COLLEGE STATION, TX -- “We come from the Atlantic 10 conference, which I think is the largest baseball conference in the country. Six teams qualify for the A-10 tourney and going in to the last week of the conference season, we had to sweep La Salle at La Salle to share the conference championship with Saint Louis. We played really well in the tournament, as we have for the past month. We have 10 seniors on this baseball team and it seems like they are not to be denied. We have a lot of experience on the baseball field. We’re leading the country in stolen bases right now. We have a lot of confidence going in. I think we have one of the best guys out of the bullpen in the country right now in Berny (Mitchem).” HEAD COACH TONY VITTORIO
Have you talked to any other coaches about what to expect down here in Texas?
“We know baseball is great in the state of Texas, period. We know we’re playing in one of the best facilities on campus in the country in Texas A&M’s facility here. We try not to look at all that stuff, play our own game, and understand what got us here. We have to remember what got us here, get on base and get to the next base. We’re very competitive from an offensive standpoint and we have four pretty salty veterans on the mound too.”
What it like going against a team who likes to put pressure on teams like you do?
“You look at their stats and their base-running scheme is probably the same as ours. Their job is to put responsibility on defenses, and that’s our job too. The difference is they might be a little bigger, faster and stronger than us, but as baseball goes anything can happen. We’re really concentrating on pitching and playing defense, and when we do get on base, staying within our game plan to get to the next base.”
On the success of the pitching staff on weekends…
“Our No. 1 and our No. 2 have gone deep into games, and that’s every weekend—not only conference weekends. If you really look at our overall record it’s not obviously very good. We’ve been terrible in midweek games and outstanding in weekend games, because we’ve been able to extend Mike Hauschild, Tim Bury, Parker Schrage, and then going to Burny. We’ve basically done it with those four guys on the weekends really from the very start of the season.”
On A&M starter Michael Wacha…
Well, obviously his stats are outstanding, he’s a strikeout guy. From what I understand he’s supposed to be a first-round draft pick. But at the same time, our conference, although it’s a Midwest/east coast conference, Friday night guys are all the same. We’re expecting the same thing. Maybe it’s something we have seen before, maybe it’s something we haven’t, but it’s a Friday night conference game. It’s our No. 1 against their No. 1, and we’re looking forward to it being a pitcher’s duel, a defensive duel, guys trying to steal bases. I’m looking for it to being a low-scoring game.”
Have you talked to your team about all the pressure being on A&M?
“We have 10 very experienced seniors, and I don’t think they even think or care about that. And if they do think about that, I think they’re very confident they can handle that and the crowd and other things. These are things we look forward to. We really look forward to the challenge of it and we’re looking forward to showing this regional what University of Dayton baseball is all about.”
SENIOR INF C.J. GILLMAN
On playing before really large, enthusiastic crowds…
“I’m really looking forward to it. Anytime you can get in an atmosphere like this with a lot of buzz, it gets you excited and jacked up. It gets you ready to play.”
Do you know a lot about A&M’s pitching staff?
“No. You can look at the scouting reports and stats and stuff, but outside of what their throwing and maybe velocity and stuff, I try not to look at it too much. It’s a guy with a ball and we have the same approach no matter the pitching. We’re going to go out there and try and execute the same way we have all year.”
SENIOR P BURNY MITCHEM
On playing in front of a large crowd…
“From a pitching standpoint, when you get in front of a big crowd like we’ll throw in front of, it always pumps me up personally. I know the other people on the mound are going to enjoy throwing in front of that many people.”