NCAA Baseball Pre-Super Regional Press Conference Quotes
June 6, 2002
Following are quotes taken from the NCAA Baseball Pre-Super Regional Press Conferences from Stanford and USC.
Head Coach Mark Marquess
'Obviously, we're excited about the Super Regionals. We have one of our Pac-10 rivals here in USC, and we have the utmost respect for them. We know how talented they are and how well they are playing. We're very familiar with each other. It should be a great weekend and a great series. The weather should be great, we should have great crowds, we're looking forward to it and whichever team wins it will represent the West well at the College World Series.'
(On the similarities between the 2002 Super Regional and the 1999 Super Regional versus USC)
'It's very similar. That was a great opening game in that series between (Barry) Zito and (Jason) Young. You'll also have two great pitchers going tomorrow night in (Anthony) Reyes and (Jeremy) Guthrie. But, it's a different time and different teams. You can never quite figure it out. You'd expect a low-scoring game (in the Super Regional opener), but you never know when you get two good teams together.'
(On his approach after having already played USC six times this season)
'We're so familiar with each other that there will not be many changes. The good thing is that you know what to expect. The bad news is we know how talented they are. Really, it's just a matter of who will be playing the best baseball this weekend. We both know that both of us are very capable of winning. It will just be a matter of who makes the big pitch, who gets the big hit, who makes the fewest errors or gives up the fewest walks. At this stage, if you give the opposition a lot of walks or make a lot of errors, you're probably going to get beat. Both teams know that. It will just be the team that executes and plays the best over the next three days.'
(on games versus USC this season)
'We've had good games with USC this season. A lot of the games could have gone either way. They had a lot of injuries in the first series we played them. They were a much stronger team in the second half of the season. It showed during league when they played well. We finished strong by winning 11 of our last 13 league games, and we still couldn't catch them. Now that they're healthy, they are playing very well.'
(on mental and physical preparation)
'At this stage of the season, the practices are not as long or as intense because we've played so much. The physical preparation isn't any more but the mental part probably is. There is more emphasis on the mental aspect because there's not much more you can do physically (to prepare).'
Junior outfielder/designated hitter Jason Cooper
(On his key home run in last Sunday's win over Long Beach State in the Regional championship game)
'It felt good. Last year, the postseason wasn't the greatest for me, but to get a few hits under my belt in the Regional is positive going into the Super Regional. I'm excited, and I feel good.'
(On biggest rivals in Pac-10)
'We always look forward to playing a team like USC because they're known to have good ballclubs, produce good players and have good coaching. We get up for USC. We've played them twice already this season. This means a little more to us as a team to get a chance to play a team like them in a big spot like this. Hopefully, we play well and come out on top.'
Sophomore centerfielder Sam Fuld
(On finishing as CWS runner-up in 2001 being a motivating factor for 2002)'Getting as far as we did last year, getting to the championship game obviously lingers in your mind. That's a huge motivation.'
Junior righthanded pitcher and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year
(On finishing as CWS runner-up in 2001 being a motivating factor for 2002)
.The College World Series in general is a great motivator, the opportunity to get there. We're so close. Each year we have the motivation to get there no matter what happened the year before. That's the same way we feel this year.'
(On his approach against USC after having faced them twice already this season)
'It will be the same approach. They've done very well against me this year, and I need to be better prepared but the approach and the tactics I use will be the same.
Head Coach Mike Gillespie
'Well, here we are again. We've been here. We've matched up with Stanford on six occasions (this year) and six times last year. A lot of players on both teams know each other very well. A lot of players are friends and well acquainted. Our players have the utmost respect for Stanford, as well they should. We realize that this will be a giant challenge. Our players are excited to be here and get going, and excited to see how the whole thing plays out.'
(On the keys to the Super Regional)
'From our perspective, there is no mystery about what we have to do. We have to match Stanford pitch-for-pitch and match them play-for-play. Our team has demonstrated that it is to be respected offensively. Our offensive players need to play up to their level of ability. With two teams that are as well-matched as these two teams, it will simply come down to who makes a key mistake, who gets a key hit, what pitcher misses over the plate to a good hitter. I think the games will turn on something like that. You could take all these players, put them in a hat, throw them up and however it came up you would be well matched. It will simply come down to whoever pitches and plays the best.'
(On the success of USC's hitters against Stanford pitchers this season)
'Certainly, we recognize that the depth of the Stanford pitching staff is one of the strengths of their team. We haven't won much against them, but I do think our offensive players have been tough outs and have swung the bats well, yet we have managed to come up short five of six times this season. We are well aware of that. We can send six or seven guys to the plate that have the ability to have good at bats against most pitchers. We have had good at bats in the games we've played against Stanford (this season), although in the end they've found a way to get it done in most cases.'
(On the similarities between the 2002 Super Regional and the 1999 Super Regional versus Stanford)
'I think there are some obvious similarities. You simply have Stanford versus USC. You have two conference teams matched up against each other in the Super Regional. You have two strong teams. Our team in 1999 was also a team that was capable of playing really well in Omaha. If that team had gotten to Omaha, that is also a team that I think would have done very well. That's the case with these two teams this year. These two teams have worked to get to Omaha this year. If you put these two teams in opposite brackets in Omaha, it wouldn't be an ultimate shock to see these two teams play each other on the last day. With Anthony (Reyes) and Jeremy Guthrie, you really have two outstanding pitchers going against each other (Friday night).'
(on the comparisons between Stanford and USC)
'Normally, the rankings at the start of the year are good to promote the game, but there is not much validity to them. However, this year it would be a slam dunk that Stanford would be the consensus No. 1 team in the country with the return of literally every position player starter off their really good team of 2001 and a real good recruiting class. Although they lost two starting pitchers from a year ago, they did return (Jeremy) Guthrie and other experienced pitchers. We can make a better comparison between our team and their team now than we could several months ago. We certainly are playing better defense now than earlier in the year. We have settled down on defense and solidified who's playing where all the time. As a result of that, we typically are playing much more consistent defense than we were earlier in the season. Stanford has been playing good defense the whole season. We offensed earlier, we offensed late. Their club has offensed the whole year. We cannot go as deep into the pitching staff as they can. However, I do think we can send three, four or five guys out there that have a chance to hold them down and at least keep us in the game.'
Junior catcher and Pac-10 Player of the Year Alberto Concepcion
(On the success of USC's hitters against Stanford pitchers this season)
'Sometimes we've hit their pitching well this year compared to others. Maybe we get geared up because they're a Pac-10 rival. Offensively, I think we have one of the best teams in the nation. When we go up against good pitching, we really gear ourselves to do well and expect a lot of ourselves.'
(On Stanford pitcher Jeremy Guthrie)
'He's definitely one of the top pitchers we have seen. His fastball has good velocity, and he's got a good slider. If we go into the game Friday the way we have the last couple of times we've faced him, I think we can pull it off.'