Mizzou Baseball Media Day Coverage

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MUTIGERS.COM

MUTIGERS.COM

Feb. 12, 2013

COLUMBIA, Mo. - In preparation for Mizzou baseball's season-opening series at No. 23 Southern Miss this weekend, the Tigers took time out of their practice schedule to meet with members of the media on Tuesday. Senior outfielder Scott Sommerfeld (Manchester, Mo.), junior infielder Dillon Everett (Phoenix, Ariz.) and junior ace Rob Zastryzny (Corpus Christi, Texas) and head coach Tim Jamieson all took time to talk about preseason practice and preview this weekend's series. Below are their quotes.

 

 

Mizzou Head Coach Tim Jamieson

On beginning the season and SEC play...
The SEC part comes four weeks from now and right now we're still trying to figure out ways to get these guys ready and getting ready for the start of the season comes first. We're certainly looking forward to the SEC part.

On getting ready for the season...
You can't change who we are in a year, not that we want to, but we are who we are. We've always done well competing against the better teams on the biggest stages so I expect that to be the same. It's going to come down to talent level and how we match up to the teams we're playing. At conference, and it doesn't matter which conference, how well are we playing and how well is our opponent playing. A lot of times it comes down to which team is playing the best and playing with the most confidence.

On making an early statement (against Southern Mississippi)...
Of course you go down there with the goal of at least winning two out of three, you know that's never going to change, but I think with us we've got a lot of newcomers and a lot of questions. What we want to do over time is answer those questions and I think the quicker we can do that the better we're going to be.

On the tornado in Mississippi...
Having been from that area, they are very fortunate that Mardi Gras is today because schools down there take a vacation for Mardi Gras weekend, so there weren't very many people on campus when the tornado came through. The athletic facilities weren't disturbed, our hotel wasn't disturbed, but it will be interesting to see what kind of devastation occurred. You know up here you see Joplin and Oklahoma City on a couple years ago, you feel for them but I don't really know the extent of the damage.

On the difference between this year and last year...
Well I guess a greater sense of urgency when it comes to the SEC and the recognition that comes with that and the realization that we're going to have to be more consistent and play at a higher level more consistently. But again, we're in a pretty promising place for the most part, we had a lot of players return so we're not going to change our identity in a year. Things I think we've done well are more intangible and those things will help.

On Eric Anderson...
He could probably pitch this weekend but I think it would be putting the cart ahead of the horse right now with him. I think our goal is to get him at least an inning or two against Memphis and build him up from there. But he looks really good, he's healthy and throwing very well. So we're very tempted but we're probably going to hold back and wait until next weekend. He'll travel with us but that's more to continue his rehab.

On having more stable pitching this season...
Well we feel like we have six or seven guys vying for at least two of those three spots. Rob is locked in, when Eric comes back its hard to imagine him not being one of those three guys. We've got Brett, Jace, John Miles, Alec Rash. So we've got options right now but of all of the years I've been doing this, the pitching staff usually gets thinner as the year goes on, whether it be confidence or injuries. Right now we're probably in a better position then we've been in several years.

On the pitching staff...
Well we know the three starters, we're sure we're going to get Alec Rash involved in some way, we've got four veteran guys at the back end of the bull pen; Jake Walsh, John Miles, Ryan, Keaton. So it's hard to imagine those guys not throwing. And we've got some freshmen to bring in so if the situation presents itself we'll get them out there as well.

On the Phillies 2nd rounder...
I think about Alec, first of all he's a great competitor, physically he's finally getting healthy and near 100%. He'll get experience with live hitters, experience what a game is like at this level so those are still adjustments he has to make and just because he's throwing great doesn't mean he'll pitch great. But he threw the best that he's thrown since he's been here so that's pretty exciting.

On catchers starting...
We know Kelly will catch Friday night. And then after that we feel like Jake and Dylan are both close in terms of where they are, and that's a good thing because they're both playing well. So those are two guys we need to involve. We know Jake will play at least one game this weekend but hopefully both will get plenty of at bats.

On Junior College transfers...
On of the better JuCo guys is Shane Segovia, he pulled his hamstring a few weeks ago and it's unlikely he'll play this weekend. He'll travel with us and hopefully we can get him an at-bat or two. When he does play he'll either be at shot stop or third base. Keaton Steel, is our corner infielder and closer, and very good at both and pretty good bat, probably third or fourth in the lineup. Jace James is starting on Sunday, he's a Junior College player. Dylan Kelly will start behind the plate Friday. That was the one move we made when we thought we were going to be in the SEC, all these guys were spring signs and all the guys in the fall were high school signs.

What to expect from infield defense...
We'd like to settle in the middle, short stop and second base, but were not there yet and the main reason is because Segovia has an injury. When he got hurt it created an opportunity for Dillon (Everett). Dillon was a second baseman, returning second baseman, and we moved him to short. It's created more depth for us

On playing time...
Realistically its going to be tough for us to get those guys the number of touches we'd like to. Unfortunately in our sport you can't call a time out and put a different guy in the line up and then take him out when he doesn't get a rebound. We've got to figure out a way to get them involved and it's going to be hard with six outfielders. It's going to be hard to get in some of the pitchers we'd like to get in, catching wise we'll be able to take care of that. But we're going to do our best. We don't look at it as one weekend, we look at it as almost 20 games until conference and that's a lot of opportunities. We don't want to lose a game because we're messing around with the line up but we don't want to lose potential winning games down the road because we don't want to change the line up.

On homefield advantage...
When South Carolina comes here, I'm pretty sure our crowd is not going to intimidate them. When we have a couple thousand people, that's a big crowd for us and that's about 3,000 below the average in the SEC. So it's not going to be that, it's not going to be the environment. It could be the wind and the temperatures that they have to adjust to when they come up here, and the same goes for other SEC teams. We're not going to have a whole lot of advantages at home against those teams and we wouldn't if we had 5,000 people in the stands. We're just going to have to be focused, play well.

Senior Outfielder Scott Sommerfeld

On how the team is feeling going into the game this weekend...
"I think we're just about ready to go. We're competing every day in practice and everybody's still fighting. It's a lot of fun to see everybody go out there and give their all. You can definitely tell the season is around the corner because you can just feel it in practice, people are really getting after that"

On the team having a whole new feel on the field...
"Oh yeah definitely. But you know we have really a good chemistry and we know who we are as a team. We're not going to be some team that has games that tries to hit the ball out of the park every time or throw it by you. But we know who we are and I think we are going to use that to our advantage. Use the small game and I think we're really going to surprise some people."

On his outlook for the season...
"Outlook for the season you know it's take it week by week. But I think looking ahead and at our schedule we definitely have our hands full as far as talent but I think we are just going to take it week by week and compete."

On how the new players on the team are looking...
"They're looking great. I was saying earlier that there's are a lot of anxiousness and nerves from the new guys but with the veteran guys it's really helping kind've ease them in and kind've let them know what to expect and kind've handle know what's coming up especially this weekend. So I think there is a good balance there between new guys because they're competing but you can tell there's a lot of butterflies and they're anxious to get out there just like we are."

On his mindset this weekend going into the season opener against Southern Mississippi...
"They're a great team from what I've heard. They're in Conference USA, have had some good teams in the past, and we're just excited for the opportunity to go down there. I've heard nothing but great things from the environment standpoint; so I'm excited to see a new challenge, new team, and just test our guys with how we have done in the fall and up to this point to see how we will do against those guys"

On if the team thinks the team can make a statement early against Southern Mississippi, a ranked team...
"Yeah, I mean we definitely have the talent and firepower. But I don't want to look ahead ourselves. Take this week and then move forward. But yeah they are a good team and I think it's a great test to start the season off. I think it's a great way to kick off our season."

On if he has been reading the blogs from fans about what Mizzou will do in the SEC...
"Honestly you know I've heard a lot of opinions and what not, but I'm just here to play ball. We've got 35 guys fighting for the same goal and I think that's what's important in college baseball."

On out of all the SEC opponents, which one does he think will be the team to beat if they want to make a statement...
"You know all the polls are out. Eight, Ten, whatever the teams are ranked. I think a lot of people aren't giving us credit. I don't know if there is one specific team just because this is a new year. Who knows how we will do, who knows how all other teams will do. I think we have a very solid conference and I'm looking forward to playing against everybody to be honest".

On if the tornado this weekend will affect the mindset of the team...
"Yeah, I don't know the extent of the damage. I was reading on the internet about it. It's just so crazy to think but I hope everything is ok. We still going to have the same mindset and go down there to compete. And I know those guys will be fired up. But from a tornado standpoint, we know the Joplin scenario we have been there so we have been there so we wish them the best safety wise"

On how he thinks baseball will help lighten up Southern Mississippi's weekend...
"Yeah definitely. Baseballs back and hopefully that will help ease some of the people."

Junior Infielder Dillon Everett

On the group of guys on the team this year...
"Yeah I mean same thing I have been telling everybody: we have a group of guys that just love to work hard. We've got great chemistry and a bunch of guys that are ready to start the season."

On how it feels to have a lot of veterans and newcomers on the team this season...
"Yeah we definitely have some new guys but I think those guys are going to step in and get the job done just like anybody who's been here. I think we all mesh pretty well. New season, new conference so we are all pretty excited about that."

On his mindset opening up on the road this weekend at Southern Mississippi...
"I don't think it matters much. We are just excited to play some games. I think have practiced scrimmage enough that we are ready to get the real deal going"

On if he has been reading any of the fan's blog opinions on how the team will do this year...
"Not much, we don't pay attention much to that"

If the mindset of the game is going to be different this weekend with the tornado that recently stuck Mississippi...
"I don't know how their mindset will change. I know ours is going to be the same. Our thoughts and prayers have been with them the whole week. And obviously, we hope they're ready to go like we are. But I think our mindset will be the same: go out there and get our first W."

On what was the first reaction from the players when they heard of the Mississippi that hit near the Southern Mississippi campus...
"Yeah man that was crazy because since I have been here we have had two or three times when the tornado has followed us. We didn't really look into that but definitely our thoughts and prayers go out to them"

On the pitching staff this season and with the many good and young arms the team has...
"Yeah, you know one thing we talked about the other day is that we're really deep pitching and we're pretty confident in a lot of guys out there. So I think it will just take a few games under our belt to get guys some time out there but once we get rolling we're pretty deep."

On if he is still rooming with Rob Zastryzny...
"Next door neighbors but we are still pretty close."

On how Rob Zastryzny has been this year...
"He's been awesome man. I hope he tears it up. I'm pretty confident he will. He's worked really hard and I hope the best for him"

On the increase Rob's confidence has been this year...
"Yeah, he's got that swag going into the season which is good"

On how it feels to be the only returning starter in the infield...
"It's good, I'm happy to be a leader out there and share what I know. I've been here for 3 years. But also the guys we have coming in they're all vets and older guys that have played a lot of ball themselves so I think we're going to mesh well together"

Junior LHP Rob Zastryzny

On how practices have been...
"Really good, we finally got outside for a good stretch. We've been in there for a week. I mean it's a little cold but if we have to battle the cold and so does everyone else that comes up here. I think we have been going a lot lately in the last two weeks. We are really looking forward to what we can next Friday and this Friday "

On if there is a different team coming into this year...
"We have a lot of kids that came back from last year teams with their experience. And all of the junior college guys have pretty much stepped up and showed that they're great. Junior college is like the struggle because they don't wash your clothes; they don't treat you like a baseball player. You do everything and they've been through it all so they are ready to come step up and earn their spot and keeps."

On how he thinks Senior Right Handed Pitcher Eric Anderson will affect the team pitching once he returns from Tommy-John's surgery...
"He's been good at 74 MPH, 84, and 94; he's just good when he pitches. I mean I just watched him when he was throwing out there and he's throwing 82,83,84. Whatever he is throwing he's just blowing people away. He's a horse up there, that's what I like to call him. I have a lot of confidence in him. No matter he pitches (this week) Friday, Saturday, Sunday he's going to be phenomenal and he's going to do his best.

On what tweaks he has made to his pitching in the off-season...
"Yeah, Location of the off-speed is what I have been working on a lot, consistency too. I know last year I would be like fastball and curveball are working got to use that; or fastball-change up. Now it's kind've like everything is working that's what I had to choose. Now I got some stuff to play with; it's not so predictable anymore. Now we're way deeper. Just been working on consistency and that's what I have been working on this year"

On Coach saying he had chance to be as good as Aaron Crow...
"Those guys from what I see are in a separate world because they're more mature and in the pros and everything. I know that I want to be as good as them and I work as hard as they do if not harder. I mean it's been a dream of mine. I came in here working as hard as I could when I got here. But if I even get to be considered in the same group as them it's an honor. But as every baseball player and my competitive job, I want to be better than them, keep working until I'm better than them."

On after having the tornado in Joplin two years ago and the tornado in Mississippi recently if that has changed the feeling for this weekend....
"No and I don't think it's changed for them either. I just think it's horrible with what has happened and I have been readying about it trying to keep up with it and stuff. And I was thinking how unfortunate for a town it is when a tornado rips through it. Because we had it in Joplin and I know we all went down there and helped fix houses and stuff. And I mean I imagine they (Southern Mississippi) will have to go down and do something like that too. And it will be a good experience for all of us. But baseball is baseball once you're out there on the field you forget everything else and there is no deeper meaning to games than baseball. It's just a game and we're all playing it and loving it

On his thoughts with facing Southern Mississippi, a very good team that is ranked and supposed to win Conference USA...
"I love it. I love when teams are ranked. I love when we're the underdogs because that's what I've been the entire time. In high school I came from a team that was always supposed to win. And now I'm on a team that's never supposed to win so I've have been on both angles. I would rather be the underdog."

On his mindset going into the weekend series against Southern Mississippi...
"Same as it's always been. Go out there and give us a chance to win. And hopefully we do win, if not then we have stuff to work on after that game. But my mindset going in is just attack them and give us the best chance to win."

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