Coach's Corner 2004-2005 Archives
Dec. 8, 2005
May 27, 2005
Godri on the graduating senior class: This group of seniors will always be very special to me because they were the first class that I recruited. It was a unique situation where I was able to recruit while Coach Bennett was in his last year, and these seniors were freshmen during my first year. I have experienced a lot of different things with these guys. There have been a lot of changes to the program over the past four years. As freshmen, this group came in as high school students and was still immature in a lot of ways, and I have seen them grow into the men that they are now. We experienced 103 wins together, won a Liberty Bell championship this year, and made great strides in the Big East. I think we lived up to the expectations that these players had when they signed on to play for Villanova.
Godri on emergence of this season's freshman class: I was very excited about this year's recruiting class, especially on the heels of a successful class last year with Kevin Mulvey, Mike Loree and Andy Wendle. I thought we had some impact guys in this year's class. Going into the season we thought that Derek Shunk, Ryan Arcadia and James Dolbier would be players that would step in and play every day, and that is what happened. They had understandable peaks and valleys, but when all was said and done those guys handled the load.
I am also extremely excited about the upside of Ryan Wendler and the possibility of Gus Guida being able to pitch and play third base. Gus may have the chance to compete for the third base job next season, and he developed very well as a pitcher this season. Dan Zurek-Toton is a player that may have red-shirted, but had the chance to play a little bit because of an injury. He held his own in the games he was in, and has a special talent in that he does a really good job of receiving. Joe Cotter is as good a defensive outfielder as we had this season, and long term he may be able to win a position in that outfield.
Godri on the injuries sustained by players during the season: I look at the team coming out of this season, and you aren't going to replace guys like Nick Allen or Angelo Petracca. We can't replace the experience of players like Alan Day, Mike Grodecki or Mark Cardillo right away. But next year we get back Bill Hoffman from a red-shirt year, and we have very high hopes for him. We will also have Jake Wolff back at some point, and he is a left-handed pitcher which we desperately need. Jim Gillin will also come back from his injury, and he is as good as any catcher in the Big East. Early this year he was developing as a potential number five hitter that can also DH. Getting him back will add some power into our lineup. It is a good situation when you can get all of these players back from injuries, and that is still before any of the recruits show up.
Godri on the publicity the team has gotten: Our publicity has certainly grown and this year was no exception. The hoopla of the basketball team this season has helped, but people recognize that there are other sports at Villanova. Some of the publicity comes with having success on the field. The other part is that it was my plan to go to different regional areas to play top-ranked teams. That adds some publicity to the program, and it gives us an opportunity to introduce Villanova baseball to different parts of the country. Playing these games gives our players a chance to be seen by people who maybe have a greater appreciation for college baseball than they have had in the past.
I would also mention that our recruiting classes have been recognized over the last several years, and with that recognition you would hope that you are getting good players. In the past two years we have seen players like Kevin Mulvey, Mike Loree and Derek Shunk step up and become impact players. Any of the incoming players for next year could also develop similarly. I think there is a lot of excitement in the program that maybe wasn't there in the past for whatever reason. One of the things that helps us is our stadium. It has been improved a great deal and it is a nicer ballpark. It is a good place for the fans, media and scouts to come out and watch a ballgame.
Godri on this season's schedule: From talking to different people about the way this season played out, I think we had a very similar year to last season. We won 20 non-conference games for the second year in a row. The difference this year is that we were able to go out and beat Florida, where last year we could only play Georgia Tech very close. We lost a game to Lehigh last year, whereas we lost to La Salle this year. You want to tweak some things in the schedule from year to year, and we have Texas on the horizon next year. We need to keep in mind where we're at and that we aren't working on an unlimited budget. Each weekend we can't go out and play against teams like South Carolina, Texas and Florida, because I don't know how successful we would be playing those kinds of games each weekend. Our non-conference schedule gives us a chance to have some success and put ourselves on the map, and hopefully it keeps us hungry.
Last season our RPI was in the 80's and this year it is in the 120's. I think the difference speaks more to the dynamics of our conference as a whole than it does specifically to Villanova. The RPI is affected by things such as Notre Dame not having a top 25 year, or by St. John's having a terrific season. We also lost the non-conference schedule that Virginia Tech plays, but we got ACC points for beating them. I don't think we can ever really change those factors. Those kinds of factors are hard to control at a school like Villanova, unless you aren't very smart about how you set your schedule.
Godri on Villanova prospects for the upcoming amateur draft: I think the coaching staff and the athletic department as a whole should be very excited about the draft. We have a few candidates, and obviously Nick Allen is the one that stands out. Nick had a tremendous career and got better with each season. This was his best season by far. Each weekend he went out and gave us a chance to win, and he pitched well in front of a lot of scouts. It started early, and went all the way until the end. I hope that he winds up in the right situation with the right organization, and that he continues to develop and can give it a good run in pro ball.
Another draft candidate is Jim Baxter. He is one of the top lefties in the Northeast and I hope that he is drafted by a team in the right situation and gets a good financial package. If that doesn't happen, then I would expect to have him back in our rotation next season.
Mike Grodecki is an interesting guy for the draft because of his size (6-8) and his velocity. He had success in college, and is part of the current draft phenomenon of college bullpen arms. Five years ago all you heard about was tools and getting a team's top three arms. Now baseball is all about how good your long and short relief is, and you are seeing guys get drafted that might not have been given the opportunity in previous years.
Angelo Petracca is another prospect of ours. He is as good a player as I have seen on any team I have been a part of. He is 100 percent a baseball guy. He understands the game and knows how to play it the right way. Angelo plays extremely hard. He has tools, and it is just a question of whether someone gives him the opportunity to play. He is exactly the type of guy you want in your organization. He is a lunch-pail kind of guy who comes every day and adds a lot to a team.
Another guy we have is Alan Day, who has as good an arm as anyone else that I have seen. He has some great tools with his arm and speed, and he has shown power at times. Depending on how a scout saw him on any particular day, it wouldn't surprise me if he is picked up and given a pro contract.
Godri on current players playing in summer leagues: We have Kevin Mulvey returning to the Cape Cod League to play for a second season, and we also have Jeremy Hunt, Ryan Arcadia and Mike Loree who were invited to a try-out for that league. Andy Wendle has signed a temporary contract to play with the Newport Gulls of the ACBL, which is headed by Greg Fater, Sr., a Villanova grad. James Dolbier, Derek Shunk and Kris Molloy are also going to play in that league, while Ryan Wendler and Ted Aust are going to play for the Phillies travel team. Frank Cirone is playing in a league in Illinois. We have a number of guys who will have a chance to experience what it is like to play summer ball.
Godri on the season: For everyone involved, it was a very tough and a disappointing end to the season. Looking back on the season over the next couple of weeks, we will be able to see all of the positives, and there were a great deal of them from the season. We beat a top 10 team for the first time, and we dominated non-league play for the second year in a row. We won a Liberty Bell Championship and had players selected for the Big East all-conference teams. It looks like we have a chance for some guys to play professionally.
As a group there were a lot of positive things to dwell on, but we have to now go out and do it all over again next year. At the beginning of any season, it is important to get off to a good start and dominate the non-conference schedule. Then we need to find a way to win conference games. This team kind of got into a funk where we were knocked down a bunch of times and it was hard to get up from it. What I look at now is that we are still a relatively young team. We will return 4-5 freshmen who had significant playing time, and bring back two of the top three starting pitchers. We still hope that the younger players continue to develop. As we recover from the way the season ended, we can think about all of the positive things for next season. We aren't losing 7-9 starters or 3-4 pitchers like some teams might. I think our goal is still there and it is still attainable. We showed this year that we can compete in Big East games. Now we have to show that we can finish the deal and get the wins.
Godri on the World Baseball Classic: I think the World Baseball Classic is an excellent addition to the game, and is something that baseball needs in general. Like the NBA and NHL, baseball has become so international, and I think that a tournament like the World Baseball Classic is something that has been a long time coming.
When you turn on a game now, you see players from the United States, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and more. I think the tournament will be a nice influx of energy to baseball as a whole. It will appeal to the everyday fan who will be interested to see where the USA stands compared to teams from the Dominican Republic or from Asia. I also think it will spark some interest in the more casual fan. The tournament pulls ideas from other sports and puts it into a framework for the American pastime. As a baseball fan, it is definitely something that I am looking forward to.
April 26, 2005
Godri on winning or losing close games: I think we have to continue playing hard and putting complete games together. During the last two road trips, one of the problems we had is that we haven't been playing complete games. We have been getting two of the three facets of the game. In some games we have pitched well and hit well but haven't played good defense. In other games, we played good defense and hit the ball, but our pitchers didn't step up. That's just the way it has gone for us. We have been battling through a bit of a funk on the road with putting complete games together. There is such a fine line between us and the competition. A pop fly in the ninth inning at Notre Dame falls in and we wind up with a tie. If that ball is caught, we probably get a win. That last game at Notre Dame is probably as close as we have come in the past two weeks to playing a complete game. I am still very encouraged about this team, and think that we have a run left in us.
Godri on being in the playoff race with nine conference games left: It is something I should probably talk to the team about. I'm not sure if we realize that in the past we have been way off the pace. We would be the team that was 2-3 games out of the playoff race, and would play well down the stretch but come up short. Right now we are only one game out of the playoff race and have a few teams behind us. When you distance yourself from the situation, you see that there are nine games left and if you win all three series you are probably going to be in the playoffs. If you win two of the three series, you might need some help. It is a different spot than we have been in the past few years. The positive thing is that out of nine games, we have six at home, and it seems like we have been playing well at home.
Godri on the Notre Dame series: I would have liked to see us play better overall baseball in the three games. We played in horrible conditions on Friday night, and then sat around for two days waiting to play. We didn't play very well at all in the first game on Monday, but then we rallied and had a shot to win in the second game. It is disappointing to me to think that man for man we are right there with Notre Dame, but in the end they walked away with two wins and we got a tie. They made one or two more plays than we did in each game, whether they were offensively or defensively, and that was the difference.
Godri on Notre Dame coming back each time Villanova had a lead: It is a frustrating statistic. We all lived through it and felt what that was like, but good teams have the ability to come back like that. We have done the same thing to some other people all year. It seemed like if we got one run, they would get two. If we got two runs, they came back with three. It was frustrating for our pitchers and defense - they both had a hand in it. There were a couple of times where we didn't turn a double play and then they got a 2-out RBI. In the last game we calmed that down a little bit. Mike Grodecki, much like against Pittsburgh and Rider, allowed them tie the game but then got us out of trouble. Notre Dame hit the three run home run and we were in a lot of trouble. They still had a runner in scoring position in the ninth and loaded the bases in the 10th inning, but fortunately Mike kept his head up and got us out of there without a loss.
Godri on Notre Dame tying the game just before the 3:30 p.m. time limit: After the home run I went out to the mound and the umpire told me there were nine minutes left. I knew Grodecki could get us out of the inning, but the bottom line is that the situation wasn't very hard for us. We had to get out of the inning, regardless of the time. If we don't get three outs, the game is over. We were fortunate enough to get to the 10th inning and get Robert Parks on at second with one out. When we didn't score, we just had to get them out again in the bottom of the inning. It is an empty feeling when you can't win the game, and just have to try and avoid a loss.
Godri on resting the bullpen during the Notre Dame series: We will get Ted Aust and Mike Grodecki and the young kids some work this week, but I thought that going into the Pittsburgh series last week we looked very tired out of the bullpen. Ted looked really sharp against Notre Dame. Going into Boston College this weekend, we are in good shape. Our starting pitchers have been building strength during the season. We have used them a lot but haven't killed them with pitch counts or a lot of innings. We are at the point where they can finish games if they need to, but we have also bought enough time for our relievers to get their energy back coming out of the bullpen.
Godri on Boston College: They are very comparable to us, with very good starting pitching, and they run the bases extremely well. They are traditionally a good offensive team and we will have our hands full. We will need to play well in all three games to give ourselves a chance to win one of them. I am looking forward to the series from the standpoint that if we play well we can get a surge going and rely on our past history of playing well from late April through May. I really think that this team has a run in it and is capable of rattling off six or seven wins. I don't know if that will start at Boston College, but I think we will go up there and just play well. When we have played well this season, we usually find a way to win.
April 19, 2005
Godri on Alan Day's outfield arm: Alan has as good an arm as anyone in the country. Regardless of where we have played, you just don't see a guy with a better arm. The play he made to throw out a Rider player at second base is something we have been waiting to see. He has the ability to cut it loose and can put his throws on a button. He has made the transition this season from right field to left field, and has gone from a plus-plus arm to a great arm. Teams can't run on him anywhere.
Godri on 10-4 record against teams from New Jersey and Pennsylvania: That is a good record to have. We talk a lot as a team about local competition. It used to be that Villanova got the second guys from the area that schools like Rutgers and Penn State didn't want. We tried to raise the bar and sometimes came up short, but now we are starting to be the team that players want to come to. We are the first choice for a lot of the top players. In terms of playing well, you have to win your weekday games in order to have a 30-win season. You might get beat once or twice, but you can't play .500 ball during the midweek games with the quality of players that we have. I think the players have a lot of pride and want to shot the players from other teams that they made the right choice by coming to Villanova.
Godri on team's 11-1 record when Mike Grodecki pitches: That is an incredible number. It speaks volumes about Mike and the quality pitcher that he is for us. We constantly preach to the team that when you have a lead you need to be able to finish the deal. Mike has totally bought into that, and most of the time when he comes into a game he shuts the door. The last two games [Pittsburgh and Rider] may have been his best of the season. Although he allowed the other team to tie the game against him, he came into very difficult situations and didn't let either team take the lead. He gave our offense a chance to win the game and then went back out there to get the win. Our record when he is in the game speaks to our philosophy of short relief and to Mike's composure on the mound regardless of the situation.
Godri on team's 15-0 record this season when leading after seven innings: That record speaks to our philosophy and to the work that pitching coach Rick Clagett does with the pitchers. The approach is to have our starters go into the sixth or seventh inning and give us a chance to win the game. We haven't run up pitch counts, and we turn it over to two or three relievers who go in and execute and finish the deal.
Godri on importance of midweek games creating momentum for weekend: I just think it's important to win, because you feel better when you win than when you lose. If you win, you get a feel for it and for the things you are doing well. Obviously you have to play well to win a game. Although you don't always hit on all cylinders, whenever you get a win some facet of the game must be going well for you. Usually it is more things going right than going wrong. We are trying to stretch out our record to build a good record and build respect for the program. It's important to win every opportunity you have.
Godri on winning school's third Libety Bell title: Winning the Liberty Bell Classic was important to the team and a very important goal of mine. When I took over the program four years ago, the second goal we wanted to achieve was to win the Liberty Bell. We feel that for the past two years we have been the dominant team in the area, and have been ranked as high as No. 5 in the entire Northeast. We have the attitude that if you are going to have a tournament and if we are going to play in a tournament, you ought to take it seriously and want to win it. The team enjoyed playing in a professional park, and that is also important for our program. As far as the game itself, Lehigh is a very good team from the Patriot League. We had 12 stolen bases, which obviously means we were into our running game. Lehigh had no answers for it, and when they battled back into the game, we were able to shut the door.
Godri on the Pittsburgh series: The dynamics of the series were incredible. Pittsburgh has been somewhat of a house of horrors for me personally. It seems like every time we go there something happens and we don't play exceptionally well. This weekend we played well at times and head a lead in all three games, but in some ways we were luck even to win the one game that we did. For whatever reason, these two teams just don't like each other. I have a lot of respect for their coach and he does a great job with the program, but the teams don't seem to like each other that all. We need to change that in the future, but more importantly what we have to change is the outcome of the series. We had opportunities this weekend to win games where in the mast we may not have, but we had a chance to win all three games and only got one win. We did a pretty decent job of being on the road and handling the adversity of playing in a tough ballpark with a turf infield and short outfield porch. I'm glad to get out of there.
Godri on the Notre Dame series: There should be a lot of excitement about this weekend's series. Notre Dame is one of the traditional Big East powerhouses and on the national stage. Their win total isn't where it has been in the past couple of years, but I know a lot about their players and they are starting to hit their stride and get going in the conference. We are excited about being able to play three nine-inning games. We feel that we have solid pitching and bullpen depth and that this may be our best chance to be successful here. It should be a wild weekend with their spring football game, soccer exhibition games and the Big East Golf Championships. The first game of the series is a televised game, and this series is a great opportunity for us to make some noise in the conference. We are on the cusp of the playoffs and just need to go out and play well. If we are a playoff caliber team, we will play well and give ourselves a chance to win. This season, when we have played well we have won baseball games.
April 12, 2005
Godri on the Liberty Bell Championship game: Playing in the championship of the Liberty Bell is something that is very high on our list of things to do at the beginning of the year. The players are excited about getting into the final game again, and it turns out we will have the opportunity to play Lehigh again. We are very excited, and appreciate the Phillies organization for putting this tournament on. It is great for college baseball in the area. We are going to go down and hope to just play well and see what happens. When we have been able to go out this year and put a complete effort on the table, we have had a lot of success. Lehigh is having a very good season. They had North Carolina State all but beat on the road, and will be in contention for the Patriot League title. This game is important to them, as they have a chance to defend their title.
Godri on playing in a Major League stadium: It is very important to be able to play on a Major Leage stadium. The kids are excited about it and it helps are recruiting. It is one of the targets we always have at the beginning of each season is to be playing this game. I have had a lot of people, from alumni to current recruits and staff members, wish us will playing down there.
Godri on the series with Seton Hall: Seton Hall came out and, to no surprise, played as if they were playing for first place. There is a great tradition to the series between our two teams, and the coaching staff on each saide is a part of that. Their kids were ready to play, and I'm not so sure that they didn't win their share of innings and maybe play harder than us at times. We struggled through some RBI situations and our pitching was good. Kevin Mulvey was awesome on Sunday. We did just enough to grind out another series, very much like we did against Georgetown.
Godri on playing the next nine conference games on the road: Anytime you go on the road you worry about outside things taking over. We aren't as familiar with fields or the playing surfaces, and the umpiring can be different. You stay in a hotel where you are in someone else's bed and not yours. However, last year our RPI for road games was 35th and I think we have a better ball club this year. Playing on the road doesn't scare me, especially knowing that this is the team that played well in Florida. Our style of offense, bunting and stealing bases, can travel anywhere. We just have to bank on the experience we had down in Florida and execute our plan.
Godri on what the team needs to do to be successful in the next stretch of games: We just have to go out and trust our plan. We are a team built around pitching and defense. Each of the last three years that I have been here we have gone through a kind of offensive struggle in the middle of the season. Last year when we hit that bump in the road were 3-9 in the conference and had dug too much of a hole to climb out from. This year we are 6-4 and ahead of the curve, so we have to continue going out and believing in our approach to the game.
Godri on Kevin Mulvey winning eight straight decisions: Kevin can be dominant at times, and he is starting to hit his stride this season. He has struggled at the beginning of both his collegiate seasons, but this year we were able to bail him out a couple of times where he kept us in a game until we tied it up. His three conference starts have been outstanding. I can't say enough about the job he does by going out there and keeping us in every game until the offense can get it done.
Godri on the offense: I think offensively a couple of things caught up to us. First of all, we are playing three freshman, and they are not used to playing this many games. The number of games we have played to this point would probably be towards the end of their high school seasons, and they are seeing things they haven't before. The injuries to guys like Jim Gillin and Craig Mirsky also caught up to us because of the experience they give us when they are in the lineup. We were able to get Robert Parks and Alex Bardeguez some at-bats during the week, and Mirsky gave us a lift off the bench coming back this weekend.
Godri on the weekend series with Pittsburgh: I am really looking forward to this series. Like I said at the beginning of the year, they had the freshman Player of the Year last season and this preseason had the Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, so maybe they are as good a pick as anyone to win the league. They struggled at the outset but they have hit their stride and are playing better right now. They absolutely need to win this series in order to go into the next weekend still with a shot at the postseason. We expect their best effort, and they will be ready to play. We have our work cut out for us. It is an important place for me to play well because it is where I got my coaching career started. We expect good crowds both days, and just want to play well all three games and take our chances.
April 5, 2005
Godri on the series against Georgetown: The Georgetown series was a very well-played and hard-fought series. I think Georgetown was playing pretty good baseball coming into the weekend, and their kids were very tough. They pitched extremely well and didn't make errors or do anything to beat themselves. I think we did a good job of staying focused during all the innings of the three games, especially in very tough weather conditions. It would have been very easy for either team to concede a game or a day to the weather, but we stayed focused in every game. I told the team that we played a little bit harder for a little bit longer and made one more play than they did. That won us a series, and it shows how tough conference games are against good competition. Sometimes the team that picks up the ball one more time is the one that wins two out of three games.
Godri on the conference schedule through two weekends: We have beaten teams that were playing well when we saw them, and it helps our confidence to have beaten the teams that are at the top of the standings. It is encouraging, but we can't let it lead to too much false hope. I think it speaks to the conference being more balanced this year. There are more opportunities to win games because of some of the pitching matchups created by the graduation of several strong pitchers after last season.
Godri on Ted Aust being able to work quickly to get outs: Ted throws strikes. He very seldom gets himself into trouble. Our defense likes playing behind him because he gets the ball and gets into a good rhythm. He throws the ball over the plate, and can use three to four different pitches. If one pitch isn't working on any given day, he still has two to three others to fall back on and throw for strikes. Sometimes guys out of the bullpen are limited to only throwing two pitches to begin with, and they can't lose one of them. Ted understands his role here and does a great job. He could be in the rotation of any of the three conference teams we have seen so far. We are fortunate to have a guy like Ted that is a quality arm out of the pen and understands his role and what he needs to do to be successful.
Godri on playing three freshmen: Last year we had three freshmen regularly in the lineup with Mike Loree, Kevin Mulvey and Andy Wendle. The same is true this year with Derek Shunk, Ryan Arcadia and James Dolbier. We have been able to bide enough team to get these guys some experience while continuing to win. Now we can put them into a position where they will be major contributors. It is still too close to call at shortstop between Derek or Ryan. Our focus with both guys has been on making sure they know that they are both needed in the lineup, because they will both be out there somewhere next year. They understand how valuable they are to the team and just keep battling out there. They aren't letting individual battles affect our season, which is a good sign from young kids. You want them to play for the team and compete to win, and they both have done a great job of that.
Godri on the season through the first half of the schedule: Looking back on the first half of the schedule, I am happy with where the team is. There may have been some opportunities to get one or two more wins, where maybe we lost because of not making a play here or there. We also lost a couple of games because of the weather. Right now, we are seeing the team come together. The guys are very comfortable with our style of offense and we have taken care of some of the questions with our bullpen. We want to get our younger kids some more innings, which has been tough because of the weather. Now the weather is starting to turn and that will be a good change for us. We got off to a good start, but not a great one. We are in the middle of the conference standings, and that gives us a chance to continue getting into each conference weekend, where good things can happen for us because of our pitching. It is getting warmer and the conditions are getting easier. Hopefully we can get the offense reenergized and take advantage of some of the great opportunities coming up for us.
Godri on the upcoming series with Seton Hall: Seton Hall has been struggling, but they come into the series off of a win. I have a lot of respect for their coach, and I don't think there is a better Big East rivalry than Villanova-Seton Hall because of the number of championships and games that were won between the two teams in the 1980's and 1990's. They are a little bit like Rutgers in the sense that we recruit a lot of the same players from New Jersey as they do. For that reason, the kids come to play with a lot of emotion. Seton Hall is looking to get their season started, and I always fear a team like that. The first game of the series is always so pivotal. If we win the first game, we have a chance to take control of the series. If they win the first game, it gives them a spark. The intangibles of this particular series will make it another tough weekend.
March 29, 2005
Godri on the team getting national media attention: It is really exciting for our program. Mostly, it's great that our kids get that national recognition. Nick Allen is a senior who faces an important season with the draft coming up, and Kevin Mulvey is a guy that has been drafted already. The attention is important for us because it puts our entire pitching staff out in the national media. It lets people know throughout the country the quality of the team and the pitching that we have. It is nice for pitching coach Rick Clagett, and it helps the players with getting to the next level and getting into good summer leagues. From a team standpoint, it helps us recruit because kids know that we have good numbers with the pitching staff, and hopefully that will continue. Overall, the attention is a really good thing because if you win enough games at the end of the year, some of the early national attention may help down the road if your record is good enough.
Godri on Kevin Mulvey's no-hitter: I told the other coaches that I'm not sure if I have ever seen someont pitch better in any game at any level. When Nick Allen pitched a no-hitter, he was in total control. But against Kevin, it seemed like Connecticut wasn't even close to getting a hit. We scored earlier in the game and it seemed like they had no shot. Kevin had everything going. His fastball was good and in the low 90's and his slider was unhittable. With the Huskies having so many lefties, I thought they could have stayed in a few more innings and not hit anything hard against Kevin.
Godri on Mulvey's pitching efficiently in the no-hitter: A couple of things helped Kevin. He showed last year that it takes him some time to get into the season. He is a bit of a slower starter than Nick Allen or Mike Loree. Although he gets his pitch counts up, he has never had trouble finishing games. He is just a guy who throws a lot of pitches. We made some minor strategic adjustments with him and they paid off a little bit. He was around the strike zone more and wasn't as wild within the zone as in the past. He had showed us this at the end of the season last year when he dominated Pittsburgh for an entire game. I thought Pitt was the best team in the league last year and Kevin had a similar performance in that game. They got a couple of runs in the ninth but couldn't touch him during the game. That is the pitcher we recruited and where we're at expectation-wise with him. Hopefully he can go out against Georgetown and be effective and do it again.
Godri on the series with Rutgers: We had a lead in the first game and then not fielding a bunt opened the door for them, which is disappointing. But Rutgers deserves credit, because that was the one inning they made some adjustments against Nick and were able to hit the ball the other way. They took advantage of a couple of our plays, and then their runner tags up from second and scores on a ball that only Kris Molloy could chase down in centerfield. It's a credit to their base runner that he wasn't off the base thinking the ball would drop in. The tough thing about doubleheaders is you only have 30 minutes to get back into it. I give Mike Loree a lot of credit, because offensively we're trying to figure things out and get ready for another game, but after one bump in the road he showed a lot of maturity. Last year this team had a knack for losing a close game in the opener of a doubleheader and then getting beat bad in the second game. After walking in a run, Mike was down 3-0 but battled back and Jeremy Hunt made a good play to get out of the inning. After that, Loree dominated as much as any of our guys have dominated anyone else. We were able to get some runs, and Mike Grodecki came in to get a save. Rutgers went on to sweep Pittsburgh. They're a good team and I think they will win a lot of games. I thought we were the better team going in, and I think we're the better team coming out of it. We have played them well and won four of the last five games. We have a lot of confidence playing them.
Godri on the series with Connecticut: It was the flip side of the series with Rutgers. We dominated the first game and Kevin threw a no-hitter. Then in the second game it was our fourth game of the weekend and only their second. That showed up a little bit with our bullpen. We had no ability to score runs in the second game. We had some chances early to get a run here of there, but they hung around long enough and then took advantage of two miscues in the outfield and scored seven runs.
Godri on the weekend as a whole: You kind of had a feeling that we could have won all four games, and sometimes you look at the losses more than the wins. Our effort all weekend was excellent. We were able to expose both our opponents with our bunting game and a little bit with our running game. When we had runners on base, we were able to cause damage just by putting the ball in play. That is how this team is designed to win. We have to get over the hump a little bit with the bases loaded. We need to swing the bat and drive in runs in that situation.
Godri on the conference being wide open: I have felt all year that the conference was up for grabs. Going in, I knew the quality of pitchers that left this conference last year, but mostly I knew the quality of pitchers that we had at Villanova. Right now it looks like it might be wide open for 6-7 teams. Whether it's up for grabs for all 10 will play itself out. Right now it seems like Boston College is playing well. Rutgers and UConn are both playing well and obviously we know we were right there with both of them. Over the next 2-3 weeks we know that those teams are out of the way and the door is open for us now that we are playing three games in each series. Playing three games is of great advantage to us because of our pitching staff. We can match up our top three starters with Jim Baxter, Ted Aust and Mike Grodecki out of the bullpen and feel like we are sending out the top 5-6 guys in the conference. In a three-game series we can be very tough to beat. We would have felt good about playing either Rutgers or Connecticut one more time. We faced their 1-2 pitchers without ever seeing anyone's third and fourth starters. From a coaching perspective I feel good about that. Our kids are comfortable in the league and are confident that they can come back after losing a first game like they did against Rutgers.
Godri on Jeremy Hunt: We brought Jeremy in to play first base and give us some punch in the middle of the lineup, and he has done exactly that. He is batting .340 and is third or fourth on the team in RBI. He has done an excellent job with the bunting game and getting key sacrifice bunts against Rutgers and Connecticut. We have been very pleased with his overall game. He is the latest in the line of Florida junior college players we have brought in and try to play right away. Those players have seemed to do well in our program and in this conference. Jeremy is following in the footsteps of Danny Poydenis and Angelo Petracca.
Godri on this weekend's Georgetown series: Georgetown is playing extremely well and they lead the conference in overall wins. They are 2-2 in conference like us, and probably feel similarly good about themselves. They played Notre Dame and got a split and then split with West Virginia. We know their confidence level will be there because in each series they lost the first game and then came from behind to win the second game. They are a hungry and confident team. We will probably see Eddie Pena in the first game, and he is a guy that has had some success against us in the past as a starter. It will be an interesting and hard-fought first game. We have been down to their ballpark two of the past three years and the ball seems to fly there. I think some runs will be put on the board and my hope is that we can outlast them with our pitching depth. Hopefully that will hold true, and we will do a better job of picking up the ball and capitalizing on RBI situations. We need to match their energy level throughout all three games. We are both 2-2, and whichever team wins the series will gain a tiebreaker and feel pretty good about themselves and their chances the way the conference is setting up.
Godri on Penn and Liberty Bell Classic: One of our main goals each year is to win the Liberty Bell Championship. We made it to the finals last year and nobody was happy with the result or how we played in the championship game. We want to get back there this year and know that the only way to do that is to beat Penn. We haven't beaten them since I have been coach, and didn't play them last year. Their coach is retiring at the end of this season and we know that it is a goal of theirs to come here and beat us. They have won three of four in their conference and are playing good baseball right now. It should be a good ballgame. We will play it like a conference game. It will be a long nine-inning game and we just need to find a way to manufacture enough runs. We have good guys on the mound and our bullpen should give us a shot. Hopefully we can score some runs early and put them away like we did with St. Joseph's.
March 22, 2005
Godri on beating Savannah State: We played Savannah State in the first game of the year, which is hard because you don't know where you're really at for the first game. We played a very good ballgame on Saturday. Savannah State has a very solid club. They can swing the bat and do a nice job defensively, and have a good, quality pitching staff. Coming back from being down 3-1 to get the lead and then add to it, was a good way to win. It was a solid effort in all facets of the game.
Godri on winning three close games during the week: It helps to have those kinds of games and to be able to get the wins. It looks like we will have very close baseball games and play our share of games where the closer and bullpen get a lot of work. We aren't the type of team that has many games where we annihilate somebody or an opponent gets a big lead on us. Tight games are more indicative of the way we play.
Godri on adjustments to playing up North after eight games in Florida and Georgia: We don't spend too much time on that. Playing in Jacksonville and Gainesville, we weren't in the warmer weather we might have in Miami. Even though we had some sunny baseball days, we also had some cool days. The team just goes about its business and stays focused on winning a nine-inning ballgame.
Godri on Frank Jankowski getting out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam against Fairfield: That was an outstanding job by Frank. It was as good a pitching performance as I have seen. He went out in a tough spot where Fairfield had gained all the momentum late in the game. We made defensive plays and he had good stuff on the mound. He hadn't had a lot of experience, but he is a tremendous competitor. He just threw the ball over the plate and trusted that good things will happen. The called third strike to end the inning was fantastic.
Godri on Mike Grodecki: We are very pleased with Mike's progress this year. He had the experience of being a setup guy and has stepped into the closer's role. He is able to throw on multiple days, and we have seen him go out and battle and get two hard-fought saves this week. Against La Salle, he struck out their best hitter with runners at first and third with one out, and already a run in. He struck him out on three pitches, which breeds conference and is the type of performance a veteran pitcher is capable of.
Godri on Nick Allen's 27 innings without allowing an earned run: I would think that is easily the longest such streak in school history. Nick always does a solid job, and the streak is indicative of way he has pitched this year. The first hit he allowed came on a shaky call where he might have been out of the inning. Instead Fairfield scratched out some hits and made it a close game. If the streak was going to end, I would rather see it end against Fairfield than against Rutgers. After that inning, we thought about taking Nick out, but he came out and pitched another 1-2-3 inning. That got his confidence back, and he will be ready to go on Thursday.
Godri on Ted Aust's 11-plus inning scoreless streak: Ted has a knack for getting people out. He doesn't get into bad situations, and makes other teams earn everything they get. Whether he is pitching in big ballparks or playing at home, he does what he needs to do. He lets other teams put balls in play, knowing that there is a solid defense behind him. He was outstanding against Savannah State, and we left him in there because they couldn't hit his breaking ball.
Godri on Angelo Petracca's 13-game hitting streak: When you have a streak like Angelo's, and the pitching streaks we have had, it says something about the consistency with which Villanova is playing. We go out each day with the goal of competing and playing harder than the other team. When you do that, you will have some streaks like we have had. I think that Angelo is the best third baseman in the Big East, and maybe in the entire Northeast Region. He does a lot of things well and can hurt the other team in different ways. He swings at hitter's pitches and is a patient hitter, but he also hits well behind in the count and can drive a good fastball. He always plays at a high energy level, and is as complete a player as we have at Villanova.
Godri on the weekend series' with Rutgers and Connecticut: I think that our next two opponents, in addition to us, are playing as well as any team in the conference right now. The games against Rutgers are huge in a lot of ways. We have been getting the top players from New Jersey over the past few years, and last season we swept Rutgers at their field to end their playoff streak. I can't think of a better team to open our conference schedule with. The games will have a lot of emotion for different reasons, and I think you will see the best of both teams. Because of the way the season ended, they will give us their best effort. The ending for us built momentum for us this season, and Thursday should be an all-out street fight.
Godri on the games against Connecticut: The Huskies are another team that we swept last year, and they come in here playing extremely well. Last year we were able to contain them with our pitching, and hope to do the same on Saturday. We will get their best effort for the same reasons as against Rutgers. Connecticut pitches pretty well and is feeling good about themselves because they start conference play leading the league in wins. Often times, it is a matter of who scores first that determines who will win a game.
Godri on having a strong start to conference play: It is important to start off well. You have to take every opportunity to get a win in conference games. You can't get any losses back, and you only get 24-25 games. Last year we finished in sixth place and were a couple of games out of the conference tournament. We fell behind early on and didn't have a chance to get back in it later on. We learned as a team that all games are important, and the more you win in March and April, the less catching up you will have to do in April and May. We just want to go out and play well and get to 10-12 conference wins as soon as possible.
March 15, 2005
Godri on Florida Trip: Going into the weekend series against Florida, we couldn't have asked for any more effort than what we got. I think that will pay big dividends to us later in the year. The series was as intense a non-conference series as we have played since I have been the head coach, and we played as well over the course of three games as we are capable of. Obviously, Florida can play a little bit. We went out there and gained a lot of confidence in the first game. We scored early against a highly touted pitcher and then Nick Allen got some scoreless innings. It built momentum for us that we were able to maintain. It was an incredible situation for us to be able to go down there and beat a team like that on their home field. We had two more good games there and got some good pitching performances. Mike Loree pitched well in the second game before the bullpen broke down a bit, and Kevin Mulvey got into some trouble in the third game but kept us in there until we could tie it up. I told the team that Florida made one more play than we did in both games, and that the line is that thin between winning or losing against a team like that on the road. I am proud of the kids, and it was a big step for our program to compete against a team like that.
Godri on the team keeping up its level of intensity: From a coach's perspective, it is my responsibility to have the team ready to play every game. Having the day off in Florida was important because that is how we play during the season. Maintaining the energy level and getting into the game emotionally is my job. With a relatively young team, playing early in the season, we can address how to maintain a steady line. We only play 56 games, and you don't get losses back. You can't take it back if you lose to a team because of a reason other than just being beaten.
Godri on team's 11-4 record in state of Florida: Usually when we go down to Florida, we have played one or two weekends before that and are just starting to hit our stride. The team is excited about the nice weather, and we have had a good portion of our players who are from there and want to play well in front of their families. We have played a variety of teams during our trips to Florida, from the #8 ranked team in the country this year to Florida International last year. We also have had great success playing against northern teams down there. The excitement level of going down there and having played a couple of games already is what lets us play extremely well.
Godri on team's offense: Offensively, I think we have better players than in the past. We have traditionally been a slow-starting team offensively. We have gotten good pitching and tried to survive with the offense. This season, we had some success against Virginia Tech and Navy and that built some momentum going into the next seven or eight games. When you have several freshmen in the lineup as we do, you hold your breath, but everyone has done a good job of just putting the bat on the ball. Some of our base running affects some other teams when we steal, hit-and-run or advance on balls in the dirt. We have drawn some more fastballs and gotten into good hitting situations, and then have done a good job putting those balls in play. From a coach's standpoint, I am excited about the offense and that the power numbers are up, but there is still plenty to get better at.
Godri on seniors Alan Day and Angelo Petracca: Both of these guys are vital to getting the offense rolling, especially when we have freshmen in the two and five spots of the order. They both have the ability to swing the bat at this level. They have shown a lot of patience, and right now they are hitting their pitches and not chasing bad pitches. Alan has been able to sit on good pitches when other teams tried to pitch around him, and Angelo can get on base so many different ways. He is as good a bunter as you will find and hits well when he's down in the count. He causes teams and pitchers problems, and right now is hitting on all cylinders.
Godri on the team's effort: In a sport like baseball, it is important to me and something we stress all the time in practice, that you have to play hard for nine innings, and play harder, longer than the other team for nine innings. We have shown that we can score late in games, as we did against Virginia Tech, Navy and Florida. That is something we lacked before, and partly because of not having as much confidence as we do right now. Our players believe in themselves, and sometimes when you go out and score some runs it gives the appearance that you are playing harder. But we play just as hard in all kinds of games and battle and scrap to get a win. I think the way the team is playing now is just the game plan. This is how the team is designed, and we're just executing the plan.
Godri on Ted Aust and Jim Baxter: Both Ted and Jim did a great job in Florida. Jim pitched very well in a loss against Jacksonville, and Ted's performance against Mercer was outstanding. He shut the door against them, which is what he has the ability to do. Ted has great stuff and a great mental approach to pitching. He scatters hits, but nothing bothers him. He just worries about the next pitch.
Godri on Jeremy Hunt's defense: Jeremy has done a pretty solid job at first base for us. It is probably the most activity he has had defensively. He makes the routine plays; he has thrown guys out at the plate, dug balls out of the dirt and started some nice double plays. He is about more than just offense. He wants to be a complete player. His defense is important to him, and it shows in his play.
Godri on Jim Gillin's injury: Jim's injury is very unfortunate. You hate to see a guy break an ankle on a play like that at the plate. The collision at the plate, on the surface, didn't bother me too much. But it seemed like the guy came in with the intent to knock him down. Jim was playing very well, swinging the bat, and DH-ing on the days he didn't catch. He had been doing as good a job as any since he has been at Villanova. Luckily, he will recover fully in his rehab, and most importantly we will try to get him healthy and ready for next year. Good ball clubs need to overcome injuries, and hopefully our depth at the catching position will allow us to do that.
Godri on Baseball Bash: We are bringing in Fairfield and Albany for this weekend's tournament, and they are both very solid teams from the Northeast. Albany had a good a year as anyone in the region last year. They are a great team and have a great RPI, and were in it all the way until the end. We are excited about seeing them and playing a great game. Fairfield is a team we played 2-3 years ago in Florida, and we were able to get a win against them. They play extremely hard, have seen some tough competition, and are starting to get their offense going. We also will play Savannah State, which will be a rematch game for us. They beat us in our first game of the year when it was their 10th game, and we are looking forward to see what we can do with their pitching staff in our 10th game of the season.
March 1, 2005
Godri on Nick Allen: Nick went out like he does most weekends and gave us a real solid outing. We're fighting to score runs for him a little bit, and it's something we want to change. He is a first-class individual off the field, and that helps him on the field. He has seen a lot in his career and doesn't get rattled. He goes out there and keeps getting outs and finally we got him a couple of runs against a pitcher that did a good job against us. Nick was able to finish them off in the seventh inning, and he was in total control.
Godri on Allen's 10 groundball outs: When Nick is going good, he gets a lot of groundball outs. When he is on the mound, the outfielders don't usually get a lot of work, except on line-drive hits. The infielders know that they need to come to work when he is pitching.
Godri on the Allen being named a National Player of the Week: I have always said that anytime you can put Villanova's name out there in any sport, it is a great honor, and to get the honor in baseball is of course special for us. We have had some great team efforts and some individual efforts in the past that I thought deserved more attention, but going out there and getting that honor is a hurdle we were hoping to get over, and now we have. It's great for everybody.
Godri on the pitching staff: Our pitching is our bread and butter. We have a commitment to it, and they are still my best baseball players, even though the gap is closing. They are able to go out right now and execute. We are trying to get Kevin Mulvey going, and we were very encouraged by his outing on Sunday. He can be as dominant as any of the pitchers on our staff when he is going. We are pleased with where we're at, but not at all surprised. Right now the pitching is meeting our expectations, and as Kevin gets going, they will start to exceed the expectations.
Godri on the Norfolk State series: The Norfolk series served a purpose. The goal down there was to play well and win three games, and for almost every inning down there we played extremely well. Winning three games helps us build our confidence. Norfolk State is a scrappy team, and had spent a lot more time on the field than we had, having already played about 10 games. I walked away from that series pleased that we could win the third game coming from behind after the fifth inning. We didn't do that well last year, and it gave us some confidence being able to do that this year. The kids kept their composure and you need to be able to win.
Godri on Derek Shunk: Derek is one of the freshmen that came in with a highly-rated recruiting class. He has played all six games and he is getting more and more comfortable at the plate. He has had a knack for putting balls in play. To hit a homerun when we are down by three with two outs and the wind blowing in, I tip my hat to him.
Godri on Jim Gillin: Jim can be a very good offensive player. He is getting more comfortable with our style of play and with college baseball. He got the bulk of his playing time last year, and he's starting to understand what we want to get done from that position. Along with him and Andy Wendle, we are starting to get some production from the catcher's position. If that continues, we are going to be pretty tough to deal with.
Godri on the Florida trip: This trip will be as challenging as any that we have had since I have been head coach. We have a good track record in Florida, going 9-1 during Spring Break trips. All three teams are playing very well. Florida is a top-10 team and Jacksonville and Mercer are both playing good baseball. We will certainly have our hands full with some good challenges. Florida is one of the premier baseball schools in the country, and it is our commitment to play games against that caliber team each year. It is our chance to go on the road in a tough environment and maybe be able to beat somebody. This is the most games we have played going into a series like this. From the perspective of the coaching staff, that gives us a little better idea what we are trying to do as a team, and our players have experienced more game situations. If we continue to pitch well, and there is no reason why we shouldn't, maybe we can muck and grind and get a win in that series.
Godri on the competition in Florida: The first two pitchers we face are guys who are All-American candidates. It will be a challenge to score runs and keep them down. It's a challenge. We then play in a tournament in Jacksonville, a city we haven't been to before. Jacksonville is comparable to Villanova, and they are off to a pretty good start. They play in a very strong and competitive conference. Mercer had a great record last year and has some new enthusiasm with a new coach. We don't know exactly what to expect with Jacksonville and Mercer, but we know they will be highly-contested ballgames. If we play well against them, we should have a shot to win. We can use these games to prepare us for what we expect to see in conference.
Godri on upcoming home tournaments: After this trip to Florida we will come home for three straight weekends. We play our two home tournaments, and are looking forward to the competition that will be coming in here.
Godri on Jose Canseco's book "Juiced:" They sometimes use the term whistleblowers, and I really don't know how this book came about. Jose Canseco is always a guy that I thought was a borderline Hall of Fame candidate. I had a lot of respect for him as a player. He might have hung around a couple of years too long, but that happens in baseball, maybe more than any other sport. It is unfortunate that he reached a point where he called out some names of teammates like Mark McGwire. They played on some great teams, and the teams deserve to be remembered for how good they were. On the flip side, if the book changes the game and helps chase steroids out of baseball and college sports, there's that side of it too. I don't know if the book was written to address a problem or to just make a quick buck.
February 22, 2005
Godri on Savannah: Savannah was great. We have typically gone to play in tournaments where we could see some different locations and play against nationally-ranked teams. It gives our players and their families the experience of playing in different venues. The town itself was very attractive, and we enjoyed it. The tournament was excellent. For a first-year tournament, Savannah State did a really good job. There is always going to be some disorganization with game times when you play three games in a day, but it is a place we would certainly go back to in the near future.
Godri on Bullpen: Pitching has to be our strength, and that's becoming more evident on a national level, not just in the Big East. Ted Aust and Mike Grodecki were outstanding. They have a lot of experience, and I would expect that out of them. We used a couple of other guys that are fairly young. Jake Wolff is in his first year as a full-time bullpen guy, and he did a nice job. Nate Hall is a sophomore and he made some good pitches. He got a strikeout against Navy and their best hitter got a hit off him. You have to your hat off to him too. We want to get Ryan Wendler, Gus Guida, Frank Janikowski and the other guys some more innings out there. We have some good potential in the bullpen.
Godri on Jim Baxter: Everyone was excited to see Jim get back out there, because he is one of the hardest workers we have. He worked extremely hard to get back in a position to help us, whether as a starter down the road or in the bullpen right now. Given the magnitude of the game and the nervous energy he had, he really competed and threw his fastball by some very good hitters. He has a lot of upside as a Villanova pitcher and hopefully at the next level.
Godri on beating Virginia Tech: It was as good as any win I have had as a coach. It had a lot to do with our history against them, and also that they are a Big East team that switched to the ACC. The time of year also made it a nice win. They had been able to get out on the field more than we had, so they might have been more advanced than us. We beat them with our pitching and style of play. We did an excellent job on the bases and moving runners up, and Kris Molloy had an outstanding game defensively. The players were very excited to finally beat them.
Godri on Villanova's style of play: One of my big quotes is that styles make fights. When we get in games and do little things and play small ball, it takes advantage of team's inabilities to play defense, as well as our overall team speed. That's how it should work. Our key is putting men on base to get into our offense. We were able to do that against Virginia Tech and Navy. We can be a very tough team to deal with when we are able to do that. I am excited because I haven't seen us execute this well so early in the season. It usually takes some time, but after the first game we were able to do things that we talked about in the preseason.
Godri on Kris Molloy: Kris is our energy guy. He makes things happen for us. Teams know about him and he had a lot of stolen bases last year. He can improve on that this year. When he gets on base, he starts everything for us. He had a real solid weekend, and his defensive game on Saturday night was outstanding. I think his defense helps his offense. I don't think there's a better defensive outfielder in the conference and maybe in the Northeast. He is one of the best defensive outfielders in the country.
Godri on the weekend: I want to compliment Savannah State on the way they played against us. That game, Nick Allen did everything that we ask a starting pitcher to do, which is to go out and give us a chance to win. For Savannah State being 11 games in, they did a good job working on our pitch counts and getting guys on base. Nick constantly pitched his way out of very tough spots, and gave us a chance to win a game. After the game, I just tipped my hat to Savannah State.
Godri on Norfolk State: Last year we opened against them and played three very tight games. I expect us to be better going in this weekend. We will attack it the same way and have the same starting rotation. We will try to get some more people in there that didn't play in Savannah. We are still trying to put the puzzle together and see where the pieces fit. Norfolk State is very tough defensively and their pitchers, though not overpowering, do a good job keeping the ball in the strike zone. They've had a bit of a slow start, but they have seen some tough competition. It will be a good challenge, and as a team, we just want to concentrate on being better this weekend than last weekend.
Godri on NHL canceling season: It was terrible news for me when they cancelled the season. I thought they came back, but they couldn't reach a deal. We paid tribute to them with our tie against Navy. We will have to wait one more year for the Flyers to start their Stanley Cup run.
February 15, 2005
Godri on Villanova's offense: We have a good short game with our ability to lay down sacrifice bunts and drag bunts, and enough speed to utilize the hit-and-run as well. We try to do the little things that can cause problems for the opposition on the offensive side. This season's team is as fast as we have ever had, and there are not many gaps at any position in the lineup where we can't steal a base or execute a hit-and-run. There is room for improvement in capitalizing on RBI opportunities and not leaving runners on base. We need to cash in on some runs, and maybe get away from playing a 3-2 game when we could be winning those games 6-2.
Godri on the pitching staff: We have a level of talent on the mound where each day we can be confident that our starter is going to give us chance to win the game. That is the expectation for every starting pitcher, to put us in a position to get a win. This team does a terrific job of pitching and catching the ball. When we are pitching and playing defense as well as we are capable of, we are pretty tough to beat."
Godri on season opening trip: It is exciting to be going down to Savannah for a tournament there. It's a new city that we are going to for the first time, and we will be playing in a Double-A stadium down there. It's one of those beach towns on the coast, so there's a lot of excitement among the players going to a new place. We will see some familiar foes in Virginia Tech and Navy, and overall we're just excited to get the season started. Overall we are facing a variety of teams. It is a good trip that offers some challenges for us. The pitching rotation is going to be Nick Allen (vs. Savannah State), Mike Loree (vs. Virginia Tech) and Kevin Mulvey (vs. Navy). We are starting where the rotation left off last season against Rutgers. It will be good to go into the weekend with some familiarity on the mound. It's how we went last season, and we'll go about it the same way this year.
Godri on Savannah State: Savannah State is 8-0 and at least statistically it looks like they are playing pretty well. It always draws up a lot of concern when you go in to play a team with that many games. Hopefully we can go in with some consistent pitching and try to score early and get into the flow of the ball game.
Godri on Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech is a team that I haven't had a lot of success against in my career. I love their coach, but that's about all I like about them. They have done a number on us, with some bizarre losses. We have played them very close, but for whatever reason haven't been able to get a win over them. It will be interesting to see them in their first game as an ACC team against a Big East team.
Godri on Navy: Navy had a tough year last year, but we're very familiar with all the military schools. We played Navy two years ago in the championship game in Memphis. They play with great effort and have some good young talent. They look to be a little young offensively, but they bring back some experience on the mound. We are going to pitch Kevin Mulvey against them, and hopefully he throws over the plate and gets us in the game. We will definitely take our chances against them and we should have more experience, but you still have to go out and win the game.
Godri on preseason: The preseason is always tough in the Northeast because you never really get onto a live playing field. We'll practice on Thursday in Savannah and it will be the first time we are on dirt and grass this season. It wasn't too bad a winter and we were able to get out on the football turf for some practices. We also went over to the All-Star Baseball Academy, which has an indoor infield where we could take live batting practice. We were able to do some things this season that we haven't done in the past, but there's no substitute to playing on grass and dirt. That won't change our expectation level on Friday, though. We will go into Friday's game expecting to win, not just trying to get used to the turf.
Godri on alumni golf outing: We have a newsletter coming out in the next week and in it we will be announcing our annual golf outing. This season our golf outing will be at Turtle Creek Golf Course. It's a new venue for us, and I think our alumni will like it. It's a nice course, and we'll do the event in concert with our game later that day (May 13) against West Virginia. We're changing some things, and it will be a nice chance for people to enjoy some golf and see some friends, and then come out to see the `Cats play against West Virginia.
Godri on four alumni pitchers in the pros: Adrian Schau and Mike Ciccotelli are both starting their second years in the pros. They are both young guys that are still trying to carve a niche into their minor-league systems. It's a big advantage for Schau to be in the Indians system with Brian Slocum. They are familiar with Villanova players and drafted Adrian twice, so he'll get a real solid look. Ciccotelli is with the Seattle organization and he got a quick promotion to Double-A last year. If continues to prove that he can get lefties out, he should be able to stick, and could bounce around to all different levels this year. It's a great advantage to be a lefty pitching out of the pen. This will be a gigantic year for Aaron Krawiec and Slocum. Under a best-case scenario, you could see one of both of these guys get to the big leagues at the end of the year. It depends on how their respective teams are doing and how they do individually. Krawiec is coming off an injury and needs to prove that he is healthy. The Cubs have had some movement in their system with losing some minor league pitchers and trading some major league arms, and that may be a good thing for Aaron. Slocum is coming off a career year in 2004 where he dominated at the high Single-A level. He will start in Double-A at Akron this year, and should be fast-tracked in the Indians system.
Godri on the collegiate baseball March 1 starting date: There is a baseball issues group that is proposing a February date to start practice and March 1 as a collegiate baseball Opening Day. This should happen within the next two years, and it will change the dynamics of college baseball in the Northeast. It is great for us, and something that the Big Ten conference pushed through and made happen. It puts everyone on an even playing field, and it will end the days of us going down to Savannah State where we are starting our season and they have already played eight games. The popularity of college baseball is driving this legislation. The College World Series is the top NCAA Championship revenue maker after the men's basketball tournament, and some of the super regionals will be moving to neutral sites. NCAA people are realizing that if the sport is going to continue to grow, conferences like the Big Ten and Big East need to be involved. Some of the most recognizable schools in the country play in those conferences, and the Big East ranked sixth out of more than 30 conferences in the RPI last season. We have the ability to win these non-conference games, and people will want to see these teams doing well in the Regionals.
Godri on the Big East: We have seen some different polls, and we were picked sixth in the coaches poll, as well as fourth by Collegiate Baseball newspaper and sixth in the College Baseball poll. It is a solid indication of what people are starting to think of us. We have traditionally been picked 10th or 11th and a compliment is being made that people can see our program getting better. I think we can fall in anywhere between fourth and sixth because we have been around there two of the last three years. We want to be able to take a step forward this year. The conference can go a lot of different ways. Some of the teams picked ahead of us we have won games or series against in the past, and there is room to grow. The team right now doesn't believe that they are a fourth or a sixth place team. They think they are stronger than that, which is a good thing from a coaching standpoint.
Godri on the Big East teams: Notre Dame returns a lot of veterans offensively. They lost some high draft picks, but still have a lot of very talented guys. It will be a bit of a different team that they roll out there this year. St. John's is solid, but will have to live with the hype generated by playing tough against Long Beach State in last year's Super Regional. Pittsburgh returns the Freshman of the Year and the Coach of the Year, so going off of that maybe they should be picked first. Boston College lost some guys to high draft spots and a couple of others to graduation, but they return some very dangerous players. They played well down the stretch last year. Rutgers lost a couple of all-conference players, but they can be very dangerous. We will see how their filler players do. Seton Hall reminds me of where we were last year. They come off a disappointing season, but have some talented arms and they will be able to go out and compete early. Connecticut is dangerous offensively. They are in the second year of a new coaching staff, and will have to see if they can get their pitching staff together. Georgetown can really swing the bats at times and could be the most dangerous team in the conference.
Godri on major league spring training sites: I would have told you that the Mariners and Padres had the best site out in Peoria, Arizona. It is a little different than the Florida sites, but it is a great place to watch a game. However, I went to the Phillies complex in Clearwater, Florida in November and it is a really terrific complex. They have a brand new stadium and play in a town on the water. I was caught off guard, so I would definitely say they have the best site.
Godri on the Super Bowl: The Patriots were the better team in terms of talent and coaching. There has been a lot of talk about time management, but I think if there were five more minutes it would have been a 10-point game and not a 3-point game. A lot of people have said that the Patriots are a dynasty in this age, but I think if you win three out of four Super Bowls maybe you are a dynasty in any age.
Godri on the NHL lockout: I'm a big hockey fan, and it usually gives me some therapeutic medicine during the season. Hopefully they will be able to get started and play a 30-game season, and maybe this will be the first in a long line of Flyers Stanley Cup titles.
December 8, 2004
Godri On 2006 Recruiting Class: I am excited about this recruiting class because we were able to address some specific needs that we had. We added left-handed hitting and built on the overall team speed offensively. Also, we were able to bring in three solid pitchers who can make immediate contributions. We have a very solid group of pitchers right now, and the three pitchers we are bringing in will fit nicely with the personnel we already have.
It is very important to me that for the second year in a row we were able to keep the top players from Pennsylvania and New Jersey at home to play at Villanova. It prevents them from going down south to play their collegiate ball, but more importantly it means that they are choosing to come to Villanova over other top Big East and Atlantic 10 teams.
Godri On 2005 Schedule: The 2005 schedule provides us with many challenges, both on the national level and in the Northeast region. The Savannah State tournament will be a good challenge for us. The Tigers are a very competitive team that is extremely fast. Our game against Navy will also be a special game. We have faced all three of the military schools in the last three seasons, and our kids always look forward to those games.
For the third year in a row it looks like we may open up against one of the top five teams in the country. In the past two seasons we have played Tulane and Georgia Tech to start the season, and this year Florida could be one of the top teams when the first polls come out. We are looking forward to the challenge of our players going out against a really big time college program. It helps our recruiting nationwide, and specifically in the state of Florida when high school players have a chance to come and see us play.
Our two home tournaments have really taken off in the Northeast, and it has become very attractive for schools in the region to come and play in Philadelphia against one of the Big 5 teams.
Our non-conference schedule is very well rounded. It features teams from all different levels of college baseball, including some of the top teams in the nation as well as the top teams in the Northeast region. We are also fortunate to be starting the conference schedule at home with our games against Rutgers and Connecticut.
The nice thing about our schedule the past two years has been that we started with three weeks on the road and then had three weeks at home before the beginning of conference play. We have been able to take advantage of the opportunity provided to us by the Villanova facilities. Whereas other Northeast teams sometimes have to spend five or six weeks on the road at the beginning of the season, we have been able to travel for three weeks and try to grind out some wins against big time teams. Then, we still have three weeks at home before the conference schedule, and I think that really helps us out.
We are going to figure out by the beginning of January whether or not we will have lights in place before our spring season starts. When we know that decision, we will be announcing the times for our home conference games.
Godri on 2004 Fall Season: We are extremely pleased as a coaching staff about how the fall baseball season went. The most important factor is that we left the fall with everyone healthy and no lingering injuries. Everyone was able to get on the field and participate in our four weeks of practice, intra-squad games and the intra-squad World Series. It was real good to see Jim Baxter get back on the mound and go through the fall season without any bumps in the road after his injury. We introduced eight new offensive players to our program and I am very pleased with their athletic ability. I am happy with our overall team speed on the offensive side. We are much faster and showed more power than we have in the past. We are a more athletic team that we have been going into any other fall season, and it should help us out both offensively and defensively.
Godri on the Pitching Staff: From a pitcher's standpoint, we return an experienced staff, including our top three starting pitchers from last season. It will he hard to replace the guys that we lost, but it is exciting to bring back our top pitchers from a successful season. Jim Baxter will also be back in the starting mix at some point during the season, and Mike Grodecki, Ted Aust and Nate Hall return at the back of the bullpen. The pitching staff is exciting because of the experience and success our pitchers had last season.
Godri Looking Toward the Season: At this time of the year everyone has high expectations and feels good about themselves. But we walk away from the fall able to truly say that we could potentially have our best team yet because of the talent and experience on the mound. But we still have to go out and complete and stay healthy in order to make good on that potential. It will be important to do the right things to get off to a good start.
Godri on the improvements to Villanova's ballpark: Both Villanova and Plymouth Township have done an outstanding job continuing to improve the facilities at our ballpark in Plymouth. We are awaiting a decision on whether lights will be installed before we open our season. If we are able to play some night games, it will open up to Villanova and the city of Plymouth a level of college baseball it hasn't seen in the fast. Playing night games has great potential for the fan base it would bring in. Improvements have also been made behind the dugout and on the bases, with new dirt put in to help during the rain games. On campus, our alumni donations and participation from generous donors have allowed us to renovate our locker room on campus. We added 30 wood lockers to our locker room, and I think our on-campus facility is as nice as anyone else at Villanova or in the Big East. We have also expanded our facilities to include video equipment that will be available to our players at any time. It allows them to tape themselves during practice and in games and we are excited about them being able to come in anytime during the day to watch video. Mostly I am excited that our baseball facility continues to move forward with continuous improvements, and push the envelope with one of the best facilities in the conference and maybe even the Northeast.
Godri On Alumni Updates: We will be announcing soon when our alumni golf outing will be. We have sent out the fall newsletter and have already gotten an outstanding e-mail response to it. We have gotten in some gifts that our donors have sent in, and our spring newsletter with the season preview and some key dates to watch out for will be coming out in February. I also want to mention that former Villanova baseball great Carmen Porreca (1969-71) was inducted into the Varsity Sports Hall of Fame. He was a great player at Villanova and has been one of the generous donors to our locker room project. We are planning for our home weekends during the spring to bring our alumni back to the ballpark and honor them and have them throw out the first pitch before a game. That is in the process of being planned, and we are looking forward to having some of our past players back in town for those games.
Godri on the fights that have recently taken place in sports: The recent fight at the Pistons-Pacers game as well as some other incidents are very unfortunate. They have a trickle-down effect on all of sports, but the bottom line is that it comes down to sportsmanship. Baseball sometimes gets into these kinds of situations is pitchers throw bean balls or throw at opposing hitters. As a coach, it is my responsibility to make it known to our players that there is zero tolerance for such actions. They need to understand that someone can be seriously hurt when a baseball is thrown 85-90 miles per hour. We want to make our players aware of the ramifications of missing games, and although everyone should play hard and want to win, there needs to be mutual respect between opposing players, as well as between the players and the fans. It is unacceptable for a player at any level to cross the line and go into the stands to attack someone.