April 5, 2012

Rick Jones, Frank Florio and Garrett Cannizaro speak

A day before its big series with ninth-ranked Rice, Tulane rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to beat Alcorn State 10-3 on Wednesday night at Turchin Stadium. It's virtually unprecedented to play a game 24 hours prior to conference action, but this was a combination of Alcorn State asking for a day's postponement from a scheduled Tuesday start and the Rice series beginning on Thursday instead of Friday to avoid playing on Easter.

Tulane coach Rick Jones, third baseman Garrett Cannizaro (who had four hits against Alcorn State) and designated hitter Frank Florio (who, oddly, had three sacrifice flies) spoke to The Wave Report after the game:

JONES

"It wasn't the most opportune time to play. Obviously from the time we finished the other day I was harping hard on our guys that we can't overlook this. I don't think we did, but we certainly weren't good offensively (early)."

How much confidence did this team get from battling back to win two in a row at Memphis after getting clobbered in the opener?

"The first game got out of hand because we didn't invest in our bullpen the same way we would have had we been leading. If it's 5-0, probably nobody's talking about it, and it was 3-0 late, but it got away from us because we just couldn't invest. We had to leave some guys out there because we had to try to win the series.

"We're 20-8 halfway through our season. If we can maintain that pace the second half of the season, good things will happen."

What impresses you the most about this Rice team?

"Every Rice team we've played since I've been coaching here and we've played them has always had some special talent. We'll be seeing a first-rounder tomorrow night (starting pitcher Matthew Reckling, who is 5-0 with a 1.46 earned run average). I have a tremendous, tremendous respect for their head coach (Wayne Graham). He's got a ton of talent and he gets them to play hard."

What will your rotation be?

We're going to go with (Randy) LeBlanc. (Alex) Massey is available starting on Friday for maybe a 30- to 40-pitch stint in relief, and (Andrew) Reeves is available starting tomorrow. We're not starting him after Sunday with short rest again, the third time coming off that rehab. Randy needs to get the ball again, and he'll get it tomorrow, then (David) Napoli and then (Kyle) McKenzie."

How impressed are you with the way McKenzie's been pitching?

"He pitched so well on Sunday. The key for him Sunday was he was able to maintain his velocity and he was able to locate his breaking ball. His breaking ball had some depth to it. He could throw it for a strike when he needed to. He threw three 3-2 breaking balls for strikes to get outs, and he was able to bury it when he needed to. When he can do that, he's going to create problems for a lot of hitters."



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