OMAHA, Neb. -- A common trend in the attitude of most -- if not all -- teams at the College World Series is they just want to play "insert-school-name-here" baseball.
With a larger park, bigger crowds and heavy rain staring them in the face, the consensus opinion among the national championship hopefuls is not to deviate from the initial plan.“For us, I don’t think the approach should change at all,” Virginia third baseman Joe McCarthy said. “There’s not a guy on our team that’s just, all he does is hit home runs. We have guys on this team who are great hitters -- great contact hitters and just excel at getting on base.”
Oddly enough, the impending poor weather has actually served as a source of continuity for some teams that battled the elements the entire season.
“I’m pretty sure we’ve only played two series this year that haven’t been affected by rain,” Arkansas outfielder Joe Serrano said. “So we’re well prepared for whatever happens and we’re going to try to be the best that we can.”
A few different coaches mentioned during Friday’s media day at TD Ameritrade Park that the rain can throw a monkey wrench into the planned amount of use a starting pitcher would normally get, should there be a long delay.
Saturday’s probable starters thought it best not to worry about the threatening weather enough to have it affect their approach on the mound.
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’ve done all year," Florida’s Logan Shore said. “Pitch my game -- fastball, changeup, slider -- work both sides of the plate, keep the ball down and attack them.
“It’s a big ballpark, so I’m just going to do my thing and pitch my game. See whatever happens.”
While a regular season uptick in home runs was an oft-spoken about narrative, players, fans and media members alike are anxious to see if it will carry over into a CWS that’s notoriously devoid of power.
But this season, the CWS hosts the top three names on the NCAA home run leaderboard: Miami’s David Thompson, Arkansas’ Andrew Benintendi and Florida’s JJ Schwarz.
Thompson and Benintendi are tied atop the leaderboard with 19 homers each and TD Park’s power-draining ability isn’t scaring Thompson from his usual plan at the plate.
“Same approach,” Thompson said. “I never, I mean I never go up there to -- well, sometimes I do and it doesn’t work out too well so I just try and go up there and hit the ball hard and hopefully find a hole and sometimes they go over the fence.”
It makes sense that teams and players are worked toward the status quo. After all, it is what got them to Omaha in the first place. However, too much continuity logically favors one specific team in 2015.
“There’s a target on your back and that’s just how it is,” said Dansby Swanson, the shortstop of defending national champion Vanderbilt.
“People are gunning for you, they want to have their best performance against you and every game is a dog fight.”