Erstad & player quotes

Come inside to read what Coach Erstad and players had to say about the Stillwater Regional today.

Coach Darin Erstad:

Opening statement:
"We're excited to be here. There is obviously some tremendous tradition in the programs here. I'm just excited for my boys to get back to college baseball after a little time off. Credit all goes to them so I'm looking forward to a great weekend."

On his connections to Oklahoma State Coach Josh Holliday and Stillwater:
"I do (remember Stillwater). I've told this story a few times. I remember standing on the warning track getting ready for pitches and watching them fly over my head and giving up 37 runs a game. We had tapes back then. They couldn't rewind the tape fast enough for the next guy to hit the homer. The feeling is mutual with Josh. He's just a tremendous coach who has done a great job keeping it rolling here. It's a real interesting regional from my personal standpoint with Cal State-Fullerton being a couple minutes away from Anaheim Stadium and my pitching coach being at Fullerton and winning a national title there."

On the strength of the regional:
"You look at the tradition of Fullerton, Oklahoma State and Binghamton, all in back-to-back regionals now. We're kind of the one that hasn't been here for a while so sometimes it's good to be the new kid on the block. I'm proud of this group of guys for being that group to get us back to where we had so much success. I just think it's going to be a great regional with great teams. We'll see what happens."

On if there will be any change to the game plan in the tournament:
"No. It's still going. It never stops. I think in college baseball, it starts in the very beginning of the season. We've tried for a couple of years to get that mentality to understand how important every game is and how much those losses to lower RPI teams can hurt you. We've stumbled a few times throughout the years with that. You hear boys talk about the Arkansas series. From that point on, they've been playing playoff baseball. We haven't taken days off at games or practice."

On the Fullterton pitching staff:
"They're leading the nation in ERA for a reason. I think from a pitchability standpoint, this is as good as it gets, their ability to mix pitches and their location. In all the games that we've watched, their ability to execute pitches, set hitters up and be able to work the ball from both sides of the plate with multiple pitches, you don't see that very often from a whole staff. They have three guys that are like that. It's probably the best overall staff that we'll see, so yeah, it's a good challenge."

Outfielder Michael Pritchard

On how the team has grown
"Coach pretty much laid it out for us that we were underachieving. We had beat some good teams, we had beat Oregon State and had played some really good baseball early. We came back and played Marquette and lost and weren't playing well. Coach challenged us and said, 'Hey, we can either go up or down.' I think we've responded pretty well. We've won 25-30, and the team really just dug deep. Coach always talks about writing a chapter and finishing your career out how you want to finish it out. Being a mediocre team wasn't something we wanted to be a part of. We just dug down deep and started playing really good baseball and whatever we did works."

On the personality of the team
"I think we do a little bit of everything well. Our pitching staff, we have three or four starters that we can roll out that do a great job. The back end of our bullpen like Zach has been solid all year. Offensively, we're not going to try to hit home runs, we haven't all year. We have a lot of guys that can do a lot of everything. If you go back last month, we won a lot of games at the last at bat, and that wasn't with the same guy. It's a different guy that comes big for the team, and that's what you need. We have a bunch of guys that are good, but we don't have a bunch of first-round hitters that are going to hit 25 home runs. That's our biggest thing, at the end of the day, everybody is ready for their name to be called, and they've done a really good job."

On facing quality pitching
"You can't get too big, especially in a game like what we're going to face all weekend with good pitchers. But we've faced good pitchers before and you just have to keep good at-bats, get pitch counts up — we have to have quality at-bats. We have to make sure we get guys on base, we can't get into a habit of one guy popping up, then the next guy popping up and then the next guy popping up and going one-two-three. So, I think that's going to be the biggest challenge for us and continually putting together good at-bats, extending innings and getting as many runs in as we can."

Pitcher Zach Hirsch

On how the team has grown
"I think specifically from a pitching staff standpoint, earlier in the year we had a lot of trouble with free bases and giving up a lot of those. So that was something that we really wanted to nail down. After the Arkansas series, our free bases went down pretty significantly. We obviously have a lot of talented guys on the team, people who have stepped up and rose to the occasion when we needed to. We've grinded out some big wins here and there, and now we're here."

On if he and Pritchard addressed the clubhouse
"Nothing specifically. Obviously, we made some comments here and there, but this team understands what it is going to take to get to where we need to go. We have enough talent, it was just a matter of putting it all together."

On the personality of the team
"In terms of balance on the staff, Mike described it pretty well. To have those starters that are comfortable to go five, six or seven innings strong. And then being in the back end of the bullpen, whoever's name is called, the guys are ready the entire year to step up and make a big pitch, but the offense has always done a great job of keeping the game close. We've been able to win those close games whereas the last few years we haven't been."

***Posted by Josh Harvey***

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