NCAA Baseball Regional Pre-Tournament Quotes - TCU




June 3, 2010

NCAA Baseball Regional Pre-Tournament Press Conference
TCU Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle, catcher Bryan Holaday and pitcher Kyle Winkler
Fort Worth, Texas (Lupton Stadium)
June 3, 2010

TCU Head Coach Jim Schlossnagle
Opening Statement:
“We are excited to be at home. It should be a great weekend of baseball for our fans with Baylor, Arizona, and Lamar visiting. Baylor and Lamar are playing as good of baseball as they have all year. Arizona gets to wipe the slate clean and start over. We are certainly fired up about the weekend. Our guys are tired of practice. We are ready to play.”

On the differences in team mindset from last year to this year:
“Last year it was a new experience for us, a novelty feeling. We tried to treat it like a three-game series, but it was a new thing for everyone. This year the expectations were to do exactly this. I think our guys expected to be here, and we are better prepared to handle it. Hopefully that will translate into success, but we are ready to play.”

On what he is expecting from Lamar:
“They are really playing well. They are hitting a lot over their last 14 games, really scoring a lot of runs. They are playing their best baseball of the season. Their starter is a strike thrower, likes to keep the ball down, and that’s what you want this time of year. That’s why we are starting Kyle (Winkler), You want your most experienced guy up there. Coach (Jim) Gilligan is one of the best. He has won over 1,200 games and has been in this situation many times. I’m sure his team will be ready to play.”

On his relationship with Coach Gilligan:
“Anybody who’s been around college baseball knows he is one of the best to ever work in the sport. If he were in the Big 12 or the ACC, they would speak about him in the same breath as Augie Garrido and some of the best of our profession. He isn’t sneaking up on anyone. He has built a great program with kids from all over the country, and his staff has done a great job. We aren’t ducking them at all.”

On choosing Kyle to start the first game:
“He has really gone through a transformation over the last year. All of last year he was a good pitcher, but he wasn’t what we wanted him to be or what he wanted to be. About a third of the way through this season we made a change with his breaking ball, and that really helped all of his pitches. He rarely elevates the baseball, he has a firm breaking pitch and his changeup has always been good. And he has really matured. In my opinion the Utah game was the turning point. The conditions were certainly adverse, and he really did a great job of competing, locking out the conditions. He really has been a great pitcher for us ever since.”

On what it means to host a regional:
“It’s certainly an honor. It’s really, really hard to get to do this. Seven years ago when I came here one of the things that was a big concern was trying to compete year in and year out with Texas, Texas A&M, Rice, Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, LSU—all these schools in this footprint of the country. With the committee wanting to spread regionals, we felt we would have to put together some strong seasons if we were to compete. Credit to our players for doing that, to our administrators for putting together the financial bid and our support staff for putting on a good regional last year. The teams that were here last year left thinking that this was a quality operation, and that helped us get the next one. It’s always tough to get the first one, but once you do it’s a great honor.”

On staying focused throughout the season:
“We constantly talk about Omaha, and that’s the light at the end of the tunnel, but the way you get there is the day-to-day approach. Players these days are so educated on the process from RPI to scheduling to what’s going on with other teams across the country that you can’t hide anything from them. A Tuesday game at Texas State has enormous impact at what happens at the end of the season. The same is true about a Saturday home game against Air Force. You have that big picture goal, but it’s a day-to-day grind of what we’re going to do today to get us a little big closer to that ultimate goal. If you try to do anything more than that, you’ll wind up watching someone else play.”

On possible individual surprises to look for:
“We’ve been pretty consistent throughout our lineup. We have Jantzen Witte, a freshman, who’s hitting over .350, and a guy leading off in Brance Rivera who wasn’t even in the thought process to be the starting right fielder at the beginning of the season. We have some good depth throughout the order. (Aaron Schultz) down at the bottom of the order has eight home runs, we have three DHs hitting over .350. Certainly the pitching is going to be improved to what we saw during much of the regular season, but I like our chances. I couldn’t really pick one guy to be honest with you, because they’ve all carried their own weight throughout the season.”

On the advantage of the forecast of hot weather:
“I think it’s an advantage. The goal is to keep winning so you can keep playing night games. But there are three teams here from Texas and one from Arizona, so it may not be a big factor. I think it will probably be a bigger deal for the fans than for the players.”

 

TCU Senior Catcher Bryan Holaday
On the strong pitchers in the regional:
“I think we are going to do the same thing we have done all year. We have been sticking with our same approach, and our coach has done a strong job getting us ready. As long as we don’t chase, we will have a lot of success. We know how to hit in this ballpark, and that will really work to our approach.”

On TCU’s three starters of Matt Purke, Kyle Winkler and Steven Maxwell:
“All year they’ve done a great job. I think right now they are 32-2 and have done a great job of feeding off each other. Matt (Purke) has done a great job of going out there on Friday nights and getting us off to a great start, have a lot of energy on the mound and just compete. Then Kyle (Winkler) will come out Saturday and try to out-do Matt and Steven (Maxwell) will come out Sunday and try to out-do Kyle. It’s a really fun thing to be a part of in trying to catch this staff. It’s been so much fun for me. I’ve been really lucky this year to have these guys.”

On being named a finalist for the Johnny Bench Award:
“It’s an honor to be named a Johnny Bench finalist. It’s been one of my goals and I’m really excited about it.”

On his catching heroes while growing up:
“Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez) was one of my favorite players growing up with the Rangers. I’m from Dallas, so I always watched him. Growing up I wasn’t a catcher, so my other favorite player was Chipper Jones because he was a third baseman and that’s where I was playing.”

On comparing starting pitchers Matt Purke, Kyle Winkler and Steven Maxwell:
“They are all very different personalities. Matt (Purke) wears his emotions on his sleeve, kind of like Steven (Maxwell), but Steven is more of a cocky pitcher, which suits his style of pitching very well. Matt is the typical lefty with the cocked hat. He does a really job well of commanding his pitches in the strike zone. (Kyle) Winkler is not as emotional as the other two, but he seems to be focused on what he’s doing on each pitch. They are all a lot of fun to catch.”

 

TCU Sophomore Pitcher Kyle Winkler
On what he expects in his start on Friday:
“I expect to come out here and be successful. I’ve thrown hard the last couple times I have gone out, I’ve had good control with my fastball, been able to keep it down. The biggest thing is going out and getting the first run. If I have to give up a couple runs, or throw really well, as long as we get the win that’s all that matters.”

On his change as a pitcher:
“I think we really worked on my demeanor on the mound. Some of the other starters are more emotional than I am, but I know I needed to go out there with more of an attitude that I am not coming out of this game. I’ve told coach a couple times that I wasn’t going to come out unless I absolutely had too. I think this change is the biggest one I have gone through.”

On earning TCU’s opening start for the regional:
“I’m definitely excited to get the first start and put us on the right foot going towards the rest of the weekend. With our starting rotation, as coach said, it’s pretty much a toss up. I know that if Matt (Purke) or (Steven Maxwell) were out there, we’d have just as good of a chance to win as if I was. I’m just excited to get that first start.”

 


 

 


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