Texas and UC Irvine. Tonight’s game is Louisville against Vanderbilt.
The Cardinals, the only return team from the 2013 CWS field, is coached by former Ole Miss assistant coach Dan McDonnell. He told me Friday that he would be cheering on the Rebels Sunday night. Hopefully Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco and his family can catch a few innings of the Cardinals’ game tonight.
The Omaha World-Herald did a great, huge section (24 pages to be exact) on the CWS. Here is a picture of the cover.
It’s about when there were true dynasties in college baseball, no longer the case. USC, Arizona State are just two of the schools that were in the photo illustration.
Ole Miss returned to the practice field, one last time, Saturday afternoon at Millard West High School, which is located about 12, 13 miles west of downtown. Chris Ellis, who will start the opener Sunday, talked about bouncing back from last week’s super regional performance.
He felt like he made the necessary corrections during his bullpen the other day and didn’t think he would have the same kind of issues when he gets set to throw against the Cavaliers.
Sikes Orvis, the Rebels’ top home run threat, talked about living with catcher Will Allen, a fan favorite of the older women, as well as his thoughts on the opening ceremonies.
“I’ve always heard how awesome the College World Series was. I played summer ball with a couple of guys who have made it up here and the main thing they talk about is the opening ceremony and how awesome it is,” Orvis said. “You get to go out on the field. There are fireworks, all that. It’s something special, something I will remember the rest of my life.”
Ellis, like a lot of the other pitchers who have been interviewed by the media, thought the big park played to his advantage, and to the speed of the Ole Miss outfielders.
“I think we have one of the best defenses out there and certainly one of the fastest outfields. I feel like just about every other inning, Braxton (Lee) is out there making a diving catch. It will certainly be nice to have those guys out there helping me out,” Ellis said.
Orvis said that even though the park is bigger — the dimensions are 5 feet longer down the lines than Oxford-University Stadium and 18 feet deeper in center — the approach doesn’t change at the plate.
“I’m still going to try and drive some out. It doesn’t matter how big the field is, but I’m really stubborn when it comes to hitting,” Orvis said. “We’re going to stay within ourselves, play our ballgame, hit some balls in the gap, get the guys running. It looked like (Friday) that the only shot you have to hitting it out is in the bullpen, and that’s the same as it is back home.”
Here are couple of videos from practice. Center fielder Auston Bousfield and Mike Bianco both talked with us at Millard High.