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June 3, 2010

Virginia Head Coach Brian O’Connor
Opening Statement:
“I would like to welcome everybody to Charlottesville. We are very honored to be a host site this year and I know you will be treated right this weekend. Welcome. A little bit about our team. I have never been around a team that’s played more consistent baseball throughout the entire season. It’s been noted that we very much have a veteran ballclub. We have accomplished some things this year that we have not accomplished before in our program and we are very proud of those things. We played a really complete regular season. The regular season is over and now we move on to the postseason, the most important part. We are looking forward to some great baseball here in Charlottesville this weekend.”

On playing VCU:
“Coach Keyes and I have played each other every year I have coached here at Virginia. We’ve had some really great ballgames and this year was no different. We were tied early. We got some runs early and they fought back. We pulled away in the back half of the game. Like always they have some very talented position players who are athletic. They have quality guys on the mound and we are going to have to come out tomorrow and play our best baseball to have a chance to win. Tomorrow is a completely different ballgame.”

On playing in front of the home crowd:
“We have had great crowds here. Our fan base has really been built over the years and it continues to progress this season. The last three conference weekends we had pretty much sellouts – close to 5,000 – which for us, is a lot. It’s not Ole Miss – what we experienced down there last season where there was over 10,000. But for us it’s a great environment. Hosting a regional, as much as it’s nice for our players to play in our home ballpark, it’s a great reward for our fans who have supported us all year long.”

Mississippi Head Coach Mike Bianco
Opening Statement:

“As the head coach at Ole Miss, we are very excited to be here. Certainly it is a great field with St. John’s, VCU, and No. 1 ranked Virginia. Unlike Virginia, we have been very inconsistent. We have been up and down; at times we have been very good in a very good baseball conference but at times, we haven’t been so good. We are hoping this weekend we can put it together and play good ball against three really good opponents. We want to put a good weekend together; I think that’s what it is going to take to make it through this regional. We are certainly excited to be here and open up against St. John’s.”

On whether pitcher Drew Pomeranz will start on Friday and UVa switching up its rotation:
“There are times, like this, not to make light of things. When you’re playing really well, you’re the No. 1 seed, and you’ve been very consistent like (O’Connor) said about his club, sometimes you can think like that. But we play a very good St. John’s team that just won the Big East Tournament, beat a national seed (Louisville) twice. We need to pitch our ace and win and move on.”

On Tim Ferguson:
“Tim has swung (the bat) well the last week or so. Obviously it’s not a secret the last few weeks of the season Tim didn’t have good series, but I thought he swung well and a little more like the guy he was at the beginning of the year. Tim is a career .343 hitter for us and we need home to be successful. He knows he has to swing like he is capable of swinging. We talked about that a lot this week – being aggressive, confident. Hopefully he will do that this weekend. “

St. John’s Head Coach Ed Blankmeyer
Opening Statement:

“We are very excited to be here and Brian, if you could spot us a few runs, I would appreciate it. Brian is talking about his club being experienced and Mike is talking about his club being inconsistent. Our club is young. I call them young and dumb and I hope they continue to be dumb the rest of the week, because we played pretty good ball this past weekend. We are excited to be here and know we have a tough challenge ahead of us.”

On starting pitcher Kyle Hansen:
“When you have a young guy like that with a few days rest, I just wanted to make sure we made that decision. Kyle Hansen will start on Friday. He has had a great year – he has been consistent. We had him pitching out of the bullpen early and as he got more control decided to bring him in a starter setting. He went from being our No. 3 starter in the BIG EAST to being our No. 1 starter in the BIG EAST. He’s proven himself throughout the year. The kid is a winner – a strike thrower. He is quite different that his older brother, Craig Hansen, who plays in the big leagues (Pittsburgh Pirates).”

VCU Head Coach Paul Keyes
Opening Statement:

“We are very excited to be here. Obviously we have been in quite a few regionals in the past but not in this state. So to be in a regional in our home state, playing Virginia, a quality program – we are excited to do that. Our guys are excited and it’s always are goal to be the best team we can at the end of the year. We are going to go out and play as hard as we can.”

On Virginia:
“They are a very good, deep, experienced team. They don’t make mistakes, not a lot of holes. They have a solid bullpen and starting pitching all the way around. They have a lot of options once the game goes along. For us, we are going to have to play above ourselves a little bit to be in the game. Hopefully we can pitch well enough early to keep it close and pull something out at the end. They are very good and it’s going to be a tough game for us.”

On being the underdog:
“We just talk about execution. You get into a situation, you try to execute it. Making your pitches, having good, quality at-bats. Don’t waste a lot of energy on things you don’t need to waste on like mentality, just play the game. We are fairly young on the mound, obviously, and but pretty experienced in the bullpen. The key for me is getting through the first five innings and putting yourself in position to win in the backside of the game. I hope we can do that. I think our guys will play loose and show well. That is what we are hoping to do.”

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