Beavers Get First Taste Of CWS Atmosphere

June 17, 2005

OMAHA, Neb. - Oregon State got its first taste Thursday of the atmosphere that has come to surround the College World Series, and it made a definite impression on the Beavers.

'It's a dream - it's a dream come true,' Oregon State catcher Casey Priseman said after the Opening Ceremonies at Rosenblatt Stadium. 'I mean, look where we are right now. You can't really say much about it, you've got to experience it.'

The No. 2 Beavers (46-10 overall) meet No. 1 Tulane (56-10) on Saturday at 11 a.m. PDT in a first-round game in Bracket Two. OSU will send either sophomore righthander Dallas Buck or sophomore righthander Jonah Nickerson to the mound against the Green Wave.

The game can be seen on ESPN and heard on KEJO-AM (1240) in Corvallis and the mid-Willamette Valley, KUIK-AM (1360) in the Portland area, KKNX-AM (840) in Eugene, KMED-AM (1440) in Medford, KTIX-AM (1240) in Pendleton, KICE-AM (940) in Bend, KNPT-AM (1310) in Newport, KOHU-AM (1360) in Hermiston and KODL-AM (1400) in The Dalles.

Oregon State was scheduled to practice early Friday afternoon at Creighton University, then attend the game between Pacific-10 compatriot Arizona State and home-state favorite Nebraska in the evening.

On Thursday, the Beavers took about an hour's worth of batting practice at Rosenblatt Stadium, then partook in a barbecue for all eight teams, an autograph session and the Opening Ceremonies in front of approximately 10,000-15,000 fans.

'This is awesome,' OSU outfielder/first baseman Cole Gillespie said. 'This whole atmosphere is crazy. I've watched this on TV for years, and to be a part of this now is amazing.

'To see this many people here for the opening ceremonies is crazy. During the games, it's going to be even more crazy.'

ESPN's Dave Ryan announced the eight teams - Oregon State, Arizona State, Baylor, Florida, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas and Tulane - to mark the official start of the 59th annual College World Series.

The teams marched onto the field, one-by-one, to a foray of fireworks, music, highlights on the stadium's video board, and of course, tons of applause by thousands of collegiate baseball fans.

The United States Navy `Leap Frogs' capped off the welcome as they parachuted into the stadium and delivered team flags to each of the eight schools, giving Oregon State's to Beaver co-captain Andy Jenkins.

Jack Diesling, Jr., the president of the College World Series of Omaha, and Omaha's Mayor Mike Fahey each welcomed the teams and fans with some inspiring comments.

Before the ceremonies concluded, the 'student' in student-athlete was honored as the NCAA Awards for Academic Excellence were presented to the player with the highest grade point average on each of the eight squads. That included OSU sophomore catcher Mitch Canham (3.54 GPA).

The opening celebration closed with a spectacular fireworks finale.

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