May 25, 2006
HEAD COACH Wayne Graham
Thoughts on the game
It all started with the pitching, and Bobby had control of the game from the get go. We had some baserunning mistakes and things, but when you get that kind of pitching you're in business. We got enough hitting, so we're real happy because Southern Mississippi is a very good team.
On the base-running mistakes so far in the tournament
We'll mention it, definitely. You can't keep making a lot of mistakes like that.
On Bobby Bell pitching himself out of the bases-loaded jam in the third
He has a way of doing that. If you thought that was a rescue, you should have seen him against Tulane in New Orleans. Those were the rescues. I couldn't believe he got out of those. But he can do that.
On running Bell back out for the seventh
I don't think he threw but about 105 pitches (109), but I thought he was pitching well and I thought it would be kind of a waste to not to let him pitch another inning.
On reliever Bryce Cox's performance
The last four times he's been out, he's been almost invincible. He's been throwing the ball fantastic. Great fastball with a lot on it, lots of strikes and a good curveball. We need him.
On who will start Saturday's game
I was sitting out there in the ninth thinking that one over. We need Joe to pitch. It's kind of a funny thing, if you have to play two games on Saturday and you're wondering, 'what the heck.' He plays first base the first game and we lose, and he has to pitch the second game and he takes something out of him. I'll have to think that one over, because he's definitely got to work this weekend. Because he's playing first base, we kind of have to pick his spot for him. I've got to think about that.
On his staff's performance so far in the tournament
They definitely pitched well and created hitting problems. Eddie created hitting problems because the other team couldn't figure out when he was going to throw a strike. He's hard to hit with the curveball. But I think we'll get Eddie back to where he's throwing consistent strikes. He's obviously one of the hardest guys to hit in college baseball.
STARTING PITCHER Bobby Bell
On pitching out of the bases-loaded jam in the third
In that situation, I know they're a good hitting team and you just don't want to lay the ball fat over the plate. I was trying to make good pitches and bear down.
I struggled with my release point on the breaking ball at the beginning of the game and kind of found it a little bit more towards the middle of the game and worked the inside part of the plate on the fastball a lot more later in the game which helped me a lot.
OUTFIELDER Tyler Henley
On his frustration early in the game
I think all of us want to do really well, so whenever we don't succeed, that's frustration coming out. Any time we go out there, we want to win. I don't know that this is more important than any other win, but we get frustrated whenever we don't get hits. The pitcher did a pretty good job of keeping us off balance, but we did pretty well.
That's the frustration of wanting to get those RBI. Wanting to help the team out and hoping I'd come through this. It's probably more frustrating with not getting a hit.
SOUTHERN MISS QUOTES
HEAD COACH CORKY PALMER
Thoughts on the game
Rice really pitched well. We had that one bad inning where we made an error and made a couple bad pitches. You hate to say it but that was probably the ballgame. They just throw the ball so well. We've got a fine offensive team. They just overmatched us. They do that to a lot of people, and their staff is as good as anyone in the country. I knew we'd have to win a low-scoring game and you had to be on a fine line because of their pitching. That's the way it kind of shook out.
On Rice getting key hits
Again, they just make you pay. They're jus very fundamentally sound. They just had a big hit, the guy went the other way. I thought it was a pretty good pitch and they went the other way. I echo what Trey says. They have no fear pitching. I've beendoing this a long time, but there's no rhyme or reason for the pattern they use to pitch and that's a credit to them. There's no way to gauge it. You never know when a fastball, change-up or curve is coming. It's all kind of counts. In the nine years I've been in this program, there's no rhyme or reason for patterns. They'll switch it every batter. I've seen them go from change-ups to curves and back to fastballs. It's a credit to them. They don't have any fear. If they walk a guy, they know their stuff is good enough to come right back to get a strikeout or a ground ball.
On who will start tomorrow's elimination game vs. Memphis
Cliff Russum. I think we'll be fine. We've got a fifth-year senior on the mound and one of leaders in Russum. You've got a good guy to go out there, and I think he'll set the tone for us.
On having to play out of the loser's bracket
We feel like we've got Russum tomorrow and David Clark can go the next day. We're a little deeper then we used to be pitching. It's tough out of the loser's bracket, but we're here to play and win as many games as we can. We'll push forward. We've got a great challenge in Memphis. It's still a good offensive club that they are. They did it today. We've got a great challenge tomorrow. We're going to have to hit the ball.
On the USM/Memphis game tomorrow
Both teams are very good offensive clubs. I think with Russum pitching, he's been as good a pitcher as we've had down the stretch. You run him out there, you feel good that you've got a guy that's got experience and is one of your better pitchers.
SECOND BASEMAN TREY SUTTON
On Rice's pitchers
Any of their guys, they throw three pitches for strikes and they throw three pitches for strikes in any count. When they do that and they keep the ball down like they do, they get a lot of ground balls. Their defense plays behind them and they get people out.
STARTING PITCHER RYAN BELANGER
On his performance tonight
I felt good. I felt everything was working. I made some bad pitches at some bad times and they capitalized at the right times. They did like Coach Palmer said.
On Henley's two-run single
I tried to give them some good pitches and he fought me well. That guy hit the ball down the line. I don't throw very many change-ups, but I thought it was good change-up and he did a good job hitting that pitch. He hadn't seen it much, but he's just a good hitter. The next guy, I had him 0-2 and threw a pitch about five or six inches off the plate. He didn't try and do too much with it, did his job and hit it through the five-six whole.