Baseball Quotes: Pepperdine, Davis & Arkansas

Read on for reaction and commentary from Stanford baseball's weekend wins over Pepperdine, UC-Davis and Arkansas. Plus, TheBootleg.com has word on who Mark Marquess and Steve Rodriguez will likely be starting in Monday's 1 p.m. Regional Final.

Sunday:Stanford 13, Pepperdine 1 and Stanford 8, UC-Davis 4

Stanford:

Coach Mark Marquess
"It was a very fruitful day for us. Obviously the first game against UC-Davis was a great college baseball game, with us playing well and especially pitching well. Jeffrey Inman pitched one of his best games of the season and we had some really clutch hitting, keyed by Brent Milleville's home run in the ninth. It was a great game and we were able to come back an hour later and beat a very good Pepperdine team. We were fortunate to get some runs early and we got a complete game by freshman Danny Sandbrink, who pitched a great game. We got through 18 innings and only used three pitchers, which is what we really needed to do today. It's been a long day, but we need to be ready to come back tomorrow and play one more.

On Sandbrink:
We felt he was a pitcher who was capable of going deep into the game for us. We didn't necessarily think he was going to throw nine innings for us, but we knew he was capable of pitching well for us. He got the big lead early and threw the ball over the plate and really had a strong command today. It was a huge effort on Sandbrink's part.
[Note: Sandbrink had never thrown nine straight innings before.]

On the season to-date:
As a coach who has coached a little bit you always get surprises, some good and some bad. This has definitely been a good surprise for us the way our team has battled back because we were picked sixth or seventh in the Pac-10 and have been able to get this far. The expectations nationally were very low, so I am very proud of them this season and how we are now in position to win this Regional. This year has been a lot of fun and, even when we lost, we have been in most of the games we have played this year. We have had a lot of guys battle back and play hard this year and this has been a year where we have had a lot of guys contribute to our success.

I ask about tomorrow's starter:
We'll probably start Davis if he feels alright. And if not, we'll see who else is available. But Erik thinks he'll be fine.

I ask who might be available in relief:
We have a lot of guys who can pitch tomorrow and should be ready. I think Storen will be available, I have Stringer, Pracher and Hancock, so we are in good shape. We have plenty of arms, but Pepperdine has plenty of arms as well, including their big closer. It is such an advantage to win those first two games, as you play one less game.


I ask about whether he'll limit Davis' pitches after Davis started Friday :
Not as long as he's getting them out. [Smiles] If he's pitching well, I won't get it out of his hand. He won't give it up. He might say tomorrow he can't go. This time of year, it's just how they feel. I'm not worried about Erik, if he thinks he's not sharp, he'll tell me and he won't go. That's why I'm not sure it'll be him.

On the left side of the infield:
Our two freshman have been so good for us on the left side of the infield. The biggest difference between this year and last year has been our defense, and that has resulted in us improving our overall play. Zach Jones has been great for us, he is a converted catcher and has really learned his new position well. He can make plays for us and Jake Schlander has been making plays all year at shortstop. We made a couple of silly errors today, but overall it was very good baseball and Cord Phelps also made some really nice plays. Today was just a great environment for us and it helped our team to play in front of a lot of great fans.

First Baseman Brent Milleville
On the game-winning homer against UC-Davis:
I was up in a big situation and I was trying to hit a line drive because I didn't want to hit into a double play. I got a fastball and I hit it. I wasn't thinking too much and I was just able to hit the ball well. After I hit it I knew it was going to be a homer, so I got pretty excited.

On momentum:
Momentum is huge in baseball, so when one guy starts hitting, usually the whole team starts hitting and seeing the ball well. I think it helped us out a little bit against Pepperdine.

Rightfielder Toby Gerhart:
On momentum:
We haven't been swinging the bats well for most of this tournament, but we were able to get the five runs in the ninth inning against Davis, and we have really showed that hitting is contagious. It really opened the floodgates and carried over to this game. Hopefully it carries over to tomorrow.

On his 4-of-5 performance:
I have struggled a lot this year, but lately I have been taking some good batting practice and have been working hard and today I saw the ball well. I definitely feel like I am hitting my stride and things are going good now.

Pitcher Danny Sandbrink
On the early runs:
Getting those early runs was so huge tonight as pitching is much easier when you get the early lead. I was able to attack the plate more and I was really hitting my location tonight and had a chance to get some outs.

On his mindset:
I just came into the game thinking one pitch at a time and one inning at a time. I wasn't thinking two innings down the line and I just wanted to locate my pitches and work on putting up zeroes on the scoreboard.

Pepperdine

Coach Steve Rodriguez:
If you take away the four-run first and the six-run fourth, it was actually a pretty decent ballgame. [Smiles.] It's frustrating when your team doesn't show up and play the way they did all year.
Matt Bywater has been tremendous for us all year and he just didn't come out and throw the way he is capable of throwing. The one great thing about postseason is that we have one more chance tomorrow.

I ask who might pitch tomorrow:
We are going to everybody. Everyone is going to have to pitch tomorrow. We are still debating on which lefthander to throw, but we will be throwing a lefthander. We are not sure if it is Robert Dickman or Scott Alexander, but it will be one of the two.

On Stanford having the momentum advantage:
It's baseball, that is the thing. We hit the ball hard and didn't get any hits, they hit the ball hard and got a lot of hits. We just have to go out and play the game well tomorrow. We did not do that today. If we do the same thing tomorrow, we can probably expect a very similar score. If we play this game as poorly as we did today, we can't ask for any kind of different result. I think we will come back a little different tomorrow.

I ask about Erik Davis possibly starting tomorrow:
He is a very good pitcher, in fact I recruited him. I know what he is all about. I know they are going to come out ready to go tomorrow regardless of who is on the mound, so we have to be ready to play.


Saturday: Stanford 5, Arkansas 1

Marquess:
It was a good game, especially our pitching. Austin Yount did a great job. Jeremy Bleich, that was the longest he had pitched in about seven or eight weeks since he came down with a little tendonitis. We were hoping that we could win this game and win it with just two pitchers. We were able to do that so I thought that was good. I thought there were a number of situations where they had runners on base and we were in big spots where we got out of them. Austin did it a couple of times and so did Jeremy. I don't know how many guys they left on base, but quite a few. They had some opportunities, but I thought when we got the two runs in the eighth inning that was huge because it gave us a little bit of a cushion. The four-run lead was big I thought. Randy Molina came up with some big hits for us. It was a good win for us, obviously in a an elimination game. I thought it was really due to the pitching of Austin Yount and the pitching of Jeremy Bleich.

On Austin Yount:
He is modest, but he really is a good hitter. He DHed for us a lot at the beginning of the year. I keep wanting to ask if his arm is alright because he will take infield, but he has a rubber arm. He is a very good offensive player though. We are not going to limit him to one or the other, but if you would probably say he is more of a position player than a pitcher, but he has pitched phenomenally for us.

On Jeremy Bleich:
It has been very difficult for Jeremy because he was our Friday starter, but then he has been limited. Against Washington State he pitched three shutout innings and then his elbow started bothering him. We though the worst, but fortunately it was just a strain, a little tendonitis. We have been very conservative and it has been eight weeks now. It has been tough, he hasn't been able to travel and he is one of our leaders, but we were hoping that he could come back if we got to postseason and help us and obviously he has. He helped us today and got us a save and kept us alive.

On Stanford's execution:
We had a double steal that helped us, we got a couple of sacs, and a drag bunt. We played solid baseball. We could have had more base runners, but the ones we had on, we got in.

Austin Yount
On getting out of jams:
I just tried to throw strikes. I had an idea of how to pitch Arkansas and I just tried to mix pitches. I just tried to stay with that approach. Fortunately in the fifth inning the ball bounced into my glove, which was very fortunate.

On moving to pitcher:
It came up when Jeremy had some tendonitis, we needed some pitching and I offered to fill in and got a chance. I just tried to throw strikes and have done alright so far.

On whether he sees himself as a pitcher or a third baseman:
I am not sure, I just do whatever I can to help the team. Some days I feel better as a pitcher and some days I feel better as a hitter.

DH Randy Molina
On the first postseason win:
It is big to just get that first one out of the way. One thing I have noticed about this team is even when we are down in the late innings or not winning the series, we never press. We just work back, work hard, and play our game. That is the plan for the next three games. Just go out there one day at a time and play the baseball that we know how to play.

Pitcher Jeremy Bleich
On Yount's performance:
He has done a great job for us, offensively, defensively, pitching, just filling in all the gaps. We have had solid portions of the season where we have had good offense or good pitching, but you need a lot of it. There have been some times where he has come in and got a pinch-hit and then he is out of the game for a pinch-runner. He has started pitching on Friday nights and got us three or four wins. Austin has done a great job for us and with the leadership we have. I am really happy to be a part of.


The Bootleg Top Stories