June 3, 2004
Stanford, Calif. -
Following are comments from players and coaches from the four teams competing in 2004 NCAA Baseball Regional at Stanford from a press conferences on the eve of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championships Regional. Stanford (44-12) is the top seed in the double-elimination Regional and will play fourth-seeded UNLV (37-22) in its 2004 postseason opener on Friday at 6:00 pm, PDT (Game 1). Second-seeded Long Beach State (36-19) and third-seeded St. John's (36-21) will square off on Friday at 2:00 pm, PDT (Game 2) to open the Regional.
The Regional will continue on Saturday with three games. Saturday's first matchup (Game 3) will feature the losers of Friday's two contests in an elimination game at 11:00 am, PDT. The winners of Friday's games will play Saturday at 3 pm, PDT (Game 4) for the right to advance to Sunday's Regional championship. The winner of Game 3 will play the loser of Game 4 in an elimination contest (Game 5) at 7 pm, PDT.
Sunday's championship game (Game 6) will begin at 1:00 pm, PDT. A second championship game (Game 7), if necessary, will follow at approximately 5:00 pm, PT.
College Sports Television will broadcast every game of the Regional live.
LONG BEACH STATE
Head coach Mike Weathers
"It's good to be back. It's another good championship. There's solid competition and we're not in a bad spot. It's at a good place and we're happy to be here."
"Jered (Weaver) won't pitch on Friday. We have narrowed it down to either Jason Vargas or Cesar Ramos. If we get by St. John's, we'll see what happens."
"Obviously we have three quality starters who are all experienced. Our Sunday guy (Vargas), is an experienced guy and the JUCO Player of the Year last year. Weaver was a Sunday guy two years ago, and Cesar was there last year. That maturity and really that experience is what makes our starting staff."
"Neil Jamison has been outstanding all year as our closer and our setup man Brian Anderson has also been outstanding getting to Neil. We haven't had to go to our younger guys as much, because of our starters.
"I think these three starters are the best trio Long Beach State has had since I've been here and we've had a lot of good pitchers. I think experience and maturity is what sets them a part."
Pitcher Jered Weaver
"We've lost here the last two years and gone home and we hope to change that. We're just keeping positive and keeping our confidence up. We have a good mind set coming in."
"I think we have a lot more strengths than we did last year. We have a lot of great hitters and a great lineup. I think they'll come up big this weekend."
"(The Draft) is exciting and it's something I've been waiting for, but it's not what I'm focused on. We've got a job to do. The draft comes when it comes and I'm not worried about that. My focus is with the Dirtbags."
Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki
"It's nice to come back home. It was a big learning experience last year. I didn't play like I would have liked or wanted to."
Head coach Ed Blankmeyer
"Long Beach State plays good baseball. We're not really flashy, we just have solid players. We will
start Varvaro tomorrow."
"The last time we were out here was about nine years ago at the Johnny Quick Pepsi Tournament. Our coaching staff is familiar with West Coast baseball. We got in Wednesday morning, and had an opportunity to work out a little. I think the kids are excited. There are two West Coast Teams here, Long Beach State and Stanford, who have storied histories."
"I think we're pitching well and have turned the corner. I think we had young kids on our pitching staff last year that have matured. We're very resilient both offensively and defensively and have timely hitting."
"Big East has some quality competition with Rutgers and Notre Dame. I expect us to play well.
"We have a great traditions with guys like John Franco, Frank Viola and Rich Aurilla. We have one of the winningest programs (all-time). It's been awhile but I think we're bringing that tradition back."
Head coach Mark Marquess
"I'm just very excited to be a part of postseason play again and to be hosting this Regional. It's a strong Regional and I'm impressed with all the talent these teams have and with their numbers. I'm impressed with our team. We've had a great year. I feel we're ready to play. We had a tough Pac-10 conference race. It's been a good year. To win 44 games and lose 12 it's been a great year. I'm very proud of this group of players. They've really performed well. Now we're on to the second season. As they know, you have to play well to earn the right to go on. We're looking forward to the challenge of this Regional."
"I think it's always advantageous to play at home. The players are involved in final exams right now. It's best for Stanford to play at home right now than to play on the road. This is a fair ballpark. There's not a short porch or anything else special. We've had a lot of success at home but we've won a lot of close games too. We've been very fortunate."
"I think we have hit for power this year so we haven't needed to do the small things like sac bunt. That's not to say that we won't do the small things in this Regional. It's important to get guys on base and to bring them home. That's what makes the postseason so interesting. Defense is very important in the postseason."
"We'll start Jeff Gilmore tomorrow (Friday) and then Mark Romanczuk the second game. Our third starter is dependant on the matchup. We have several pitchers that we could throw depending on how well they match up with the opponent.
"We've had some tight games in the postseason before but we've had a lot of success. I feel that the players know how hard it is to get back to Omaha. The seniors take care of the younger players and they let them know how difficult it is to get back to Omaha."
Outfielder Sam Fuld
"I think there is definitely a level of comfort playing at home. It's not a unique park but there is definitely a comfort feeling. The little things, like sleeping in your own bed and eating your normal meals, make a big difference."
Pitcher Jeff Gilmore
"I think each team is just as important as the next one. We have so many dangerous tools offensively. We just have to win the first game. I looked at their (UNLV) statistics and their very impressive. I've prepared as I normally would for a start. I'll be ready to start Friday night."
First Baseman John Mayberry, Jr.
"Well, I just look at it as a challenge. We put a lot of hard work and time into this. We play every season with the postseason in mind. This year our goal is to go to Omaha. We're just going to work and play as hard as we possibly can to realize our goal."
Head Coach Buddy Gouldsmith
"We're starting Jake Vose, a senior righthander tomorrow. We're just happy to be here coming off a conference championship win. We have 13 seniors. It's going to be a challenge playing Stanford in the opening game. "
"Having so many seniors on our team has allowed us to battle through adversity. We were missing four seniors at one point in our season so we realized the importance of everybody on our team. We battled through the adversity and came through it ok. We finished the season and we got the guys back. We were able to win the conference championship."
"The success of the program (Stanford) speaks for itself. They've made five trips to the College World Series consecutively and they have home field adv advantage. We're going to approach this game just like we would approach any other game. We have to come out and play good defense, throw strikes, and swing the bats and just play as hard as we can. Certainly there's a challenge but we are going to approach this game the same way."
Outfielder Eric Neilsen
"I'm just excited to be here. I played with a lot of the guys (Stanford players) last summer in the Cape Cod League. We're just excited to be here and we want to get further than we did last year. We would like to get to Omaha."
Infielder Ryan Ruiz
"Being here is a goal in itself. Any time you get to a Regional that's a blessing. We want to get further than last time. We've set our goals high. Beating Stanford would be a great achievement."
2004 NCAA REGIONAL SCHEDULE (at Stanford, CA)
FRIDAY, JUNE 4
2 pm, PDT (Game 2) - No. 3 St. John's (36-21) vs. No. 2 Long Beach State (36-19)
6 pm, PDT (Game 1) - No. 4 UNLV (37-22) vs. No. 1 Stanford (44-12)
SATURDAY, JUNE 5
11 am, PDT (Game 3) - Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser ... elimination game
3 pm, PDT (Game 4) - Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner
7 pm, PDT (Game 5) - Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Loser ... elimination game
SUNDAY, JUNE 6
1 pm, PDT (Championship - Game 6) - Game 4 Winner vs. Game 5 Winner
5 pm, PDT (Championship - Game 7, if necessary) - If Game 5 Winner Defeats Game 4 Winner In Game 6
*All Games To Televised Live By College Sports Televsion (CSTV)