March 18, 2011

Recap |  Box Score

Head Coach R. Jones

On Garrett Cannizaro's success in the cleanup spot
"He swung the bat well (as the cleanup hitter) tonight. We wanted to get Jeremy (Schaffer) up in the first inning if we could, so we put (Jeremy) in the three hole. Early in the season, Garrett was really inside-outing the ball. He is starting to get the barrel on the ball a little bit more, and you're starting to see the results of that. I think that is one of the keys for him being able to hit in that spot is to be able to drive the ball."

On getting protection behind Jeremy Schaffer
"If anybody could protect him there, it would be good. And then Schneeberger getting it going protects Garrett a little bit. When you've got a guy who has put numbers up like Matt Ryan and you're hitting him down a little bit, although that may change and we may move him back up in the leadoff spot before it's over. I want to make sure we've got table-setters as much as we can. It is still a work in progress. We're not there yet. Conference doesn't start until next Friday."

On Conrad Flynn's strange seventh inning
"He just lost his breaking ball. He just lost the feel for it. For him to do what he did into the seventh inning, he was cruising with less than 60 pitches. He was just cruising and that is just uncharacteristic. You wouldn't expect to see that again."

On whether he would have thrown Conrad Flynn the whole game
"Well his pitch count was down. But it depended on how much we stretched the lead because again we want him fresh and, we are going to alert the media on this, but we've got some injuries in our pitching staff. So you don't want to push him if we didn't have to. That is why you saw Zizinia come out and Greg (Miller) in the ninth. We stretched the lead a little bit and Greg did a good job."

On Sunday's starter
"(Robbie Broach) will start on Sunday. For Tuesday, again, Alex (Byo) is not ready yet. It is probably going to be another week to ten days if I had to guess, and I am just speculating. That puts us in a position where Zizinia has to be sort of a swing guy. You got David (Napoli) too. Once spring (football) is over, we'll have D.J. (Ponder). He went back out and threw again yesterday. So he's had I think two days this week where he's thrown 80 balls, and he went in relief against a nationally-ranked team (Wichita State) and then five innings of shutout on Wednesday. That is multi-tasking and you have to be careful about his arm there and protect him."

On Zizinia's great performance
"He struck out the side. That is pretty good. He's a guy with really good stuff who is just experienced, mature, and wants to be in that situation."

On strong options in the bullpen
"We've been using him (Zizinia) as soon as he got healthy. You saw us start running him out there. He had a start on Tuesday, he's been in relief, he had five innings at Ole Miss, and the relief work last weekend. He's been used as much as we can use him without putting him in harm's way again because, again, he had some issues early in the season too."

Sophomore Shortstop G. Cannizaro

On protecting Jeremy Schaffer by hitting cleanup
"It is great hitting behind Jeremy because he's going to get the dirty stuff, and I get a chance to hit the fastballs. As a whole, I think every single person on the team, one through nine, has been swinging the bats night and day better than when we started the season. The season is still early, and I know the averages might not be there, but we are 50 at-bats in, and already the averages are starting to go up. We weren't panicking early. We were doing the little things we had to do to win, and we are continuing to do those things, and once the bats start rolling around and heated up, I think we're going to be a tough team to beat every day."

On the good timing of the offense heating up
"They say pitching and defense wins games, but the bats are what get you the runs. If we keep swinging the bats like we're doing right now and we carry this into next weekend, I think we'll be good, but we still have two games left this weekend, and we are looking to beat these guys two more times."

Senior Pitcher D. Zizinia

On coming into the game with bases loaded and no outs
"When you got that kind of situation, the last thing you want to do is walk someone, so just getting ahead first pitch, and if they hit it, they hit it. I was trying to get a ground ball, and I was lucky enough to miss some barrels. It turned out pretty well."

On whether he was looking for strikeouts in that situation
"The first couple of pitches, I wanted to get ahead, and then if I'm 0-2 or 1-2, I am going to try to throw it pretty hard and blow it by them. Mainly just getting ahead and trying to throw first-pitch strikes."

On how he felt warming up
"It doesn't take long with the adrenaline going. It was just five or six pitches in the bullpen, and it's here we go. And then I got eight (pitches) out on the mound, but I didn't even need eight. I just threw a couple and I was like `I'm hot let's go.' I don't need to waste anymore bullets."

On whether he thought he would come in given the way Conrad Flynn was throwing
"He hit a guy and then maybe a hit and then he hit another guy, and then I starting stretching, and it was `Z go get hot.' When you hear your name get called, you get pretty amped up."

On the way the team is playing
"It's fun. This is the first time in a while where everyone is carrying the load. It's fun watching this. When they score this many runs, it makes it easier on us."