Baseball Press Conference Quotes

Feb. 13, 2018

Press Conference Video

SDSU baseball head coach Mark Martinez

Opening statement:

“We’re coming off a 42-win season, fourth regional appearance in the last five years, we’ve won four conference championships in the last five years, we have a lot to build on. What I will say is that coming into this year we really feel like our talent level upgraded from years past. This group that came in this year is the 14th ranked recruiting class in the country, now it’s up to the coaching staff not to mess them up. We’re looking forward to opening weekend and the rest of the season. I think we really have a great schedule, some great non-conference games. Obviously opening up with UC Santa Barbara and later in the spring we have Cal State Fullerton come to San Diego State, and that’ll be an exciting weekend for us. Between that, we still have to win the Mountain West Conference and on top of that, I think the last time we hosted the conference tournament was 2010, we’re hosting the tournament. The trick for that is that we have to be one of the top four teams, so that’s the goal, to be one of the top four teams in the conference and host a great baseball tournament at the end of the season.”

On pregame ring ceremony happening Friday:

“It’s exciting. It’s the first time we’ve done it at baseball. Typically we’ve gotten our championship rings here at Viejas Arena in front of The Show and it’s really cool. This year, I feel like it’s going to be exciting to bring back the guys from last year’s team that aren’t currently on the team and come back to the baseball field and celebrate another championship at Tony Gwynn Stadium. We’re very excited about that. We’re also excited about having some of the guys that graduated or playing professional baseball to come back on the Mesa and hopefully help us win some games against UC Santa Barbara.”

On what to expect from UC Santa Barbara:

“Their pitching is going to be very, very good. I think they’ll be strong on the mound. They’re similar to us, they’re going to have a lot of new faces on the yard. Some kids that were hurt last year didn’t play when we were at Santa Barbara last year. They’re going to have some experience, some new guys, but they’re going to be very strong on the mound. It’s going to be a great test for us. They were in the College World Series a couple of years ago, and it’s a great way to open up the season and kind of get a barometer of where we are moving into our 2018 campaign.”

On replacing offensive production that was lost from a year ago:

“I think the biggest thing is that, as I alluded to before, is you just have to recruit great. I think we have some really talented young men. Local talent, as well. Casey Schmitt, who is a freshman, should plug in at third base, he’s a highly regarded third basemen from Eastlake HS. Matt Rudick is another local product, an outfielder. Chad Bible, who played last year for seven games but had to go through cancer treatment the rest of the spring, he’s basically kind of a new guy into our lineup as well that can provide some punch. Who we have returning is some very experienced players, Chase Calabuig, David Hensley at shortstop, Dean Nevarez, Jordan Verdon, Jacob Maekawa, Julian Escobedo, so we do have some returners that have a lot of experience and they also have experience under the big bright lights of regional play. We’re excited about those veterans coming back, and they’ll hopefully kind of help us manage this season and win another Mountain West Conference championship.”

On where the strength of the program lies:

“We feel like the the strength of our program is two spots, our pitching staff is upgraded, we have some better arms on the weekends, our bullpen is exceptional, and the strength of our team is our outfield we have five very legitimate outfielders and only three can play, but we can mix and match and put some different guys in the lineup and kind of keep in the lineup consistent as well so we’re very excited about those two areas of our program.”

On if the team has changed its recruiting strategy at all:

“The biggest thing is the luck factor. I’ve been here for 13 years, and it’s the first time that we held a recruiting class that had kids either considered very highly in the draft or turned down a lot of money to come to San Diego State. We kept four of those young men on campus and it’s the first time since I’ve been here that we kept some highly-touted high school recruits or professional athletes to come to San Diego State. I think that speaks volumes of what happened in the past with us winning tons of championships or tons of games and starting to make a mark in San Diego and we’re going to continue to work that way.”

On what the team needs to do to get to the next level of postseason and win a regional:

“I think it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of recruiting classes to build up a talent base in order to get to a regional. The next step for this program is to win a regional and it’s what we work for every day. Everyone talks about Omaha, Omaha, Omaha, and I think it’s great but really the next step in our process is to continue to win Mountain West championships, get to regionals, and we have to get to a point where we have the confidence to go in and win a regional. We felt like we had a very experienced team last year going up to Long Beach. We just ran into a buzz-saw in Long Beach State, they were playing exceptionally well, we had beat them twice during the regular season. They were just clicking on all cylinders but we felt like we were prepared to go in there and win. So really the next step for our program to build momentum towards getting to a World Series is to win a regional, and that’s the plan of the program is that the goal is to play in the postseason every single year, have that experience and take those experiences to allow us to win a regional, get to a super regional to have the opportunity to play for a national championship. Ever since I’ve been to San Diego State I’ve told everyone that I talk to is that this is a program that can win a national championship and we’re going to continue to work that way. We sit in a hotbed of high school baseball in the country and we’re recruiting San Diego, we’re recruiting the dog out of it. We technically could start every position on the field with guys from San Diego. We’re going to continue to get the best San Diego recruits to come to San Diego State and we’re going to go take on the world with the best of San Diego and hopefully get to a point where we can raise a national championship trophy.”

On the incentive to host the 2018 MW Tournament:

“Absolutely, it’s an incentive. Obviously, we don’t want to be embarrassed and not be one of the top four teams. I think the one thing that I learned a long time ago when I was at New Mexico and current TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle was at UNLV the one thing he said is that you have to host tournaments and host championships in order to mirror what it is like to host a regional. If you look around college baseball, the majority of the teams that are going to Omaha are hosting regionals. That’s the goal of our program, to host Mountain West Championships, hopefully we can continue to do that and then we can get to a point where we can host a regional and a super regional in order to get to Omaha. So yes, there is a big home-field advantage in our sport as well.”

 

Senior outfielder Chase Calabuig

On the team’s recent success in the Mountain West tournament:

“I think it’s just a mindset. I think we’re just mentally tough and able to when the lights come on and were able to fight and come together as a family and do the best we can to pick each other up and be there for one another. In the end, that’s why we’re successful in the tournament I think.”

On the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team:

“Like coach touched on a bit, I think the talent is definitely there, it’s definitely outshining a lot of the talent last year. Last year was a lot of older guys, a lot of experience, and I think we were able to grind out wins and just out tough teams. This year, we’re younger, but I think they’re learning and catching on very quickly and as soon as we get in the routine of the season I think they’re going to be ready to go and I think the talent’s going to shine and we’re going to win a lot of games.”

On his role as a senior on a young team:

“As a senior, I kind of take it upon myself to take some of the guys to the side, and let them know and I’m sure as the season goes on and little things happen here and there, things that I’ve had to overcome or have had to experience through my time, I’ll be able to be there and give a lending hand and give them some advice on things that I would have changed or things I would have done back when I was a freshman had I know the little obstacles that they’ll be facing.”

On his excitement for pregame ring ceremony on Friday:

“I think it reminds us of what we had to go through to get to that point last season and it allows us to reflect on the success we had and the group of guys that we had and the friends that are going to get to come back and get to see and get to see them again. But I definitely think it’s more of a motivation to want to do it again and to be able to see that ring and be able to put it on again. I think that’s what we all want to do in the long term. That’s our goal, and I can only find it as more motivation to want to get another one.”

On the team’s mentality heading into opening weekend:

“I think everybody’s on board. Everybody’s excited and ready to get going. It’s been a long fall, a long start of the spring, a lot of baseball we’ve had playing against each other. We’ve had fun playing against each other but I think it’s time we start playing someone new and someone different. That way we can all pull from the same side of the rope and start having some fun playing the game as Aztecs.”

On expectations of UCSB:

“We’re very excited to play them. I think that’s a great program and I think them coming in here is going to be a little bit different than last year where we went up there. I think they have a lot of talent and it’ll be a good chance for us to prove to ourselves what we can do as a team and what we can do as individuals against some good pitching. We’ll see how we come together.”


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