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Tech's Madden, Sallinger Meet with Media on Eve of NCAA Softball Regional

May 14, 2003

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – On the eve of the program’s second consecutive NCAA Regional appearance, Georgia Tech head coach Kate Madden and All-Atlantic Coast Conference pitcher Jessica Sallinger spoke with members of the media Wednesday at the Alabama Softball Complex. The fifth-seeded Jackets open the tournament against No. 4 seed Illinois at 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Madden’s opening remarks:
“We’re excited to be here too. We haven’t played as well as we had wanted to over the last couple of weeks, so going into the selection show we weren’t sure if we’d get a Regional bid based on how we played at the end of the season. But we ended up getting one and we are thrilled to be here. I told the girls we really deserve it. We’ve played 15 teams that made the Regional tournaments, so I think our strength of schedule is good. When we played those tough teams, we’ve played them close. We have a good team that deserves to be here. We’re ready to go and hopefully we’re going to have a good tournament.”

Madden on having already played at Alabama this season:
“I think it’s a little bit of an advantage, having played on this field and gotten familiar with the facility. Alabama is a great team, and it’s good to have seen them already. We’re glad to be back. It’s fairly close for us, and we pretty much just turned right around from the ACC Tournament and came here. We were a little worried not being announced until the eighth regional but we thought Alabama is where they might send us, and it worked out for the best.”

Sallinger on facing Alabama at last year’s Regional:
“They were our first game in the Regional last year and it was a tough, tough game. I don’t want to go through another one like that. We’ve been here. We know a lot of the teams here in the Regional, which is good. It’s exciting to be back. We ended the tournament last year with a pretty bad loss. We know what it feels like lose and be right there, so we just want to turn things around this year.”

Madden on whether or not increasing the Regionals to eight teams affects the pitching staff:
“Adding a couple of teams adds another game, but I think having at least one great pitcher still gives you a pretty good chance of getting through. It is great and you are very lucky if you have more than one. If you have two strong pitchers that is only going to be great, especially any time you add a couple of teams to a tournament. I think pitchers like Jessica and some others can definitely carry a team, but the important thing is to stay on the winning side of things. That makes a huge difference.”

Sallinger of the pressure of pitching day after day in Regionals against top competition:
“We played a lot of close games this year, so I’m used to it. It’s makes easier being put in the position of coming to Regionals and pitching in one- or two-run games against good teams. But I don’t really think about it. I just come out and pitch my game. You can’t have any mistake pitches when you are playing really good teams like this. Every pitch counts.”

Madden on the expansion of the NCAA Championship field to 64 teams:
“I think it’s great, especially for those teams that don’t get the automatic bid from their conference and don’t have 40-plus wins. I think it’s really important for them and gives them an extra opportunity for the postseason. But it’s great for the sport to get more teams in there. It gives us a broader base – more schools, more fans and more games. It was definitely a great thing to do.”

-GT-

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