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Virginia Baseball
NCAA Tournament Selection Show Quotes

Head Coach Brian O’Connor
On hosting a regional:
“I am excited to be hosting another regional here in Charlottesville. Our fan base has really grown and been tremendous over the last few years. We earned the right to be playing here at home and I think it’s an excellent field. East Carolina has a very good club; so does St. John’s and we’re familiar with both of those teams. Navy earned the right to be in this tournament. We have played them in the past and I know they have a good club. It should be a great weekend of baseball in Charlottesville and an exciting time for our fans.”

On being the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament:
“It’s just another thing that our program has accomplished. For the first time ever we are the No. 1 overall seed going into the NCAA tournament. I think that speaks to the level of play, of consistent baseball our team has brought to the field everyday this entire season. The committee recognizes that and it’s a tremendous accomplishment. That being said, it doesn’t spot us any runs Friday against Navy. It doesn’t do us anything other than tell people that in the NCAA’s eyes we are the top team in college baseball.”

On the ACC’s three national seeds and five host sites:
“It’s very impressive. It shows the depth and the high quality of play in our league. The fact that we won the regular season and won the ACC tournament really says a lot in a league of this caliber.”

On preparing for regionals:
“We need to continue to just do what we have done up until this point. We will approach our practice here in the middle of the week the same way we did in between the (North) Carolina series and the ACC tournament, and that is continuing to stress the fundamentals and do the things we do everyday to give us a chance to win. We are obviously very, very proud of winning the ACC championship and the way we played down in Durham in those four ballgames. Our focus and concentration needs to be on continuing to play that style of baseball this coming weekend.”

On the team’s reaction to being the No. 1 seed:
“The reaction in the locker room was one of excitement. There was a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ going on. It’s something that you’re proud of. They need to be proud of that today and then move on and concentrate on what we need to do to have success throughout the weekend. I think it really says something about the University of Virginia and our baseball program.”

On East Carolina, St. John’s and Navy:
“We (East Carolina and Virginia) are familiar with each other. We played three really good games early on this season and played each other three times last year. There is no question they have excellent pitching and have a very good club. We are very familiar with St. John’s because we had the chance to play them here twice last year in the (NCAA) regional. If you finish second in the BIG EAST like St. John’s did and lose in the title game, you have a pretty good club. They have all their players back from last season. They had a very good team last year. Navy, I haven’t looked at them at all, but I know they are very well-coached. When I was at Notre Dame, (Navy coach) Paul Kostacopoulos was the head coach at Providence and they were very, very good – one of the best teams in the BIG EAST at that time. I know how well they are coached and it will be a good ballgame on Friday.”

On the potential heat:
“They are talking here in Charlottesville about the temperatures reaching 97, 98 degrees tomorrow. It’s probably going to be in the high 80s, maybe 90 this weekend. It seems like all of a sudden there was a switch that flipped on. But the players are young and they love to play no matter what the situation is, and we’re playing NCAA tournament baseball. Whether it’s 30 degrees or 90 degrees, they want to be out there playing.”

On the pitching rotation:
“We’ll take a look at the other teams’ stats and rosters and probably make that determination by the middle of the week. We are going to give our team the best chance to win the whole thing, with the main concentration on the first game. We showed last week in Durham the quality of our starters and we have some really good depth in our bullpen. Whoever gets the ball on Friday, that guy will go out there and do the job.”

Senior pitcher Tyler Wilson
On being the No. 1 overall seed:

“It’s an honor to be selected as the No. 1 national overall seed by the committee. It just speaks to the amount of work our team has established all season long and really reaffirms how we feel about ourselves. We are very confident going into the postseason as everybody is in the tournament field. It’s definitely an honor but it doesn’t mean anything; we have three other teams coming in to the regional and they have earned the opportunity to be in the postseason as well. They are just as hungry as we are. We have to stay focused on the task at hand.”

On postseason play:
“Everybody on the team works for this moment, for the postseason. It all culminates with the ACC tournament, with regionals, with however far we are fortunate enough to go. A year ago, that image of the Oklahoma dogpile on our field, of not making it (to Omaha), that still resonates in everybody’s head. Everybody here is hungry — freshmen that haven’t experienced it, sophomores that are stepping up into bigger roles this year. Everybody is really excited about the situation we’re in. This is what you live for as a college baseball player and this postseason is going to be just as fun as the three previous ones.”

On closing out the ACC title game vs. Florida State on Sunday:
“In a situation where you have an opportunity to win a championship, I think everybody on the field wanted the ball, position players included. I can’t even explain how awesome it felt to have that opportunity. I am so thankful to the coaching staff to allow me that chance to close out an ACC title with those guys out there behind me.”

On the tournament field:
“Right now we are focused on Navy. You can look down the road; everyone does their brackets in college basketball if you want to compare it to that and what the matchups are going to be down the line. In baseball, anybody can beat anybody. I know it’s the same way in football and basketball, but baseball especially, anybody can step up and surprise in a number of different ways. Navy won its conference and they are coming in with the chance to play for a title just like we are. It’s going to be a great matchup. Going into a situation like that, there are a lot of underdogs that have the chance to surprise a lot of people. There are some two and three and four seeds that can make a run. Everybody is fully equipped to make a push and you have to stay focused on one game at a time.”

On going into the weekend:
“We just need to remind ourselves and be confident in ourselves that we are prepared. We do need to stay focused on the fundamentals play our game in that way. We need to do all the little things right just like we have all season and everything else will take care of itself.”

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