May 30, 2002
NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament
Jay Bergman, Head Coach
“We are glad to be here and we have always enjoyed playing here. The results haven’t always been to our liking, but we are glad to be here, nonetheless.
“We have had a really interesting season. We had a really difficult February. We started off in February with a 1-6 record. We got to 5-10 and 5-11 and we ended up 40-20. So if you do the math we played pretty good at the end of the season.
“We have played our best baseball in the last three weeks. We don’t hit a lot of home runs; we only hit 30. In fact, we were the only team in our conference tournament last weekend that did not hit a home run. But we scored 40 runs during those 40 games. Our offense is hitting the ball in the gap as well as bunting and moving runners around. We have done a pretty good job of that during the last two-thirds of the season.
“Our pitching has been very consistent. Last year, we lost two All-America pitchers who were both first round draft choices. We have had to patch it together, but we have a nice little pitching staff. Our bullpen has been outstanding for us all year long. Von David Stertzbach and Zach Sutton have really done an outstanding job for us.
“Offensively, our best players are our younger players. We have three players hitting over .400 this year — Dee Brown, a football player who plays leftfield for us; Clay Timpner our centerfielder, and David Mann our designated hitter. David is about five-foot-five and he has hit over .400 and has an on-base average over .500. He just does a lot of little things and makes things happen for us. He has been a lot of he reason for our success.”
University South Florida
“It’s good to be here again. It’s always great for our players to be in the NCAA regionals and especially in a field like this and at Florida State who does such a great job of hosting. I also consider the coaches in this field to be three of my closest colleagues in the business. It’s really great to have a chance to compete against them.
“Our club had one of those sort of Jeckyll and Hyde years. We had a miserable February when we went 4-6. Then we got going and had a real good March, an OK April and an OK ending to our season.
Early in the year we got tremendous pitching. We really pitched it well but we didn’t get going swinging the bat. Guys that had real good years last year just couldn’t get it going in the beginning. We got into March and the hitters started swinging the bat well and the pitching went a little bit south. Like every club we had some injuries and missed two guys who would be in our starting rotation and we missed them for a great length of time. We got those guys back healthy at the end. If we pitch as well as we did in the conference tournament we will have a shot. The big thing for us is to try to get all cylinders going at the same time. I don’t believe we have done that for any extended stretch this whole season.
“We lost some games that kind of shot ourselves in the foot. I think we could have crossed over 40 wins had we had won the game we should have won. We lost two out of three to some clubs we fell like should have beaten, but, we had some really good wins along the way as well.
“We are happy to be up here. It doesn’t seem like 1992 since we have been up here. You guys (Florida State) do it right up here. We are happy to be up here in Tallahassee.
“Our season has been a real up and down season. We played our best baseball early. We sustained good baseball early and built up a good record. We had some big wins we beat the Gators up in Gainesville and we won our Stetson University Invitational. Like all of the Florida teams, we played pretty well but never could quite get up to the top of the standings in the Atlantic Sun. We stayed around third place all year and just couldn’t quite get up there. As it turned out, we got into the tournament and felt that was our chance to jump ahead of them (UCF and Florida Atlantic) and get the automatic bid, but as it turned out, it stayed exactly how it was with UCF winning, Florida Atlantic coming in second and us finishing in third. I think our RPI was in the early 20’s and with our record and our 42 victories, I thought the committee had to have us in there but you never know.
“We live and die offensively. I’m not going to stand here and tell you that we have great pitching. The little lefthander you are going to see open up tomorrow night is an interesting story. He’s a little guy named Roger Lincoln. We were the only Division I baseball team in the state a number of years ago that had a jayvee team. Roger walked in my office the first day of registration and said I want to play baseball. In our minds, he was a jayvee player. He came out, threw strikes and won three games for us as a freshman on the varsity. Last year he won six and beat the Gators in the regional in Miami to eliminate them and he has won 12 games for us this year. I guarantee you the Seminoles will not be overmatched by Roger Lincoln tomorrow night but he is a little lefthander that throws strikes. He’s got a huge heart and he will compete. He pitched a gem for us in the conference tournament as he shutout Florida Atlantic, 3-0. He has moved into our No. 1 slot.
“Offensively, we are pretty decent. We have three kids hitting over .400 or right around .400. We have two sophomores on the corners, Bryan Zenchyk at first and Brian Snyder at third. They are our three and four hole hitters and they swing it pretty well. We have a first team Academic All-American in Chris Westervelt who is hitting over .400 and he was just recently voted the Atlantic Sun conference Player of the Year. Those three guys are our money guys. Chris Cole, who was at Florida State last year, has contributed as our DH this year.
“We pick it up and throw it pretty well. We are fielding around .970 so we don’t beat ourselves a whole lot defensively. The big thing with is that our pitching has to keep us in the game.”
Florida State University
“We are very proud to her comments from these other coaches about Florida State hosting regionals. We feel that nobody does it better than our administration. I’d love to take some credit for this but I don’t do a dern thing. The administration gives us an opportunity to compete. It gives us an atmosphere that other people are proud to be in and it makes us to be a pert of this. Welcome to Florida State.
“You know when you go into this tournament and you have to compete against these three coaches, that you better play well. These guys have been around the block. This is a group of coaches that have gotten it done for many years. Let’s put it this way do you see these guys on my schedule?”