Los Angeles Baseball Regional Pre-Tournament Quotes
May 30, 2002
NCAA 2002 NCAA Division I Baseball ChampionshipFirst-Round Regional * Los Angeles, Calif.May 31-June 2
Comments from participating players and coaches on Thursday, May 30
USC head coach Mike Gillespie
(regarding the field at this year's regional) 'We think, and I think everyone here would agree, that we're in deep. It's a strong field. I think whoever wins this thing will feel like they've done something and will have played well. We'll certainly feel that way if we win this thing.'
(on the advantage of being at home)'Of course, we prefer to be at home. Everyone does, I think. Everyone is more comfortable at home. How big of an advantage? I don't think it's insurmountable. But I think we'd much rather do it this way if we could.'
USC catcher Alberto Concepcion
(does the experience of the past two years help the team prepare for the regional)'It definitely helps. We have a lot of returning guys who have been through this before. They've been through the experiences of a sub regional and a super regional. The younger guys rely on the seniors to help guide them through this. But the younger guys are definitely eager to go out there and get a taste of it.'
(On being Pac-10 Player of the Year)'Hard work pays off. But without my teammates pushing me and being there for me, I probably couldn't have done it.'
(On the regional)'Overall, it's a solid regional. BYU just won its conference tournament and is on fire. We've heard a lot of good things about Northridge. We don't know too much about Maine yet. But we just have to take this one game at a time and we'll be alright.'
Cal State Northridge head coach Mike Batesole
(on Cal State Northridge making its first appearance in the NCAAs since 1996)'It's been a long time. It's a great facility here, there are great teams and we're very excited to be here. We got some swings in today, got a feel for the field and had some fun. These guys have definitely earned the right to have some fun.
(on playing close to home)'It's good to be close, because travel can wear on you. It should work to our advantage. We're fresh. We haven't played in two weeks. The layoff was good because we had some bumps and bruises. We're healthy and strong now and hopefully that will pay off.'
'Right now, we're just focused on Maine on Friday night. This team (Northridge) is an experienced team and teams that survive, especially past the super regional, are older teams.'
Cal State Northridge outfielder Eric Verbryke
(on being in the same regional as USC, where he played as a freshman)'It's been neat. I've seen a lot of old friends. It'll be fun to get out there. I haven't really stayed close with anyone, but I saw a couple of the guys this morning and it was fun to see them again.'
(on Maine)'We don't know anything about them. We just need to stay within our system and stay within our gameplan. We can't worry about them.'
(on their approach this weekend)'Our only goal is to play each game to the best of our ability and don't look back. We just don't want to have any regrets.'
Maine head coach Paul Kostacopoulos
(On the team's first NCAA appearance since 1993)'This program has a lot of history. You look back in the 1980s and we went to the World Series five times. But it's been a little while since we've been back here. It's a great tribute to our players that we've been able to get back here. It's definitely something to be proud of.
'We've been building the program back up. We've been a good team the last two or three years, but we just happened to win the right games this year and get back to the NCAAs.'
(On what it's like to coach and play at Maine)'You have to like it. To understand it, you have to be there and experience what we go through to prepare. We're indoor for the first four to six weeks before we go outside. But it's part of being at Maine. Plus, it's always something to talk about.
(On Cal State Northridge)'I'm aware of them because that's part of my world. They're a terrific program. Any West Coast school is going to be good and if they're not, they're going to get killed. You hear USC, and you think of a grander tradition, but Northridge is a very good program.'
Maine junior third baseman Joe Drapeau
(on any lingering jet lag after the 12-hour journey from Orono, Maine, to Los Angeles)'You get used to the difference in time. It was a good thing we came out on a Wednesday so we could get adjusted to it. You could tell everybody had an extra step today.'(on Maine's tradition, which includes 12 previous NCAA appearances)'You go up into the clubhouse and you see all the World Series trophies. You see the history and all the championships. We keep that in mind when we play. We may not be the most talented team, but we work as hard as anybody. We have a great work ethic and we really play well as a team.'(on Cal State Northridge)'I had never heard of Cal State Northridge before this week. I read they were 15th in the nation. I assumed USC was the highest ranked team here, but it's Northridge. But baseball is not a game of scouting reports. You go out and play. The bases are still 90 feet apart and the walls are all about the same distance from the plate. You still have to pitch and hit well to win.'
BYU head coach Vance Law
(On the state of the team)'We've kind of had an up-and-down type of season. We just started playing pretty well together about a month ago. I would say we climaxed last week when we swept San Diego State for the conference championship. This is really where I pictured we would be at this time of year.'
'We have about 17 returning missionaries on the team this season and it always takes a bit longer for them to get back in the swing of things.'
'I like our team. We have great young men with outstanding moral character. There's no quit in them.'
(Injuries)'Matt Carson (RF) is still questionable for us. It does make me concerned because Matt is such a solid defensive player and is an important part of the team. We are also a bit depleted at third base.'
(Pitching)'We played a lot of games last week, but our pitchers did a good job. They allowed us to space them out and keep them rested.'
(On 1B Dave Jensen)'Dave is just an outstanding first baseman and also a very good defensive player. He's one of our missionaries that returned this season. He struggled at the start but lately he's gotten his swing back. His strength has returned and he has really carried the team over the last few months.'
(On 2B Cameron Coughlan and outfielder Doug Jackson)'Both Cameron Coughlan and Doug Jackson are good 1-2 guys. They make every play mighty close. They like to play aggressive and they're true competitors.'
BYU sophomore first baseman Dave Jensen
(On being named Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year)'It was pretty surprising and flattering for both me and the school. I was honored to be able to bring home the award for the school.'
(On injuries and the team)'All our injuries this season have been unfortunate. We've had some key players in and out of the lineup, but we've also had some key players really step up at times.'