CWS official says attendance dip is not a concern _lowres

Associated Press photo by NATI HAMIK Vanderbilt third baseman Tyler Campbell, rear, collides with Virginia's Mike Papi as he tags out Papi in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the best-of-three College World Series finals on Tueday in Omaha, Neb.

OMAHA, Neb. — The head of the local organizing group for the College World Series said there is no concern about the drop in attendance this year.

Entering Game 3 of the CWS finals on Wednesday, the average crowd was 21,959 at TD Ameritrade Park. That was down from last year’s record of 24,392.

“Actually, we think it’s quite an accomplishment to average 22,000 people watching college baseball where there is no home team,” CWS Inc. President Jack Diesing Jr. said Wednesday.

Diesing said last year’s attendance was an “anomaly.” LSU and Mississippi State were among the eight teams in 2013, and each school brought along strong fan followings. Mississippi State had an estimated 5,000 fans migrate to Omaha just for the finals, Diesing said.

CWS crowds have averaged more than 20,000 every year since 1996. The event has been played in Omaha every year since 1950.

Rough stuff

Virginia’s Mike Papi wasn’t about to apologize for putting his shoulder into Vanderbilt third baseman Tyler Campbell at the end of a rundown between third base and home in the ninth inning Monday. Campbell hit the ground and cut his mouth on the play. It was just hard-nosed baseball, Papi said.

“It was a dead-on-arrival play, so when the ball went back to the pitcher, I was in a rundown,” Papi said. “My job was to get the batter to second base, and I was going hard and (Campbell) was in the base line when I was going back to the bag.”

Vanderbilt fans chanted “Throw him out” as Papi jogged back to the Virginia dugout. Commodores coach Tim Corbin said it could be argued that it was an overaggressive play on Papi’s part, but he deferred to the umpires’ judgment.

It’s about offense

Virginia was batting .354 (28 for 79) in the first two games of the finals, and the Cavaliers’ .286 team average in five CWS games is by far the best of the teams that made it to Omaha.

Vanderbilt was batting .177 in the finals and .233 for the CWS. The Commodores’ Nos. 3, 4 and 5 batters — Vince Conde, Zander Wiel and John Norwood — went into Game 3 a combined 2 for 21 in the finals.