NCAA Baseball Regional Pre-Tournament Quotes - Arizona




June 3, 2010

NCAA Baseball Regional Pre-Tournament Press Conference
Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez, 2B Rafael Valenzuela and OF Steve Selsky
Fort Worth, Texas (Lupton Stadium)
June 3, 2010

Arizona Head Coach Andy Lopez
Opening statement:
“We are excited to be here. We are a very young team. We are a little banged up right now. With all that this team has accomplished so far and for it being so young, I think we’re really excited. With 28 years of coaching experience I can say this with confidence, this is a great group of student athletes. There are great off the field, and are pretty good players, too.” 

On trying to rebound from recent losses:
“The things that we talk about from day one are about showing up—the ability to play baseball, the ability to throw strikes, the ability to catch the baseball, the ability to make the other team play catch. If you look at the games we lost, against UCLA we almost took two out of three, Arizona State we lost a couple tight games and could have won two of three there. So I’m not concerned. I am pretty realistic.” 

On how the team is doing now:
“It’s a young team that is really beat up. Our closer will pitch with a broken wrist this weekend. You will see that firsthand this weekend, and it’s something I’ve never experienced as a coach. Our starting second baseman is wearing a back brace. Our catcher has a broken toe from a foul tip. Things like that have happened, but I’m not really concerned. We just have to play the game. It’s a great tournament with great teams, we just have to play the game.”

On what he is looking to get out of this weekend’s play:
“It’s a funny game. We just play it hard. There are no answers. In 1998 I took a team to Omaha that was the No. 1 one team in the nation and had five future big leaguers on it. We didn’t win a national championship. In 1992, I took a team from Pepperdine University and nobody even knew our name, but we got hot and won a national championship. So on paper, we have no chance. But I learned a long time ago that it’s a funny game and you just have to play it hard. This group will play hard. We never suit up thinking we’re going to get beat. If we play the game soundly, we’ll be alright.”  

On Arizona’s possible pitching lineup:
“We’ll go with what we’ve been doing. We’ll go with Kurt Heyer tomorrow afternoon, and then the second game we’ll go with Kyle Simon. I hope we need a third starter, and if that time comes we’ll figure it out. It’s kind of what we’ve had to do. It’s an amazing group for me. Our Friday night starter is a freshman, our closer, for the most part, is a freshman and our setup man is a freshman. Now it’s a sophomore closing. Our Saturday guy’s been a sophomore. Our Sunday guy’s been a freshman. We start as many as five or six freshmen in the field. We’re a young group. They’ve hung in there pretty well. Started off well then struggled a bit at the end, but they’ll recover.”

On originally considering starting a lefthander vs. Baylor:
“That was a thought because Baylor has a lot of lefthanded bats, but I woke up this morning and decided we were going to go with Kurt Heyer.

“I threw our pens the last couple days with (Vincent) Littleman in mind, our freshman lefthander. I thought about the matchup, but Kurt’s a young guy who’s pitched in the Friday night slot for us as a freshman and has every reason to have 10 wins as a freshman. According to the RPI, the Pac 10 is the No. 1 conference in the nation, and he’s been our Friday night guy on every Pac 10 weekend, so we’ll go with him.”

 

Sophomore 2B Rafael Valenzuela
On being the underdog:
“I think everyone needs to get hot. There are 64 teams in the tournament, and anyone can get hot at anytime. I’m just hoping it’s going to be us this weekend.

“We do have a lot of freshmen, a lot of young guys, so on paper it may not look good, but once we get out on the field I’m sure it’s going to be fine.”

 

Sophomore OF Steve Selsky
On playing a tought Pac 10 schedule will benefit them:
“We played Arizona State when they were No. 1 and beat them, played Arizona State when they were No. 2 and beat them and played UCLA when they were No. 4 or 5 and beat them. It definitely has given us an edge know that we can beat anyone at anytime.”


 

 


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