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June 2, 2011

South Carolina Press Conference


Opening Statement
We’re very excited to be hosting a Regional this weekend. We’ve got three great teams here with us. We’re excited to be able to host in a relatively new stadium. Being in a Regional is not something we take for granted. I know the other teams aren’t taking it for granted either. We’re all excited; we’re expecting great crowds, and as we say in Columbia, it’s going to be “famously hot.” Hopefully we’ll have a good regional.

On Starting Michael Roth
There certainly wasn’t any doubt once the field was announced. There was some consideration before the teams were announced that we may not pitch him until game two. That all went out the window when we saw the Regional. If you look at the RPI of the teams in the regional; it’s the lowest total of RPI’s of all the Regionals. So, if you look at it that way it’s the toughest Regional. To me that’s something you have to look at. We know it’s going to be very, very difficult.

On the experience the team gained from winning the NCAA Championship last year…
They have perspective. We’re not a team that can throw their gloves out and win. We’re not extremely talented. We weren’t last year, but they know how to play and they understand the game. When they play their best, they have a chance. That’s been one advantage; the maturity of the guys that get it. We have guys that don’t think we’re going to win just because. That’s been a good thing for us. We know we have to fight and scratch and claw for everything we’re going to get.


On how last year’s College World Series changed his career…
It has definitely changed the course of my career here. I don’t know if I’d be a starter if last year’s College World Series had not happened for me. It’s been great, I’ve enjoyed being a starter. It’s been a lot of fun this year.

On hosting an NCAA Regional at home…
It feels great. We’ve got a lot of fan support. Columbia rallies behind us. Around here it’s Omaha or bust. That’s what makes this a great place to play college baseball. We’re definitely excited.


On the importance of winning the first game this weekend…
It’s very important. I’m sure every team in here wants to get that first win. We’re going to go in there and try to pitch, play good defense and get clutch hitting. You can’t look ahead. Every team here can win this Regional. You have to just look at the first team you’re facing and that’s Georgia Southern.

On the post-season…
It’s a new season. It’s why you come to Division I baseball. To play in a Regional, Super Regional, to play against great teams and hopefully make it to Omaha.


On the ups and downs of the last year…
I guess that’s all a part of the game. It was a long wait in the fall to hear if I was going to get that extra year of eligibility. We did have a good season as a team. I’ve been banged up a little bit. I’m getting better. I’m looking forward to the postseason. I’m looking forward to playing three great teams and for our team to keep playing well.

Stetson Press Conference


Opening Statement
First of all, obviously, we’re certainly happy to be here. It’s a great baseball town and a great baseball facility. The last time I was here was in the early 70’s with Georgia Southern. We’re certainly glad to be back. What a nice facility. Like I said this is super. It’s the first time Stetson has been fortunate enough to be in Columbia for an NCAA Regional. There’s a lot of firsts going on, but we’re happy to be here.

On their draw this weekend….
I didn’t realize until I was talking to Coach (Ray) Tanner that we were in the toughest Regional in the nation. This Regional has the lowest RPI in the country. That says a lot right there. We have the attitude of playing one game at a time. I know that’s something every coach preaches. We have a huge game against NC State tomorrow. I’d love to stay in that winners bracket. We’re going to play one game at a time. We know that NC State is a good team and has played well down the stretch; we’ve scuffled down the stretch the last 15 or 16 games. I think that we’re not a 100% healthy, but we’re a lot healthier than we were the last 15 or 16 games.


On potentially playing the defending National Champions this weekend…
It’s more exciting than anything. The experience we’re going to have is one of a kind. Our team loves challenges and playing in this type of environment. I think we’re going to respond pretty well to it.

On their expectations for the weekend…
We’re here to win. We try not to look past the first game; that’s what we’re focused on right now. We expect to win.

On bouncing back from a tough stretch at the end of the regular season…
Getting healthy. We had a couple guys get banged up, now we’re back to full health. We’re getting back to the basics. We had a great week of practice. Everybody is starting to get healthy. I think a big part of our success is being healthy.


On potentially playing the defending National Champions this weekend….
Yeah, it’s a little intense; they’re 4th in the country so it’s a little intense. That’s something we have to go up against. We like to play against people like that; we like to play in this type of environment. We’ve played against Florida State. I think playing in this type of environment is going to be good for us.

On their draw this weekend…
All the teams in this Regional expect to win. We’re going to do nothing less. We want to win and we’re going to do our best to try.

N.C. State Press Conference


Opening Statement
We are really happy to be in Columbia. We came here a few years ago; it’s a great baseball setting. It’s a good city. It reminds me a lot of Raleigh, and we are just happy to be here.

On being back in Columbia and facing Ray Tanner
Unless Ray (Tanner) and I are getting together to shoot a game of pool, I don’t think that I want to be facing Ray. It’s just about our ball club and three other very good ball clubs who have had a very good season coming to a weekend where you get a chance to go a step further and that step can get you one weekend away from everyone’s ultimate goal. It’s going to be fun see Ray and fun to see Sammy (Esposito). Sammy’s father, Coach Esposito, was one of the great true legends at NC State University, and there are many of us that he had the opportunity to touch their lives tremendously, Mine was one of them and Ray Tanner’s was one of them, so there is a common bond between three of us here – Sammy, Ray, and myself. But there are so many others out there that will be watching this series because there is a guy who has touched so many of our lives. That will kind of give it a little extra meaning, but it’s about four ball clubs and their opportunity to go to Omaha and this is where the journey begins.


On Stetson
Obviously they are a good team, they made it to the tournament. We kind of just don’t try to focus on them. We just take it one game at a time. They are an opponent that we are going to have to play, and we need to win. So we are just going to simply focus on what we can do well and how we can win the game against them.

On pitching tomorrow
It will be fun for tomorrow. It’s just the opening game. Everybody, I’m sure, will have the butterflies going. We feel strong. We know we can win, and we will just simply play the best that we can, just the whole team effect, not focused on once person. We are just looking forward to getting started.


On the team’s defense
I think that’s one thing that we harped on in the fall. We wanted that to be the backbone of our team. So that’s the one thing that we worked on all fall, even throughout the spring. I think we take pride in it now. I’m not saying we haven’t before, but this year it’s a whole new level of pride. Chris Diaz and Matt Berkawitz kind of switched roles this year, but I think that they did a tremendous job. Having Harold at first, he has picked up a lot of things for us and obviously it’s just one thing that we take pride in.

Opportunity to play South Carolina
I don’t think it means anything more. We take it one baseball game at a time, one inning at a time, one out at a time. So, I think that obviously it is an opportunity for us. We are looking forward to it, but once again it is just another baseball game that we have to go out and win.

Georgia Southern Press Conference


Opening Statement
Like everybody at this time of the year, we are just awfully glad to still be playing, and we are exciting about the opportunity that we have here this weekend at probably the greatest venue in college baseball right now. We had the opportunity to play here back in 2009 and it’s just a great facility. It’s always a great atmosphere here, and I know our kids are looking forward to that. Awfully proud of our team and what we have accomplished up to this point, certainly these two guys [Victor Roaches and Andy Moye] have been a big part of that, and we are looking forward to tomorrow night.

On Victor Roaches’ season
I’d say it’s pretty special. Obviously I have never had a guy have a season like that. Certainly when we recruited him, we felt like he would be a special player we certainly had hoped that he would develop into that guy that would have a presence in the middle of our lineup. It has been fun to watch him develop. He is very deserving of anything he gets. I can’t say enough good things about him as a person off the field. He is a very hard worker, humble kid, and as well liked as anyone in our club house and certainly he has been a big part of our team this year.


On coming from the Southern Conference
We do have a competitive conference, and we do put a little a chip on our shoulder. We say we have nothing to lose coming in here, not expected to do too much. We just have to go out there any play our game. We believe as a team, and the coaching staff believes in us, that we can compete with anybody out there. We just have to go out there and execute our game.

On being matched up against South Carolina
It is exciting for us as a team to be able to come to this facility and get to participate in the Regional. We knew coming into it that we would probably get a fourth seed and have a pretty tough team to face opening game, but we are just thankful for the opportunity.


On making it to Regionals
We are the only team in the Southern Conference to make it in the NCAA Tournament, and we are going to prove that we have got the teams in the Southern Conference to maybe get a few more bids next year. I feel like we’ve got a good chance, if we do what we have been coached to do.

On facing Michael Roth
We have heard a lot about him, he’s a left-handed thrower with one ERA. That’s unbelievable playing in the SEC, but if we go out there and do what we are coached to do and take the right approach I think we will be okay.