June 3, 2004
Eric Patterson, Georgia Tech Junior Second Baseman
“We’re just going to try to get back to the things that helped us win 20 games in a row – good pitching, playing good defense and getting some timely hits. I think we got away from that a little bit in the last two games of the ACC Tournament, but we’re looking this weekend to start a new streak here, starting Friday.
“All the teams here are definitely good baseball teams. You don’t make the NCAA Tournament by luck. We know we have very good competition on our hands, but we’re not going to concentrate so much on what they’re going to do, but we’re going to concentrate on playing our game and doing the things we need to do.
“It’s definitely very important [to win first game]. You don’t want to be down 0-1 and be one game away from ending your season. You want to jump out on top and set the tone and build on that.
“There was no reason to panic [about losing ACC Tournament]. We just got away some things that we had been doing well. We’ve worked this week and put in a lot of quality practice time, but it’s been low key.
Danny Hall, Georgia Tech Head Coach
“I’d say the regional was the furthest thing from my mind at that time [before 20-game winning streak]. We really tried to focus on the fact that we had a lot of conference schedule left, so our focus was just on trying to win our conference series and try to get back in the conference hunt. At that time, we were trying to win each conference series to try to get back in the race and thinking that if you finished in the top half of the league, that would get you in the NCAA Tournament. Hosting was the furthest thing from my mind at that time.
[Any positives to losing to FSU at ACC Tournament, ending 20-game winning streak?] “No. And I honestly don’t think the streak was on our mind. We were just taking it day-to-day and trying to play good each day. I think what we went through to get to the level that we got to, winning the regular season and really having to grind it day to day, that will help us with what we’re facing now.
[Keys during streak] “I think we played good in all phases of the game. Prior to that, when we were struggling, it seemed like when we pitched well, we didn’t hit. If we hit, we didn’t pitch real good. During the streak, it was more of a case that we played well in all areas. The starting pitching was good, the bullpen was good, we got hits when we needed them, and we got contributions from different hitters. The constant through the whole thing has been our defense. We’ve played great defense all year, even when we were not winning as many games.
“They’re a scrappy team, and they won their league. [Bobby] Wynns through 15 innings of shutout ball in their tournament, which is phenomenal. That tells me he’s a hot pitcher. I just think they’re a good team that is playing very well right now. Jim Case is a good coach. He had been at Mississippi State with Ron Polk, so he learned from a great coach. He’s taken what he’s learned and applied it to his own program and done a great job. We’re expecting a major battle.”
“I don’t think there’s much different between any of us. There’s a lot of parity in college baseball. Your team has to play well and they have to execute for three days. I think every team in the field of 64 is capable of doing that, or they would not be in the tournament.
[On starting Brian Burks vs. Jacksonville State] “His numbers are a little skewed. He is one of those guys who pitched very for us early in the year, but I don’t know how games he left after doing his job and the bullpen let him down. His numbers should be a lot better than they are, and he has pitched great for us down the stretch. He started the first game of the ACC Tournament, so he’s our most rested guy. We have a lot of confidence in him. He’s a senior and he’s been through the battles. He’ll be ready to go because he’s been through everything that he could face.
[On Jacksonville State starter Bobby Wynns, righthander] “The pitcher controls the whole game, and the pitcher can set the tempo for everything that’s going on. He’s got the ability and has done it down the stretch for them, giving them a great opportunity to win. I’m not surprised he’s starting, and I know he’s pitched extremely well of late. I know he’s got great control, and everybody says he’s really a good pitcher. Not going to overpower you, but he can pitch.
[On hosting regional] “We’re very excited to be playing at home on our field and in front of our fans, but now we’ve got to make it an advantage.
“I never think a loss is a good thing. We could probably speculate on that all day. But now it comes down to, we’ve got to start a new streak and play well each day. I think what that streak did for us is it really made us focus day to day. We know what we have to do to get ourselves ready to play on a daily basis, and now we want to start a new streak.
“We’re disappointed that we didn’t win the ACC Tournament, but we’re very excited about the opportunity that we have now. From the time that we walked out of here last year after losing in the regional until now, these guys have been focused on getting back to this weekend and trying to start a march towards Omaha.”