HOOVER, AL. – The Alabama baseball team held a one-hour practice and met with the media on Tuesday at Regions Park in Hoover in preparation for the 2010 Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament. All eight teams participated in the practice/media day session at Regions Park.
The Crimson Tide practiced from 10-11 a.m. (CDT) with infield-outfield practice, followed by a round of batting practice. The team then met with the various media outlets covering the event, including broadcast crews from SportSouth and Comcast Sports Southeast who will be televising the five-day event.
Senior catcher Cody Trotter, junior shortstop Josh Rutledge, junior second baseman Ross Wilson and sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas spent time with the SEC on-line video services to cut promos and interviews that will run on the video board at Regions Park throughout this year's tournament.
Alabama (34-21, 15-15 SEC) will open the tournament against Auburn on Wednesday, May 26, at 9:36 a.m. (CDT). The game will be televised by SportSouth with Dave Neal and Larry Conley calling the action from Hoover. The game will also be shown on the internet at www.ESPN3.com.
Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard, junior right-hander Jimmy Nelson, Rutledge and Dugas also met with the media on Tuesday and here are some of those comments:
Head Coach Mitch Gaspard:
On what's a stake this week:
"I think the most important thing for us right now is to try and keep the good momentum we have going. We have a five-game winning streak and I think our psyche right now is we're in a better place than we have been in a long time. I think that is important for us to come in here and win some games and play well consistently throughout the tournament."
On the wake-up call for Wednesday's 9:30 a.m. game:
"It's early. We looked at doing it a few different ways. We are actually going to have breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and leave straight from breakfast, trying to take as much time as we can to keep normalcy in some of the things we do. One good thing about the early practice time today is we got up early and left Tuscaloosa at 8 o'clock. This will be back-to-back days and we have emphasized to tonight and getting to bed early and getting some rest."
On making the SEC Tournament:
"For all the teams this is a reward. Obviously it's competitive and everybody wants to win. This is such a long season and to have a great tournament like this is really special. The SEC and the city of Hoover do such a great job with this event. It's a nice reward for all the players to come here and enjoy themselves."
Junior RHP Jimmy Nelson:
On any pressure of pitching in the first game:
"Not really. I don't feel any excess pressure on myself. You can't do that to yourself or you're setting yourself up for failure. I will go out and trust myself and trust my stuff and the coaches and players like have done all year and things will play out.
On teams approach heading into Wednesday:
"I think we have good momentum and confidence. We have good momentum and energy going right now and as long as keep winning that will get greater and greater as we go along in the postseason."
On facing Auburn's lineup:
"They are a very good hitting club. I can't put too much pressure on myself. I have to go there and trust myself, the coaches and the players behind me. I will just pitch to contact like I have all year and let my defense behind me make the plays like they have done all year."
Sophomore CF Taylor Dugas:
On what's at stake this weekend:
"We want to continue to play well and carry out momentum that we have so far. We want to play well. We are playing a really good ballclub tomorrow and a lot of people will be watching. We have a lot a stake."
On UA's late-season success:
"We played really well at the beginning of the season and then we hit a lull. We had to overcome a lot of adversity in the middle of the season. It taught us to play from both sides. We have been there before and now we have the momentum back on the good side. We are not taking anything for granted anymore."
On the key to being successful this week:
"I think the key is to come out tomorrow and get started on the right foot, win that first game and go from there."
On your season so far:
"It's been a good year. It's not where I would like to be or where we would like to be as a team. Everything that has happed so far has been good. We've had a good run so far. This is a new season at the end of the year, so tomorrow it starts all over."
Junior SS Josh Rutledge:
On playing the SEC Tournament:
"It's great to be here. We did what we wanted to do and made the tournament. Now everything we have done is behind us and we want to go from here and continue to gain momentum and keep playing well."
On if playing Auburn makes it easier to play at 9:30 a.m.:
"Absolutely. This is going to be a great atmosphere even though we are playing so early. There will be a lot of people come out and watch this game and it's going to be a fun game."
On Auburn's team this season:
"They have been playing really well. They have swung the bats well all year and I think it will be a good matchup between us."