'Hoos Arrive in Omaha, Get Right to Work

The television cameras swarmed to Virginia baseball coach Brian O'Connor as soon as he stepped off the bus Thursday afternoon.

O'Connor -- an Omaha native who as a player, helped hometown Creighton reach the College World Series in 1991 -- had once again returned to lead the Cavaliers onto college baseball's biggest stage.

"It's always great to be back here," O'Connor told reporters. "Omaha, Nebraska. The College World Series. That's when these players are young, they come to college baseball and they dream of playing in Omaha someday. And today we're here, and we're glad to be here and competing for the national championship."

This marks the UVa program's third trip to Omaha -- all in the last six years, and all with O'Connor at the helm. The Wahoos arrived Thursday morning, and were on the practice field that afternoon.

Just as in 2011 -- the last time UVa reached the College World Series -- the Cavaliers practiced at Bellevue East High School, a short drive outside of Omaha. They were greeted at the school by a small crowd of young autograph seekers, including members of the Roseville Raiders, a team of 10-year-olds from Minnesota in town for a tournament of their own this week.

"The guys were so great with our guys here. Signing autographs, shaking hands, giving high five's. It was great times," said Phil Dahlof, one of the coaches for the Raiders. "What an opportunity, to be down here and see these Cavaliers getting ready for the College World Series."

Play begins at TD Ameritrade Park on Saturday, though UVa's first CWS game isn't until 8 p.m. Sunday night against Ole Miss. The Cavaliers will practice at Bellevue East again on Saturday.

And just as he was last week heading into his team's super regional series with Maryland, O'Connor is a fan of having an extra day of preparation.

"It does allow you to get in here to Omaha and get your feet on the ground a little bit," he said. "We just arrived this morning. Our players will get an opportunity to watch a ballgame in the ballpark on Saturday night, before having to play in it. So I'm glad that we're not playing until Sunday this year."

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