Louisville and Indiana will begin play in the College World Series Saturday at 8 p.m.
OMAHA, Neb. (WDRB) -- The Louisiana State baseball banner hangs outside the park at the College World Series here, the way it usually does. But this year, at TD Ameritrade Park, the LSU flag is surrounded by two fresh pennants -- one for the University of Louisville, the other for Indiana University.
The Hoosiers and Cardinals play their opening game Saturday at 8 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN. Here are five opening pitches to get you warmed up:
1. Louisville will be without relief pitcher Joe Filomeno, and second baseman Nick Ratajczak is unlikely to start.
Filomeno reinjured his left elbow against Vanderbilt last Sunday. U of L coach Dan McDonnell said Filomeno will not pitch against IU but might be available for the Cards' second game Monday.
Ratajczak, who is dealing with a separated shoulder, said he plans to play during the World Series.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Ratajczak said. "I took a slow week all week at practice, just hanging out, resting, icing. I've been taking balls in the field during BP, just keeping the glove alive. I'm trying to heal as soon as possible.
"The goal is to play. That's the plan. It will probably be a game-time decision. Obviously we're planning on me playing at some time during this tournament."
2. Here's the Cards' motivational phrase for Omaha: Hunt For Crumbs.
"Look for that little opportunity and then take advantage of it," U of L shortstop Sutton Whiting said.
Worry more about bunts and walks than home runs. Make the routine play. Take the extra base. Don't give up the extra base. Small ball is big. Take it pitch by pitch, at bat by at bat, inning by inning, game by game."
3. Indiana athletic director Fred Glass and coach Tracy Smith did the Omaha thing after they arrived Thursday. They had a steak dinner at Gorat's. That's the preferred dining spot for Warren Buffett, Omaha's most famous citizen and the America's most successful investor.
Glass and Smith introduced themselves. Buffett welcomed them to town and said the Hoosiers were his pick to win the College World Series.
"Warren does a pretty good job of picking things so that sounded good to me," Glass said. Glass said Buffett also complimented IU's Kelley School of business.
4. This is year three for the tournament at TD Ameritrade Park. The party was moved to the sparkling downtown venue from Rosenblatt Stadium after a long and productive run there.
Traditionalists groaned. History was wiped from the lineup. But the new park is as gorgeous as you would expect a $131 million facility to be. It seats about 24,000 in blue chair back sets. There's a massive jumbotron in right field. The wraparound upper-deck concourse is reminiscent of Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.
"It's beautiful," said Chad Green, who will start the opener for the Cards.
"It was awesome coming out of the field," Whiting said. "Just seeing the jumbotron, seeing how beautiful the playing surface is. It's kind of a 'Wow,' moment. When you show up and see all the teams here it's awesome."
5. Green said he does not have any extraordinary routines or superstitions before he pitches. He primarily rests and tries to relax. He said he watches video of opposing hitters the day before the game, but not on game day. Green said nerves will not be a problem.
"I should be fine," Green said. "I'm just going to do my normal stuff and go out there and pitch. I'm just going to relax and get a good mind set."
Green allowed seven hits and two runs when he worked four innings against the Hoosiers on Feb. 15 in Clearwater, Fla., when IU defeated Louisville 2-0 in the season opener for both teams.
Indiana starter Joey DeNato also started that game. He worked four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk.