OMAHA—The College World Series is the biggest stage for the players on the eight teams that have earned a spot in the event, and those players want to play and look their best when the sport's lights shine their brightest.
To help them do that, EvoShield delivered new protective gear to all eight teams at their hotels prior to Friday's open day of practice, and had staff on site to fit the gear for the players.
Baseball America tagged along to deliveries for Florida and Texas Christian, and both teams' players were eager to get their hands, wrists, ankles and arms on the new protective gear.
"We created EvoShield to help you as players play without fear," EvoShield founder and co-owner Stan Payne told the Gators players. "It's for your protection, so you can play the way you want to play. We hope we can help you to be at your best."
Payne was once in their position, as he was a lefthander on Georgia's 1990 national championship team. None of the Gators players held the Florida-Georgia rivalry against him; instead, they lined up and loaded up on arm sleeves, wrist, elbow and leg guards, recovery sleeves and straps with OMAHA emblazoned in all caps.
"It's definitely cool," Gators second baseman Deacon Liput said as he got fitted for his gear. "It makes you feel like you're ready to go into battle."
TCU catcher Evan Skoug was among the Horned Frogs loading up on gear. The junior, who leads TCU with 20 home runs, bats left and throws righthanded, so his throwing arm is exposed when he bats, making protection a necessity.
"I got hit right on my bone in my elbow, and right on the triceps. so that can make it difficult to throw if you're banged up on your throwing arm," he said. "EvoShield makes an awesome arm guard. I actually have one that goes from right below my shoulder to all the way to my elbow. It's nice to know you're protected and if the ball hits you, it's not going to feel the same as it would if you weren't wearing (a guard).
"I'm going to put those Omaha straps on my current arm guard. it just makes you feel cool, you almost feel like a big leaguer when you come here and they swag you up with everything."
Thanks to EvoShield, all the players in this Series will be swagged up.