The eight MVC teams started practice at TD Ameritrade Park at 8 a.m. For the four teams in WSU’s bracket (Bracket A), it is their first visit to the new home of the College World Series. The four teams in Bracket B (with top seed Creighton) all played here during the regular season.
As expected, the ballpark looks great. Evansville’s Cody Ficked called it one deck short of a big-league stadium, which is an accurate description. The field looks perfect. The stadium should provide a great atmosphere for the CWS. It’s big enough for a great crowd, yet intimate. If the weather is good and Creighton is playing, I expect crowds of 10,000-plus for those games. The view out to center field captures the Qwest Center, downtown and east to Iowa.
The teams will enjoy spacious dugouts. Behind each is a swing room, a small area with a net for pinch-hitters to warm up, and a batting cage. Pinch-hitters and pinch-runners have plenty of space to get loose during a game.
Many of the teams (although not WSU) are staying within walking distance of the park.
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WSU plays Evansville on Tuesday, and the Aces haven’t set their rotation yet. Fick (7-3, 2.38 ERA) did not pitch in Evansville’s season-ending series and may get the call against the Shockers. He is Evansville’s best arm, yet normally throws on Sunday because he also plays third base. WSU beat Fick 9-2 during the regular season. He went seven innings, allowing eight hits and four earned runs. He walked five and struck out five.
WSU will stick with its rotation of Charlie Lowell, Brian Flynn and Josh Smith.
WSU bused to Omaha on Sunday and practiced at Creighton that afternoon. Its practice time is 3:30 today.