Drama in Creighton win over Nebraska…
Since the first game at TD Ameritrade Park came on the blustery thirtysomething-degree opening night of April 19, folks have been saying Omaha’s new home of the NCAA College World Series needs a little action to break it in and make it a ballpark.
Tuesday night’s nationally televised non-conference game between in-state rivals Creighton (Omaha) and Nebraska (Lincoln) may have been just the drama-filled game “The Trade”, as some locals have begun calling it, needed to seed its story bank.
The action unfolded promptly as Creighton jumped out to a 4-0 first inning lead, thanks in part to Husker pitcher Matt Freeman leading three of the first four batters to base with a single and two bean balls.
After a short meeting on the mound, Freeman headed to the bench with numbness in his right elbow and was promptly relieved by Dylan Vogt.
ESPNU announcers Jon Sciambi and Kyle Peterson superbly bridged the history of Omaha’s legendary Rosenblatt Stadium to TD Ameritrade Park. Calling out similarities and contrasts, Peterson (an Omaha native and former MLB pitcher) reflected on his memories of the young ball shagger named Chopper (Rosales) who used to entertain fans at Rosenblatt.
“He would run out and try to make the play,” Peterson recalled. “If he made it, the place went nuts!”
Not to be ignored by the fans tweeting live from the game was the sultry air at game time. Having reached record highs in the mid-90s for two consecutive days, many said Tuesday’s game felt like what fans can expect when the College World Series rolls into Omaha in mid-June.
The Bluejays expanded their lead to 9-0 in the third inning before Nebraska took a stand and responded with a little drama of their own. The Huskers, who were assigned the home team dugout by decision of a coin toss, began to close the gap with a run each in the third, fourth and fifth innings. A five-run rally in the sixth inning edged the Huskers to within one run of a tie. Creighton toughened up and clung to their 9-8 lead, improving their record to 33-12 (first in the Missouri Valley Conference) and sending Nebraska home with 28-21 record (last in the Big 12).
“I liked the new stadium a lot more than I wanted to,” admitted Omaha radio personality Tom Becka. “I have fond memories of Rosenblatt, but I think as soon as people watch an inning or two the fans will soon have fond feelings for TD Ameritrade. As far as traffic and parking if people plan ahead or use the shuttles, it shouldn’t be an issue.”
Omaha’s newspaper reported on Wednesday that traffic flowed smoothly into and out of the downtown area on a night when a combined 30,000 were in attendance at TD Ameritrade Park and the neighboring Qwest Center which was hosting Bob Seger in concert.
Attendance for the weeknight game topped 17,000, reportedly the third largest in Division I for the 2011 season to date.