Road To Omaha -- Day 1

June 15, 2005

Departure -- The 35-man travel party departed Packard Stadium for Sky Harbor Airport at 6:45 a.m. The team was escorted through security and boarded a chartered Southwest Airlines flight direct to Omaha. After boarding the plane, the pilot started calling the players by their nicknames after staying up most of the night reading their bios on the internet. The players and staff surely enjoyed the comforts of a plane all to themselves and getting a row of their own. It sure is a difference than flying commercial.

Quick Turnaround -- The Sun Devils boarded a plane and left for Omaha roughly 48 hours after returning from Fullerton, Calif., after winning the Super Regional. The team had a brief meeting with Coach Murphy Monday night and enjoyed an afternoon practice on Tuesday. Several of the team members also visited with the media on Tuesday and participated in a conference call with national and Nebraska media.

Throwbacks -- In the equipment room at Packard Stadium there are several jersey's from over the years, and Tuesday the current team got to sport the look of several Sun Devils of the past. Due to the current game and practice uniforms getting College World Series passes, each player wore an old school jersey. Senior 1B/OF Jeff Larish wore a vintage Barry Bonds jersey (#24) from the 1984 season and Colin Curtis was wearing an old Chris Bando jersey. Sophomore reliever Pat Bresnehan showed off his muscles with a sleeveless jersey, but did not show that he has been spending much time in the Arizona sun.

A Visit From Schilling -- The Sun Devils had a special visitor to practice on Tuesday. Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, a valley native (Shadow Mountain High School), stopped out at practice and talked to the team. Schilling is currently in the Valley rehabbing is ankle.

Police Escort -- Upon their arrival in Omaha, the Sun Devils boarded a bus (complete with a nameplate on the side saying Arizona State) and received a police escort to the hotel (Park Regency Lodge).

Practice -- The Sun Devils ran through a brief practice (infield/outfield, team offense) at Millard West High School. They then took batting practice and the pitcher's threw off a mound at an indoor batting facility called, 'The Strikezone.' Erik Averill, Colin Curtis and Jeff Larish were interviewed by Omaha TV stations.