Friday Pre-Super Regional press conference quotes: TCU
June 5, 2009
Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
On their offensive strategy: Our game is more similar to Texas’ style of play. We haven’t bunted as much as them, nor has any other team in the country, but we’re more likely to play for a run or two like Texas than we are to sit around and wait.
On playing the national number one seed: If we win this thing, it will certainly be an upset. Anyone Texas plays would be the underdog because Texas is the number one national seed. We spent a lot of time on the mental game, blocking out distractions and I would much rather play here in front of 7,000 Longhorn fans than I would at Ole Miss where it was 30 degrees and sleeting. I’ll take my chances here, it’s a lot easier to block out the crowd than it is when you’re trying to field a ball and it’s freezing outside.
On not being satisfied with their season yet: We haven’t accomplished anything. We won a NCAA Regional, but our saying this season has been, “So what?” Going into this year, we’ve won five consecutive conference championships and we’ve been to six consecutive regionals or more. So what? We haven’t been to Omaha and none of that means anything until we get to go there. I told this team throughout the season I expect this team to play in the College World Series and if they don’t, I’m not telling you it’s a bad season, but it’ll be a disappointment. We start five seniors every day and we have two others that play big roles. I trust those guys, we’ve played a great schedule for two years and if there’s ever a club that is prepared for this moment it’s this team.
On the team’s best qualities: Our best quality is that we have a veteran club that is not fazed much. We play the game well. We normally don’t screw the game up very much. We play really, really hard. I know Texas will play hard and will be incredibly well coached. But no one will play harder than TCU, I promise you, in the entire 64-team field. That overcomes a lot of things when you’re trying to advance in the postseason.
On the recent success of Preston Clark: I love seeing kids rewarded for being good people and being really hard workers and that’s what I have on my team. Matt Carpenter has been here for five years and had to go through Tommy John surgery in 2007 and that completely changed his life. He lost 40 pounds, became a completely different person, and became a better student. And I’m a firm believer saying that the game knows. The game knows when you do things poorly or when you cheat yourself. The game will penalize you for that, and when you do things right and you play really hard and you’re a good guy, the game will eventually reward you for that and that’s what happened to Preston Clark and that’s what has happened to our team.
On their pitching rotation: Our starting pitching has definitely fluctuated this season. Kyle Winkler is going to start for us tomorrow and Paul Gerrish will throw on Saturday. Last weekend we had three starters and I really believe our best baseball is happening right now and that is what has to happen to get to Omaha. It’s not the best team but the team that plays the best. Coach Garrido, I’m sure, will back that up and all you got to do is ask Fresno State. That is where we are right now and that’s to get the hot hand on the mound.
Freshman P Kyle Winkler
On playing Texas: I don’t think we’re intimidated. We’ve played them before and we’re a different team now than we were when we played them earlier this season.
On whether Texas is a team of destiny: I think we are team of destiny too. We won on a walk-off single in the ninth with a freshman up to bat against an Oregon State team that had every right to be a higher seed in the regional. They played well the entire regional. The entire year, I personally think that this is a team we have to easily make it to the College World Series as long as we play our game. If we have a couple of things go right for us this weekend, we can be up there with anybody.
On his pitching style: I go right after people. I use my fastball a lot. I’m definitely more about getting ahead of the hitter, throwing my breaking ball all over the plate and really trying to get a lot of ground balls. I think with the turf here that’s really going to help me out.
Senior RF Chris Ellington
On playing in front of a sold out crowd: The biggest crowd we’ve played in front of is probably our regional at home. We’re going to rise to the challenge, we’ve played in 30 degree weather where it was sleeting and snowing and I think that is just as hard a circumstance as a lot of fans. It’s just about taking it one pitch at a time and blocking out the atmosphere.
Senior 3B Matt Carpenter
On facing any pressure: I don’t think the pressure is on us because we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. We’re definitely not satisfied just being in the super regional. We want to go to the College World Series and that’s the ultimate goal. We’re really confident right now, we’re excited. Our team is pretty tight knit and we’re looking forward to coming in here and letting everybody know what kind of team we are. We look at this as a challenge and we want to rise to the occasion. We’re looking forward to it, I’m excited and I’m anxious to get out here tomorrow night.
On knowing many of the Texas Longhorns: I played with Preston Clark in high school and I know a lot of the guys from their team. It’s cool to have two teams from Texas in a super regional. You’ll get a lot of guys that you played with in the high school level and at the summer leagues. We know a lot of their guys and they know a lot of our guys. It’s a pretty neat deal.