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NCAA Atlanta Super Regional Quotes

June 8, 2006

GEORGIA TECH HEAD COACH DANNY HALL

On not looking past College of Charleston

“I think with College of Charleston going to Kentucky and knocking off the co-champions of the SEC of the regular season gets their attention. It’s not a name school, but they are here for a reason. They won the Lexington Regional, they’ve had a good program the last few years, and coach [John] Pawlowski does a tremendous job. We’re familiar with him because he used to coach at Clemson, who’s in our league, and had great pitching staffs up there. We know that we have a big task in front of us. You have to earn the right to get there [College World Series], and that’s what we’re setting out to do.”

On College of Charleston’s pitching staff

“It’s definitely one of their strengths. If you look at their numbers, they are pretty scary on the pitching staff side. They’re banking on their pitchers to do well against our hitters. The encouraging thing for us is that Blake Wood and Lee Hyde, and people like that the last two weekends, have really stepped up and pitched great for us. Hopefully we’ll match their effort and end up coming out on top.”

“They throw a lot of strikes, and we’re told that they have very good breaking balls. They can throw breaking balls on any count, and regardless of how hard he might throw, if a pitcher can throw a breaking ball for strike in college baseball, it’s a weapon. So we have to do a good job of making them throw it for a strike, don’t chase the one that’s out of the zone, and hopefully we’ll be able to maintain our patience and not let them take us out of our approach.”

On the fact that Tech has never lost to College of Charleston

“I have been here 13 years and we have never played them. That was a long time ago that these two teams have played. We have a lot riding on it, they have a lot riding on it. You throw the history out, and it’s going to come down to who plays the best this weekend.”

On this year’s team

“I said it last weekend after we won the regional, that I would go and play anybody in the country with my team and know that they will compete from the first pitch to the last pitch. They have overcome a lot with the injuries that we’ve had. Many of them have been with us for four years, some of them for five years, so this is a veteran group that is very focused on trying to get a chance to play for a national championship. The one thing they lack on their resume is that nobody on this roster has played in the College World Series, so I want for those guys to get the opportunity to go showcase themselves on the national stage with the chance to win a national championship.”

On having the thirst himself of reaching the College World Series

“My goals never change. I want to take every team we have to the College World Series. If I don’t have that goal, it’s time for me to get out of coaching and do something else. I have the thirst, but more importantly, it’s for the players. They’ve accomplished some great things here, and the only thing that is lacking is putting the College World Series on their resume.”

On Matt Weiters

“He’s a special player, anytime you ask a guy to not only catch, but pitch and DH. Last weekend he caught both games on Saturday, got the save on Saturday and came back and got the final two outs on Sunday. He was 14-for-15 getting on base, so he couldn’t have done anything more for us. We lean on him a lot, but it says a lot about him, not only as a baseball player, but as a person.”

On what scares him most about College of Charleston

“They are not a name school. Before the season ever started, if you said who was going to be in the final 16, I doubt any coach in the country would have put them in the top 16. You worry about them sneaking up on you, but they have my attention and the team’s attention, because when you knock off the SEC regular season champion in Kentucky, you earn the right to get here, as did the other 15 teams, so I know that they are a very good baseball team.”

GEORGIA TECH PLAYER QUOTES

RHP BLAKE WOOD

On getting the start in game one

“I feel great about it, I’m ready to go. I got the ball last year and I thought we had a great chance last year. This year we have a great chance, and I’m happy that I’ve gotten this opportunity to try and put our team ahead in the series.”

On the importance of winning that first game

“The past two years we’ve lost that first game and have not done as well in the second game. So if we win the first game this year it will give us a big boost of confidence for our team. I’m really looking forward to stepping up to the challenge.”

“We know that it’s very important to win that first game, but you still have to win two games. We just want to get out to the field tomorrow and play well.”

RHP/C/1B MATT WIETERS

On what it would mean to reach the College World Series

“This is one of the first groups that has not had anybody that has reached Omaha in awhile, and that is a source of motivation for us.”

On College of Charleston’s lack of experience in Super Regional play

“Experience always helps, but I would not say that it is that big an advantage. Everybody watches on television, so they are going to know how intense it’s going to be, and they are going to want it just as bad as we do.”

On growing up in South Carolina

“I was a big Citadel fan, my father [Richard] played for them so I was always routing against College of Charleston. Once I got out of there, I started to pull for all South Carolina teams to do well. They’ve had a great season, but I hope we are able to continue our great season and end theirs.”

COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON HEAD COACH JOHN PAWLOWSKI

On his team’s rise to success in the last two years

“One of the things [that has lifted program] is the commitment that the College of Charleston has made. We’ve improved our facilities, and they gave us some resources to work with. Then we’ve recruited and had the opportunity to bring some great student-athletes in. We’ve really benefited from that. The more games we’ve won, the more it’s helped us go out and recruit better student-athletes. We don’t have the big superstars. We work hard, and we’re a blue-collar team. That’s a major factor in why we’re in this position today.”

Is it a good thing that your team has not been in this position before?

“I do think so. Our expectations are that we do want to win this super regional and move on, but they’ve never been in this position, so they don’t know any different. We just go out and play baseball the way we know how to play, and that is to do the little things and find a way to win. It’s exciting. We know we’re in for a tough battle. Georgia Tech has had a tremendous year once again. They’re very talented, so it’s going to be a tall task for the Cougars.”

On being one of the last 16 teams in the NCAA Championship

“We feel honored to be in this position. But with that comes expectations and goals, and we’re trying to meet those goals and move on. We feel fortunate to have won the regional in Lexington, and I attribute that to our pitching staff. We pitched extremely well up there, and we’ve been pitching well lately. So if we can do that and keep the game close, we can hopefully win the last three innings and see what happens.”

On Tech’s strengths

“Offensively, they are potent, one through nine. In their ballpark, they are very potent. Their lineup is not one guy. They have nine guys who can beat you. If we focus on one, then the guy behind him can hurt you. They’ve got power, and they put up a lot of runs in a hurry. We have to prevent the big inning. If we can keep the score down low, then we have a better chance. If it starts to get up into double digits, then we know we have a challenge on our hands.”

On the attitude of his team

“I think they’re real loose. They don’t know what to expect. They know that we have to go out and play. But they’re loose, and they’re doing the same crazy things they’ve done since the first day of practice. Time will tell. But I hope they’re relaxed and ready to play.”

On Tech having an advantage because of losing super regionals at home in the past

“They have every advantage. They’re at home, they’re from the ACC, and their lineup is very talented offensively. They’ve been a quality team for a number of years, and it’s no different this year. We know we have to bring our `A’ game to beat them, and if we don’t, it’s going to be tough. Baseball’s a funny game, and a lot of things happen. The ball bounces a lot of different ways, and we hope it bounces our way this weekend.”

On his pitching for the weekend

“We’re not sure they’re all healthy as this point. Danny Meszaros is questionable for this weekend, so that’s another little kink that we have to work out. They’ve battled it. They’ve got injuries, we’ve got some. At this point in the season, someone else just has to step up and take a leadership role.”

On skepticism of the pitching staff because of the conference you play in

“No question. We’re the underdog. That’s our motive. We know people look at us and say who is the College of Charleston and what is the Southern Conference about. That’s part of our motive. That’s why we go out and let the game play between the lines. We’re trying to earn the respect, and we’ve got a long way to go.”

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