A: It all starts with the pitching. (Starter Mark) Sauls, other than 2/3 of an inning, pitched very good baseball. He pitched very strong through four innings. When he got into trouble, he just wasn't able to get out of it. That's something a freshman's got to learn. We misplayed a double-play ball and put him first and third, nobody out, instead of two outs, nobody on base. He has to overcome that. He made some bad pitches, got himself in trouble, and all of a sudden, we have to take him out of the ballgame. You learn that the more you pitch for Florida State.
Q: He does seem to have plenty of physical ability – is it just mastering the mental process of moving on from a setback?
A: I'm sure it's mental. He's got good stuff. He's just got to be able to throw that away. He's got to be able to spot his pitches and understand that he's got people behind him that can get the job done. Don't overthrow. Jamey (Shouppe) did a great job of getting him in the right frame of mind for today's ballgame. Did a good job of changing his mechanics. For four innings, he was very, very impressive.
The youth surfaced. To pitch for Florida State, you've got to be able to throw that situation away, bear down on the hitter. Nothing but youth, nothing but being thrown in the fire in his situation. He wasn't able to come out of the tough spot that we put him in. I've seen Matt Lynch do the same thing when he was a freshman, and Paul Wilson, and all the rest of them. You must understand, you must be able to throw everything out of your mind except to make the next pitch. The most important pitch you're going to make is the next one.
Q: Daniel Hodges made his 100th appearance tonight – only three people, and only one reliever, have made more appearances for FSU.
A: Good Lord willing, you're going to see him out there a whole bunch more this year. He loves to play – loves any situation. It doesn't matter if the score is 14-5, he's going to go out there and pitch hard. You really can't teach what Daniel Hodges possesses. It's something that you wish every pitcher was like: give me the ball, let me play. Let me tell you, there's a couple of guys that his influence is rubbing off on right now.
Q: Were you impressed by Blake Balkcom's performance in his comeback?
A: Well, Mike (Martin Jr.) has done a great job with Blake, trying to get him to go through the ball, keep the ball out of the air. He's a guy who's a very good defensive player, has a tremendous arm, and we just have to get him ready to play. I was kidding him, I said, ‘You didn't know you were going to be out here all day, did you?' It's the first time he's played in a while, and he played for about four hours. I was pleased that he had success. Basically, he's in spring training right now. He hasn't had a chance to do that much.
Q: Have you decided on a starting pitcher for tomorrow's game against Siena?
A: We're going to go with Glen Simon tomorrow. Glen is a freshman, making his first appearance, and I'm excited to see how he does.
Q: Is there any concern that your players will look ahead to Florida tomorrow? You have one game left with Siena?
A: Well, I think everybody's excited about the weekend. I told the guys, we can't concern ourselves with the weather – everybody's talking about it's going to rain Friday, may rain tomorrow – our job is to be ready to play baseball. That's what I'm anxious to see. Tomorrow, I know there's a lot of guys who are going to be looking forward to the Florida series. We can't look to the Florida series. We have to play tomorrow against Siena.
Q: How are you guys playing, heading into that series?
A: We made some mistakes on the bases. We strive to play a perfect baseball game. Blake Balkcom was doubled off second base, if the shortstop catches the ball. That kills you. The only thing is, that guy misses the ball. On a delayed steal, Eddy Martinez-Esteve did not stop. If he's tagged out before the runner scores, it doesn't do us any good. Yesterday, we should have been at second base on a ball hit in the gap, and we stopped. Things that are minor right now, because you're scoring 13 and 14 runs. But when you start playing in this league we're in, and you play the Floridas and the Miamis, you'd better tighten up.