June 4, 2005
East Carolina Quotes
East Carolina Head Coach Randy Mazey:
On injuries to the pitching staff:
"It's almost fitting that the season ends with the part that gave us the most trouble which was pitching. We had so many pitching injuries throughout the year and we fought like dogs just to make it here. I'm awfully proud of our team. We lost five of our top six or seven pitchers for the year so we're pitching with a skeleton staff. To say we've overcome a lot is the understatement of the year. I'm awful proud of the way the guys have battled all year long. I don't know of another team in the nation that you could hand pick five of its best pitchers off of its staff and still have them make it to the postseason like we did. We knew it was going to be an uphill battle when we got here and we played as hard as we could. I can't say enough about every guy that wears the Pirate uniform and how proud I am of these guys."
On starting pitcher Ricky Brooks:
"We knew they were very offensive and regardless of when they score their runs, we knew they score a lot. We knew our relief pitching was an issue for us. With them being so offensive and us being so thin in the bullpen it was not a real good matchup. That's why we had to leave poor Ricky (Brooks) out there as long as we did. He wanted to finish the game in the ninth and he gave what I would consider a yeomen's effort today. I think he threw more pitches today than anybody in the history of East Carolina. He battled through it today and did a great job, we just could finish it for him."
On the injury to closer Kevin Rhodes before the game started:
"He's our closer. He's the guy that would have been on the mound in the ninth inning for sure. It's par for the course for the season. We didn't throw him yesterday against Arizona State because we were saving him for this game and we lost him right before the game. It was very indicative of the way the season went."
East Carolina Sophomore Pitcher Ricky Brooks:
On wanting to stay in the game in the ninth inning:
"It's a tough call for the coach. I felt if I would have stayed in I could have gotten some outs, but it's not up to me."
On getting out of jams:
"When I get in jams I don't really get down because I know I can make a pitch. You can never get down. Baseball is an up and down game and as long as you stay level you'll be fine."
East Carolina Junior Third Baseman Mark Minicozzi:
On the mood in the dugout after scoring the first runs in the game:
"I think everyone was really relaxed. We put a couple of runs up on the board and everyone got laid back and played our game."
On UNLV starting pitcher Derek Rodriguez:
"I tip my hat to him. He did a great job today. You can't be perfect on the mound and you've got to take advantage when he makes a mistake and he made very few."
UNLV Head Coach Buddy Gouldsmith
On the ninth inning comeback:
"Unfortunately, it comes from too much experience because we've gotten ourselves into that situation too many times. We have guys that are buying into the philosophy that if we can just get the next guy to the plate, we'll get the opportunity to get the big hit. We certainly did not get it done in the first eight innings today."
On the lack of offense:
"Their starter threw outstanding. He left with 130 pitches and got out of a lot of jams early. As was the case yesterday, we couldn't get a timely hit. Certainly it is unfortunate, playing at any time, to not be at full strength. I can certainly empathize with Coach Mazey in not being at full-strength and not being able to run your best guys out there. We went to Kyle (Tabeek) a little earlier than we normally would have today because our backs were against the wall and we needed to keep it at two runs. We felt like the way we swung the bats yesterday, we could score some runs. I wasn't expecting five in the ninth, but we hung in there for a long time."
On the comeback:
"It's probably our biggest comeback this year. They shut us out for eight innings and its incredible to get that kind of performance from both sides. That is a good club we beat out there today and we really hung in there. The credit goes to (our) guys today. With things not going our way, line drives being caught and running ourselves out of innings, our emotions could have been down and they could have stopped. Certainly, anyone would have understood if they didn't feel like they were going to win that game, but we talked about that, if anyone here didn't feel like we could win this game today, they should go sit on the bus and wait for us until we are done.
"Obviously, a win any way you can get it is good. We've been back through the loser's bracket in the conference tournament and been behind every time. This was just another piece of adversity to deal with and it makes us better. Certainly, it will give us confidence going into tomorrow.
"It's almost been there, done that. Everyone has a great idea of what its going to take to move on tomorrow and how physically and mentally demanding it is going to be. Everyone is going to have to be ready to go and when we finished today, we had to be ready to go. We have to win the first one and we will take it one inning at a time and try and win each inning.
"We don't try and go out playing for the big inning. We try and win every inning. We may bunt a guy over, not because the game dictates, but because it is zero-zero and we are trying to win an inning at that point. The way Derek (Rodriguez) was throwing, if we could score once, we could win that inning and get back out there for the next one."
UNLV sophomore INF Chris Bonnell
On the ninth inning rally and believing in the team:
"We've had our backs against the wall all year, like I said yesterday, and we've believed in ourselves. This is not the first time we've come back and we believed the whole way. We didn't want our season to end today.
"We got lucky. We got balls falling in and their pitchers didn't make pitches that they needed to. We just played smart and the rally just happened. It was fun. When you are down to the last outs of your season, you are hoping that things go your way and when they do, it is a great feeling. It's emotionally draining."
On the game-winning hit:
"It was an outside fastball. We had scored two runs and I had a runner on second base. All I was thinking was, 'Get a hit anyway I can'. I wasn't thinking to try and lift the ball or go to the opposite side; it was just, 'Get a hit anyway possible'. It was not the first time I've been in that situation. I usually stay relaxed and I was just focused on what I had to do and didn't feel the pressure."
UNLV senior RHP Derek Rodriguez
"Today, I executed my plan of locating my fastball on both sides of the plate and working (their hitters) down in the zone. The thing I wasn't satisfied with was the command of my curveball. It wasn't there today and I think it was 10-9 balls and strikes. I ended up throwing the changeup a lot more than I usually do and it worked for me. I worked off of it for my fastball and coming into the game, I was just hoping to give my team a chance to win and I ended up doing just that."
UNLV senior RHP Kyle Tabeek
"It wasn't my first time coming in to 'steal the win.' (Derek Rodriguez) threw a great game and I just wanted to come in and do what I could. I located my fastball and felt like I had good command of my changeup. I just wanted to make my pitches and my defense played great behind me. They gave me the chance to get the win."