May 21, 2008
NEW ORLEANS, La. (www.ucfathletics.com) - UCF baseball has now been in New Orleans for a couple of days and with two practices behind it, the Black and Gold are ready to get its portion of the 2008 Entergy Conference USA Championship underway today.
The No. 7 seed Knights will battle No. 2 Southern Miss at 5 p.m. ET at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium on Tulane's campus. No. 3 Tulane and No. 6 Marshall also lies in UCF's portion of the bracket, which features a double-elimination format.
Junior closer Justin Weiss and senior catcher/designated hitter Tim Russell provided some of their thoughts before their game vs. the Golden Eagles.
On the team's attitude compared to this time last year...
"We have gone through a lot of adversity during the entire season. We had a lot of guys returning from last year and we started off pretty hot this season, then slowed down a bit and got a little hot at the end again. We are excited to be here, it should be a good tournament with a lot of great teams and there should be some great games.
"We are confident we can beat anybody in the league right now. We haven't seen Southern Miss' starting pitcher before, but we are going to take it like any other game. We just want to play our game and do what we need to do."
On the format of the tournament...
"During the season we were playing five games a week which takes a huge toll on the arms. In a tournament like this we need our starters to go deep."
On arriving Monday morning with the event starting Wednesday...
On his attitude going into the tournament...
"Starting off the season like we did gave us a bunch of confidence, even though we hit a rut in there. I think we all believe we have a great shot at doing some damage here. We are a scary team because any day we can beat anybody. We have shown we can do it because we beat teams like Rice, Southern Miss, East Carolina during the regular season."
"I thought it was much better to come early Monday. We got to come here and get a full practice in before the tournament really got underway with a quick practice Tuesday."
On playing at Tulane, which features a artificial surface on the entire field except for the mound...
"The balls don't shoot off the turf like I thought they would. The grounders stay pretty true, and it's surprising how well it plays. That works to our advantage because we have a great defense."
For more information on the 2008 UCF baseball program, head to www.ucfathletics.com. Also check out UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.