bleedCrimson.net: Coming off the loss to UTEP, Associate head coach Cat Heifner mentioned in last week's interview that you as a coaching staff were looking for better mental focus from pitch-to-pitch from your club. Did you see what you were hoping for in the Troy Cox tournament?
Kathy Rodolph: I feel like it has been a good start but an up and down start for us this year. We're just trying to get all the pieces put together. I feel like either the offense will come out and do really well and maybe the pitching will be up and down or the pitching will come out and we'll have some crazy defensive snafus. We're really just trying to put it all together and I don't feel like we've done that quite yet. But we're working really hard to get there.
bc.net: The doubleheader against Northern Colorado, you lose the first game 11-10, you left 14 runners on base but you came back in the next game and bounced back with a big win.
KR: I feel like in the first game, we came out and hopped on them 5-0 and then things went crazy in the circle and defensively in the second inning and it kind of rattled us and we had a hard time getting focused and not pressing. All of the sudden we went from being comfortable to a little bit of panic to "okay, let's get this under control." Even in the eighth inning when Tiare hit a laser to the second baseman and we got doubled out to end the game, I think we were in shock that we had stranded so many runners and had not come through. I just told the kids, "There are going to be games that we win that maybe we shouldn't win and there are going to be games that we lose that probably shouldn't lose and that was one of them so let's just get it together, stay together and get better and I really liked the response that I got.
bc.net: That second game you scored over 20 runs and it's the second time this season you've done so. What does it take to put up 20 or more runs like that especially considering it's something you hadn't done in the previous three season and now you've done it twice.
KR: We have an explosive offense but I also feel like that's part of our game. We also have to get a steady production in the circle and a steady production on defense. We all believe we can swing it with the best of them and in order for us to be a Top 50 team, we need to be able to really balance out all parts of our game and that's just not what we've been doing yet. We've got the people we need to be a very explosive offense, we have a great combination of speed, line drives, significant power. I feel like we have all the parts we need but we need to put the whole game together.
bc.net: Wednesday you head to Tucson to take on Arizona. You hosted them in Las Cruces last year and come up just a little short in both games. What do you expect from the doubleheader against them?
KR: I think it's going to be an extreme challenge for us. Arizona is firing on all cylinders and they're playing very well. What we're going to ask our kids to do is to go in and try to play to the best of our abilities and hope that the game that we bring is going to be enough. Obviously playing Arizona at Arizona is a huge challenge. They've got strong pitching this year. It'll be a great challenge for us. If we want to be in the playoffs at the end of the year, chances are based on proximity, if we were fortunate enough to make it to the playoffs we'd either get sent to Arizona State or Arizona. So this is an opportunity to see where we are now and where we need to be.
bc.net: With so many players on your team having played against Arizona last year, what can they take away from those two games last year that will help them on Wednesday?
KR: They definitely respect Arizona's offense, they're a very explosive offense. I feel like our kids want to be able to perform with the very best. They were disappointed that we fell a little bit short last year but they understand that this year Arizona is back with an awful lot of experience and with Kenzie Fowler in the circle throwing close to 70 mph, it's going to be a tremendous challenge for us. I think they'll rise to the challenge and hopefully it'll be two good ballgames.
bc.net: This is also your first road trip of the season, what kind of things do you have to manage when you're taking a team on the road for the first time?
KR: The kids today had real good energy and they're real excited about the trip. They realize a chance to player Arizona, number two in the nation, is a big challenge and they're excited about it. Then we fly out of Tucson and head to Las Vegas and we play Cal there, UNLV, Portland State, Weber State again and Southern Utah. That's going to be another really tough tournament with tough competition. They're excited because they know that all of these games are helping us prepare to become who we're going to be before conference starts.
bc.net: With the UNLV tournament in addition to the two games at Arizona, you'll be playing seven games in less than a week, something you did last week. How much has your depth helped with playing so many games?
KR: It's helped tremendously. Having the number of games we've had, we've been able to get a lot of kids a lot of playing time. Our freshmen are getting key significant innings and hopefully by doing that in the preseason they're going to be able to fill in and help us in conference. The WAC is much much improved this year and making a strong showing. We're trying to play as many games as we can with all seven pitchers to be able to get them into the game and try to figure out rotations and see what's going to be the best way to keep us in ballgames.
bc.net: You have a whole bunch of freshmen who are making significant contributions for you this season, Teresa Conrad has been a force for you in the middle of the infield, but one of the players I have been really impressed with is Tehani Kaaihue. What kind of addition has she been to your ballclub?
KR: Tehani is a true utility player. She was the MVP of all of the Hawaiian islands for volleyball and just chose to play softball. Anybody that sees her on the field realizes that she has an awful lot of athleticism. What I like most about Tehani is how hard she plays the game and her expectations of herself when she plays. She definitely doesn't play like a freshman, she's extremely disappointed if she doesn't get a hit and she really moves well between third, first or outfield, wherever the team needs her. She definitely goes out and gives you 110 percent. We're excited to have her and we're excited how strong and how hard she's played so far.