Feb. 24, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -
Spring Sports Media Day
Head Coach Robbie Wine
Q: Robbie, just your general thoughts about this past weekend?
Well, we're disappointed that we didn't go 3-0. That fourth game was something special for our guys. We played some freshmen, Alex Farkes and Zach Ell, that we needed to find out about. Right now we have Bobby Jacobs catching every game. Some of those guys that didn't pitch in the first three games had an opportunity in the fourth game. We had a chance to win three games, and we dropped a couple fly balls and threw a ball away and it was all in one inning and we gave them extra outs in that inning. That inning cost us a chance to go 3-0. I thought there were some good arms out there. They're young and inexperienced, but you have to pull your hair out in some games. Offensively, we didn't swing the bats like I thought we should or will, but I think we will swing the bats well. We will work on that today. We struck out too much.
Q: Do you expect to pitch the freshmen and young guys the rest of the season?
Yeah, those guys that threw did okay. We traveled 28 down there, so we had to cut three guys or not travel three guys. With injuries and matchups, that won't be a problem. But those young guys have good arms. There are three stages. The first is in the fall when they are playing against their roommates and you see who can pitch. The second is the spring, what happens there. And then the third is showing it on the field. I think these guys showed they can compete out there and they thrived on the competition better than I thought they would.
Q: With a young team, what are your expectations for this season?
Q: Is there anyone on this team that you can see pitching in important positions as a closer, middle reliever, or spot starter?
It's a young team, I think we're new on the mound. On the field and position player-wise, we have some experience with guys that have been here a few years. Those guys are leading, and I like the leadership of the position players spilling over into the pitchers. We have a guy like Steven Hill who was a freshman, a quarterback in the fall, who decided to devote his time to baseball. He has stepped up. Walters stepped up in the fall. We're young, but we have some good leadership and they are embracing the young guys and teaching. The young guys are smart too; they're sponges. As a coach, all I can ask for is effort and focus and these guys are doing that.
The guy that will be outstanding in that role is Ryan Ignas
. He was all-conference third team pick a couple years ago. We started him last year, but some guys are just made for that middle relief role, and I think he likes that role. He doesn't like knowing when he's going to pitch. He'll go out and give us three or four good innings if needed or if a starter goes down. Those innings are the most important innings of a game. As for a closer, we don't have one right now. We tried Montesinos in that exhibition game. He's been in the low-90s on the mound with a good breaking ball, but we aren't going to rush him. He's a shortstop, second base, right field guy, and he played well for us this weekend. I think we have good competition everywhere, including starters.
Q: How does going 2-1 on the road to start the season help your team's confidence?
We went 2-1 the last two years. We just have to keep winning. There are guys in this program that have been on losing ball clubs. It's time for them to take care of business and not dwell on individual stats. We're going to win as a team and lose as a team.
Q: How hard is it to have to start the season with a long stretch on the road?
Obviously, we'd like to be playing here, but the snowstorms show why we can't. It's not fun, but on the good side, you develop strength and mental toughness. It's tough to go on the road. Nobody likes it, but it is what it is. There are no excuses. It's part of being a northern club.
Q: How is Blake Lynd looking so far coming off the injury?
I don't think his arm will ever be the way it was. I see him leading off. He's a scrappy guy that will bunt, hit-and-run , slap the ball around, have good at-bats, work pitchers. His arm is not the way it should be, but he can run down balls. He's life in the dugout. He does a lot of things leadership-wise for this team.
Q: What are you expecting from Elliot Searer? Do you expect him to be an everyday player?
He's another guy that came out of nowhere last year and played the outfield well. He's now at second base and might play a little shortstop. We've tried to get some consistency with him and being there all the time. He's a talented kid, he can run, throw, hit for an average. He has to get this home run thing out of his head, especially with the new bats, hitting line drives. He's got some talent.
Q: Is there anyone coming out of nowhere this year?
Not really. We went out hard and got a lot of arms. I think the key part is some of these freshmen stepping up. We went out and got some freshmen that we really like.
Q: What are your expectations for Heath Johnson this year?
He's still learning. He got drafted out of nowhere, couldn't even believe he was drafted as a pitcher. He only pitched 12 innings last year. It's all new to him. He's a small town kid, went to a small high school and small junior college. He's had his moments, but he still has some stuff to learn. When he learns how to handle pitching and pitch counts, he will really help us out.
Q: What was disappointing about this weekend, just the strikeouts?
Mainly the strikeouts. You can't swing for the fences, especially with these new bats. I don't think anyone will hit a lot of home runs this year. We hit some balls hard, but they're just outs. We can't be striking out 10 times per game. That puts less pressure on a defense.
Q: What are these new bats like?
We used wood bats all fall, and the ball jumps off wood better. With these bats, if you don't get the sweet spot, you better knock the ball down. It's not the hitters; it's the country. Everyone across the country says the same thing. They're trying to speed the game up, but I don't think we played a game under three hours this weekend.
Q: Do you think your lineup is pretty set after this week?
We have Parvin, who hurt his wrist before we left. He was penciled in to be our second baseman. But, that gave Elliot a chance to get back in the infield. I think we have 11 or 12 guys that can play in that lineup. Clark played well. Deegan twisted his ankle, but we're deep and have guys to fill the position. The freshmen could get some playing time with how they played too.
Q: How does that position competition help the team?
When you have a guy behind you that could take at-bats or outs from you, it pushes you. This is the first year that we've really had some depth to where there isn't a drop-off. We have a lot of different pitchers. I don't want guys to be satisfied with making the travel roster. There will be other guys competing for that spot.
Q: Is this year the most depth that you've had?
We have depth, but it's young. We'll see when scouting reports start coming out and teams adjust to players, how the players adjusts back. We surprised some people with these new guys, but we'll see once these reports come out.
Q: What's the biggest key to turning that depth into wins?
Consistency. We have to be able to hit without striking out and be able to pitch with other teams. With college kids, it's tough to get kids to adjust to pitchers. In Florida, we had a guy pitching against us throwing 82, but we had a hard time hitting him because we didn't adjust well. They're kids, when they struggle, they just go right back to high school or junior college and they have to adjust back.
Q: When you have so many young pitchers, is it more about approach than results?
Yeah it's effort and approach. I was pleased with the make-up and character of the pitchers and team this weekend. You preach it, but we now have guys buying into it and performing.