Starkville Regional: Rick Vanderhook

Rick Vanderhook Press Conference – June 2, 2016 – NCAA Starkville Regional

Opening comment…

“Happy to be playing. It’s that time of the year that a lot of people don’t get to play. We are definitely honored to be able to participate in the postseason. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here (Starkville) in 1988, I was here in that regional back then. We still have the same bus driver that we had in 1988. I have a lot less gray hair and was probably a little skinnier. It’s an honor to be here and our club is excited to play in this environment.”

 On confidence level coming into this postseason…

 “Confidence we have. You shouldn’t be playing if you’re not confident that you can compete at this level. You can’t play in an environment similar to this (MSU), unless you’ve played at LSU or Mississippi State before. You can’t replicate it. Hopefully we can handle the situation right now, we’re just looking at Louisiana Tech and all those home runs they’ve hit in the last couple of weeks. We have our focus on them and we’re going to go out and try to get acclimated with the field here to prepare ourselves for tomorrow.”

 On the 1988 Starkville Regional…

 “It’s totally different. We didn’t have to play Mississippi State that year, we finished with Texas A&M. It was really hot too then. I can still remember playing them (Texas A&M). Freddie Rice was on the mound, who was a California kid for Texas A&M. Mike Ross hit one pretty far to left field to win that game for us. I told the guys that I had been here once and didn’t remember anything but the Left Field Lounge. I walked out there today and looked at it and it pretty much looks the same.”

On Connor Seabold’s status for the weekend…

“He will not pitch tomorrow. He threw last night and it felt better. He’s at treatment right now and will long pitch at practice and then get a little treatment afterwards. He won’t be available for tomorrow, but he will be available this weekend.”

On what Dalton Blaser has meant to the team…

“Dalton has had a good year for us. It is important to have seniors that have experienced things. Dalton and Josh Vargas, Tanner Pinkston and Jerrod Bravo are all seniors or players who have at least in environments as close to this as we can have. He’s (Dalton Blaser) been just ‘Mr. Consistency’ after starting 55 of 56 games. I didn’t play him game two against Stanford because they threw a left-hander and I didn’t play him. He’s played every game since. He’s just ‘Mr. Consistency’ at the plate as well. He gives us a good solid at-bat every time he’s at the plate. He doesn’t get himself out very much, which is a hard thing to do at this level with young men. He’s had an exceptional year for us.”

On memories he has of Left Field Lounge… 

“They feed you and do everything you want. They only hate you for nine innings, while you’re on the field if you’re playing against them (MSU). I’ve been to Baton Rouge a few times and played in regionals, they only hate you while you’re playing. After the game they’re as hospitable as hospitable gets. I told my guys that, you’re to get to experience something that you’re never going to know what it’s like unless we get a regional at LSU. They’re no different, they can talk about the Box (LSU) and they can talk about this and that. It’s pretty cool, but its no different. This (MSU) is the same exact environment. They’re going to get hated while they’re on the field. I’ve warned my left fielder, center fielder and right fielder. You’re going to have to be able to handle some bullets and tune some things out. It’s part of competitive athletics

On if Cal State Fullerton deserved to host a regional…

“We should have won more games. That’s the bottom line of it. We should have won more games. There are some sad people out there and I think killed ourselves the second to last weekend by losing 2-of-3 to Hawaii and then getting beat by USC (Southern Cal). We redid our place just for the reason of hosting regionals. We had to play all of our regionals in the 80s and 90s on the road, so I told our guys to revert back to what the guys did before them. They all had to play on the road.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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