NCAA Lincoln Regional

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oral Roberts Press Conference

 

Head Coach Rob Walt

Opening Statement

“We’re very happy to be here. This is a great baseball town here. Nebraska has had a great program for a very long time. This is a beautiful facility, and we’ve heard great things about it. We feel blessed and fortunate to be in the NCAA Tournament. I know there are a lot of good teams at home who didn’t get into the tournament. We enjoy it, and we’re very glad to be here.”

 

On winning momentum in the postseason

“I think it’s a little bit of a season getting into the playoffs. Winning always helps. When you’re winning, it can bleed into the clubs and get you going. It can get you moving in the right direction. Winning is always a good thing. We hope it carries on and moves us in the right direction. It also does feel like it’s kind of a new season and a new start.”

 

On UC Irvine starter Scott Gorgen

“He’s pretty special. I haven’t had a chance to see him pitch, but he’s got near 100 innings and somewhere in the neighborhood of 55 hits. He’s missing a lot of bats, and he’s up for college pitcher of the year, and rightfully so. Those numbers are very, very special. He’s a special guy, and it’s going to be a very difficult test for us in the first game.”

 

On pitcher Michael Jarman

“We’ve kind of run them out the same way all year for us. Michael has been very solid, especially the last couple of months, and continues to improve. He’s got great stuff. Everything he throws moves, so when he’s on, he’s very difficult to hit. He’s a senior, and we’ll rely on some of that senior leadership. I expect a good outing from Mike.”

 

On preparing his team through the season

“I think what you have to do to prepare your club is a non-conference schedule. You try to go to as many places like this as there are in the country. We saw the University of Texas play. We played at Baylor and Pepperdine. We want to play at some of the best schools in the country and get our kids in that kind of environment. If you can get them comfortable in uncomfortable situations, obviously that’s key. Each year, you have a new team. You have new players; you have turnover. It kind of starts all over again, so you rely on guys like Michael and Brian to help the new guys get through the situation and let them know what to expect. There’s not really much that I can tell them other than to prepare and maintain what they’ve been doing all year. The worst thing they can do right now is do something extra and push themselves to do something special at this time. Just try to keep it ordinary and do the same things in practice. No one game is bigger than the other, so just continue to do your same routine.”

 

On Brian Van Kirk

“Brian has always had the potential to be special. He kind of went through the learning process last year and had an opportunity to play every day last year as a Division I guy. His swing, or his stroke, as we call it, is about as good as you’re going to see in college baseball. It’s a professional stroke. He has professional power, but without a solid approach, you’re going to move through some pitches. I think Brian has really stayed disciplined in his own this year. He didn’t chase as many pitches. He didn’t have as many home runs early, and I told him it will come. Just continue to do what you’re doing and stick with your approach, and things start falling into place. His approach and his maturity as a player and a person...I’m just very proud of Brian with all that happens here this weekend. He’s had a fantastic year, and he’s a great kid to coach and a pleasure to watch.”

 

On developing the pitching staff

“If you want to start from the beginning, it’s been a development process for us. I always thought Michael could be special, and at times this year, he’s been special. If you go to Baylor and punch out 14, I think that’s pretty good stuff. I think Baylor has one of the top 10 programs in the country. I know they’re not in the tournament, but that program is very, very good. It’s just a maturity process. It’s the same thing with Carlos Luna. It’s just a matter of developing their stuff, refining their mechanics. It’s nice to see them start to move in the right direction. The last few months, they have improved dramatically. I don’t necessarily know if we’re under the radar, but I think they’re under development and starting to pitch and peak at the right time.”

 

 

Senior Brian Van Kirk

On ORU’s offensive approach

“We have a lot of confidence. We feel like any guy in the order, we can score runs. Our offensive approach is don’t let anyone beat you. Keep your foot on the gas. See the ball, hit the ball. Try to keep it simple. We feel like we can score runs, and we have a pretty good offense.”

 

On Scott Gorgen

“I saw his twin brother last year, but I’ve never seen him. I think it’s exciting. You’re in the postseason, so you’re going to see everyone’s best. Obviously, he’s a fantastic pitcher. I think anyone who has a competitive nature will take it as it is. It doesn’t matter who it is, it’s going to be exciting.

 

On comparing last year’s regional appearance with this season

“Last year was the first regional I was ever in as a Division I. You get those nerves out of your system, and you know what to expect a little more this year.

 

On being named an All-American

“I take it with honor. That’s the regular season, and this is now. You take it one step at a time now.”

 

 

Senior Michael Jarman

On the pitching staff

“We’ve worked hard all season to get to this point. We struggled a little bit in the conference tournament, but we feel good and strong. I think all of our starters will have their first time in a regional, and it will be good experience for us. I think we’ll do fine.”