June 23, 2010
Recap | Box Score | Notes | Photo Gallery
Head Coach Jack Leggett John Hinson Alex Frederick Scott Weismann
THE MODERATOR: Joined by John Hinson, Alex Frederick and Scott Weismann and Coach Leggett. Opening statement, Coach. COACH LEGGETT: It’s kind of a tale of different days. Yesterday I thought Scotty Weismann went out and pitched well for five innings. Would like to squeeze maybe another inning or two before the rain came because he was pitching so well.
But we did a nice job I think offensively in the one run, when they scored one run, we bounced back and scored four. Their kid had trouble finding the strike zone. We were able to take advantage of that, got some big hits by John Hinson ball to the right side. I knew those were going to be two big runs for us when we left the ballpark yesterday.
And today their left hander did a good job on us and kind of held us where they wanted to hold us, and Alex Frederick again came in and did an outstanding job in relief in the 9th inning.
So just pleased we’re in the position we’re at. Day off tomorrow, we’ll be ready to play on Friday.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. John, has it sunk in yet that you guys are within one game of playing for a national championship? Have you thought about that a little bit? John Hinson: We haven’t really had enough time to think about just having one more game. But we’re going to approach it just like we have every other game. Still 1 0 and gives us a chance to play for a national championship.
Q. Scott, talk to us about how hard it was to get that rain delay yesterday and your strong performance you had yesterday. Scott Weismann: Yeah, I mean, it had to happen. It was unfortunate. I felt I was getting into a groove there for a little bit the last couple of innings. So for that to happen, it was kind of disappointing. But the guys took care of it today after me. So it was a good win.
Q. Talk about the confidence you have right now. Obviously Coach Leggett putting you in a pressure situation again with the game on the line. And do you have the confidence you can go out there and get the job done right there? Alex Frederick: I feel like every time I go out there I just try to do my best no matter what the situation is. And confidence comes along with how you feel, the people behind you, the support you have, and usually how the pitcher before you is doing. You can just build off the momentum. I feel if I go out there and we’re upbeat, ready to play, I’ll do my job and I’ll try to do the best I can.
Q. Jack, I don’t want to ask who you’d rather play but word it differently, who do you match up with better, do you think? Oklahoma or South Carolina? COACH LEGGETT: Both good teams, and they’re both playing well. Oklahoma has got some good balance. They’re a good ball club. Got a little speed, a little power. A little bit of everything. They’re a dangerous ball club. No question about it.
I think South Carolina is playing well. They played well the last game out. Developed some confidence having beaten Oklahoma. And they swung the bats well the other day.
But my concern to be honest with you is not who we play but how we play. I’m just interested in how we play and our approach. And whomever we play on Friday, whatever time they tell us to play, we’ll be there, and we’ll give it everything we’ve got and got. Got a lot of confidence in my players, and I just want them to play like we’re capable of playing, no matter who we’re matched up against on Friday.
John Hinson: We’ll worry about ourselves, and whatever happens with that game happens. We’re just going to worry about ourselves and we’ll get prepared like we always do.
Scott Weismann: Whoever we play we’ll be ready to play. I think having tomorrow off will be nice. So get our health back and recover a little bit. But like Coach Leggett said, we’re playing well, too, and whoever we play, we’ll play well.
Q. Jack, is this almost like having to win two games, just managing your emotions because you had all the momentum last night and then having to come back today? Maybe just some of the challenges you faced with the delays this week? COACH LEGGETT: That’s a pretty good question. I mean, you kind of left the job undone yesterday, we went home. The good thing about it was we were able to go home with a better feeling when you’re up 6 1 rather than being down 6 1. That’s a tough night’s sleep there. And so I think we went home with a pretty good feeling, and we got up this morning with the same kind of feeling, went to practice with the same kind of feeling.
We had a good approach lately. The kids are excited about being at the ballpark. They’re loose, relaxed. We’re having a little fun playing. And got some confidence rolling right now. So we all look forward to getting back out here. We wanted to finish that game off last night because we were feeling pretty good about ourselves.
But it definitely is an adjustment to have to go home and restart your batteries, restart things up, and the kids did a good job of that today.
Q. John, you’ve been on quite the tirade of late. Just how well are you seeing the ball, and have you ever been on such a strong streak like you are right now? John Hinson: Yeah, I’ve been hitting pretty well. But hopefully we keep it going. The team’s been hitting well. We’ve been getting double digit hits just about every game we play, and we’re putting up runs. And our pitchers are doing well and doing what they need to do for us to win.
So hopefully we just keep playing the way we are, keep playing well as a team. And hopefully play for a national championship.
Q. Coach, you mentioned specifically when you guys sort of broke through last night in the 4th inning, Spencer’s two run single that sort of squeaked through the right side. Talk about that hit, what it did for your ball club, and also his improved approach to the plate as he’s got more playing time. COACH LEGGETT: He’s been a great addition to our lineup since we inserted him, really since the last game in the ACC tournament against Georgia Tech. He’s very solid behind the plate, kind of shuts down the running game because he’s got such a good arm and blocking the ball real well. Been handling our pitchers very nicely. And he’s been doing a good job at the plate, getting some key hits in key situations.
That was the one situation, it’s always tough he doesn’t run extremely well so you want to try to stay out of double play situations.
And he hit the first pitch of that at bat, if I’m not mistaken, hard to the right side over their dugout, and they came back with another fastball I think two pitches later or something, hit a ball hard through the right side of the infield and just past their second baseman and just out of his reach. So it was a big, big hit for us because we were able to score a couple of runs and loosen us up. I don’t know if it was the second two runs of that four or the first two reasons or whatever it was, but it got us started and I thought it was a huge hit in that situation.
Q. Coach, being 2 0 obviously is where you want to be, but is there a little bit of a double edged sword with now having to wait again? When you’re playing well, would you rather just keep playing the next day? And secondly, having won the first two games, how does that set up your pitching for Friday? COACH LEGGETT: Well, we feel like since Monday have been playing every day. And we felt like we were ready to play on Sunday, too. Somehow felt like we played Sunday. But we’ve been on the go every day since we’ve been here, once we started practice and once the tournament started.
So I think tomorrow will be good for us, actually. I think it will give us a little bit of rest and we’ll go practice a little bit and swing the bats. And then we’ll come back out and be ready to go on Friday night.
Setting up our pitching. We’ll just have to go look at it. I think a day’s rest, day off would be good. We have a lot of guys we haven’t used yet. We have to figure out who we’ll start on Friday and figure out who we’re going to play and who might be a good matchup and just go from there. But we haven’t even started looking that far ahead yet.
Q. You said the other day sometimes this time of year you like to go with the hot arm out of the bullpen. What’s made Alex that hot arm? COACH LEGGETT: Well, he’s got his confidence going right now. He’s a strike thrower, aggressive in the strike zone and throws breaking pitches for strikes. And a fastball, sneak it by you. He’s competitive. And with that confidence, he’s developed and that calmness that it takes to pitch in these situations he’s pitching in. And I can think of four or five opportunities he’s had in the last, you know, two or three weeks and he’s taken advantage of it and done a nice job at it.
When he has a bump in the road he recovers quickly. He has a short memory. And I think the players have a lot of confidence in him when he comes out on the mound as well. That gives a little boost to the team in those situations. He’s been hot for us. And we’re just going to keep riding him when it’s time and stay focused and poised not feeling too good about ourselves, just gotta stay locked in what he does best and execute his pitches and good things have been happening.
Q. You guys seem to be playing really loose and relaxed and with a lot of confidence. I notice kind of your pregame routine, tradition. Can you talk about the importance of that, how that started, kind of the team chemistry you have in the dugout? It’s very evident. COACH LEGGETT: We’re an enthusiastic ball club. We’re a team that likes to play. I think I’m enthusiastic. I like being out in the ballpark, ball field all the time. And I feel very loose. I feel very relaxed. I feel very confident in our players right now. I think they can probably feel that. I’m excited about being here in Omaha, excited about playing baseball, and there’s been several times I’ve thought, in the third base coach’s box, we’ve been working hard, play ball, don’t try to do too much. From the dugout I’m thinking the same thing, it’s time for them to go out and perform and do what we’re capable of doing.
We were kind of a routine oriented team. We’ve been going over to Creighton and hitting and hitting in the cages, and we’ve been loose and we’ve been feeling good about that routine. Kids on the bench are giving us a lot of excitement and everybody’s feeling it right now.
But like I say, we’ve got to go one game at a time. Can’t feel too good about ourselves, can’t get too high up, too low down, just keep on playing, keep an even keel and be excited where we’re at right now. But at the same time, I don’t want them thinking about where we’re at. I don’t want them to think about do we do this or we’re in a national championship. To me, I’m thinking about winning the game on Friday and then let the committee tell me where we play, who we play, what we’ve got to do, whether we’re home team or visiting team. What color uniforms you want us to wear and we’ll be there.
That’s really how I’m approaching this thing.
Q. Jack, you were in the same position back in 2002 and didn’t get the job done. Is there any lessons learned from that experience that you can bring into this scenario, and do you consider yourself the same kind of coach now that you were back then, or have you kind of changed over the years? COACH LEGGETT: A lot of questions there. I’m the same guy I’ve been for a long period of time. I’m the same coach. When we weren’t playing very well in the middle of the year, I was the same guy I was when we were in 2002 and had our teams here in 2006 and so forth.
I’m the same guy, but just like anybody else, you learn from your experiences out here. I do feel like I’m more relaxed maybe. And in that situation, we came out of the box and won the first two ball games. We had three days to think about where we were. I like the idea we’re playing again on Friday. We just get right back on the saddle and play.
But I’m not thinking about it. I don’t want our players to think about it. That’s history. This is a new team. None of those guys were here, so they have no idea except where we’re at right now and what we have to do to try to win on Friday.
Q. Scott, you had seemed to hit your stride about the third, fourth inning and were rolling pretty good there. Were you frustrated by the stop at that point and how bizarre was this whole circumstance of five inning stop and go, coming out and playing four innings again? Scott Weismann: It was frustrating. But I guess it was pretty unusual. I don’t know if we’ve done that all year where we had to stop and then come back the next day. But I mean, we adjusted Sunday, came back and played Monday, so we were cut off at the fifth inning there, but we came back, came out ready to play and it showed. We shut them down, got the win.
Q. Coach and John, the midseason slide was obviously very frustrating, but even in the midst of that did you still envision that you would have the opportunity that is ahead of you coming up later this week? COACH LEGGETT: Absolutely, you never stop dreaming about it. Never stop thinking about it. It’s a long season. It’s frustrating there for a while. But that’s behind us. I’m just focused on how we’re playing here at the end. And I always think about it. I think about it every day. I think about playing here at Rosenblatt and playing in the College World Series every day.
John Hinson: Yeah, I agree with Coach Leggett. We stayed confident through that slip and through that tough spell we had in the middle of the season. But baseball is a crazy game.
Sometimes you lose. But you always have tomorrow. That’s the way we look at it. And you’ve got to take it one game at a time and that’s what we’ve been doing as of late and playing well like that. So, yeah, we had that in the back of our head the entire time to play for a national championship and hopefully we come out and we play well on Friday and just do our thing and get the opportunity.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you.
Head Coach Sunny Golloway Tyler Ogle Cameron Seitzer Bobby Shore
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Oklahoma players Tyler Ogle, Cameron Seitzer, Bobby Shore, and Coach Sunny Golloway. Opening statement, Coach. COACH GOLLOWAY: I thought our guys came back and really played well today after our delay. We had quite a bit of rain delay since we’ve gotten to Omaha, we’re clearly not complaining.
I thought it was a tough night yesterday. What we told our guys immediately, because it’s all part of the ball game, of course, when we first had the lightning strike and delay, we met in the clubhouse and I told the guys that really great baseball players have a very short memory.
I think defensively it was probably pretty tough to sit there and watch 14 straight balls and the things that went on. I think it had to be even more tough for Bobby, you know, who’s trying his darnedest to get the ball in the zone and couldn’t find it at that point. And we kept giving him a chance to pitch out of it, thinking if he could find it and locate a couple of things, he could work his way out of that thing.
But, again, I thought, you know, we minimized the damage at that point. Four to one, we felt good, and there was a misplayed fly ball out there, and I don’t know if the wind just caught it. Max has been really good for us defensively. He’s an outstanding freshman and a big part of Bobby Shore and Max are a big part of why we’re here.
In the clubhouse, it was, hey, we wouldn’t be here without everybody. We collectively have done an awful lot. We’ll continue to. We’re not a club that has ever blamed each other, and we’re not going to start now. We’re going to be positive. So mainly, let’s have a short memory of what just happened. Let’s have a hot dog and let’s get ready to play, because clearly we’re experienced at rain delays at Rosenblatt.
Then when we got back to the hotel and it was decided we would play today, the message was going to be, again, put a smile on your face and believe that you’re going to come back and win. We’ve done it 27 times this year, and that I would not basically allow you to go into the hotel lobby unless you put on that happy face.
I stood there at the door and I watched every player go by, and I saw a smile on every one of our players. We were not panicked. We believed we would come back and win the ball game. And with that being said, before the game, it was made very clear to our guys I thought the apparent things that hurt us yesterday, everybody saw those things.
The thing that was probably not as visual was the fact that we did not lay the bat down on three three to two counts. We should have laid the bat down instead of swinging or offering at a pitch that was out of the zone. That’s three base runners that would have been key yesterday. And there were two inside that we really felt if we hold our ground, we wear those pitches. One of them was with bases loaded.
We’ve been good at that all year. We can’t go away from being who we are. We talked about those. Probably two out of the three to two counts would have been for sure balls. The others borderline. Those were four base runners we needed. One of them would have been an RBI hit by pitch, and so we said let’s make an point of emphasis today that we don’t swing at balls out of the zone at any time in the count. I think twice there were three to two counts, we offered the ball to the zone. An example, Buechele up swinging some balls up out of the zone. Cody Reine offering a ball at the dirt. It puts our power hitters at a negative count. We’re not going to be as dangerous in those negative counts.
I really thought that was the game within the game for us, because had we laid the bat down, we’re looking at a three run home run instead of a solo and we’re looking at a two run home run instead of a single. That clearly is what changed the game in our eyes.
Q. Sunny, today you got some single runs in some innings, but you just couldn’t really bunch a bunch of hits together, could you? Just talk about that. Was that what you were talking about, those at bats? COACH GOLLOWAY: That was the key. If you think about where we offered the ball out of the zone and ended the inning with Black, the next at bat is Seitzer. You can always argue, hey, he’s leading off the next inning, so they’re pitching him different than they would with runs at first and second. But I think the knowledge of the game, it was ball one and ball two, they were going to have to come in the zone, and Cam looked pretty confident up there before he hit the home run.
So had it been a different count, it maybe in my mind wouldn’t have been as big a point of emphasis. But the point fact that he was pitching behind, their guy was behind the count, I think Cam was probably was going to get the same type of pitches.
But it split the inning, and it took two potential left on base runners off there. Of course, one of them was at the plate swinging the ball out of the zone to end the inning.
But that’s the discipline. Some people have called us free swingers. We don’t like that. We clearly don’t teach that and we don’t want to be that. I make it a point of emphasis because we’re really driving that home. If we’re going to stay and win and compete for a national championship, we cannot offer balls out of the zone as often as we have.
You’re always going to have it. We’re talking about amateur hitters, we’re talking the College World Series, and we’re talking about power arms that we’re facing. But it’s too often with us. And I’m hoping that you’ll print it, because it makes you great assistant coaches. So if you want us to win, print it I don’t want to say that. Just print it, okay? They’ll read it.
Q. Bobby, can you talk about what happened to you in the 4th inning? BOBBY SHORE: Yeah. I could not throw a strike. I just went out there and I was trying to throw the ball right down the middle, especially on the bunt, just trying to force contact. I don’t know, just one of those things where I couldn’t throw a strike. And the game sped up for me. Ogle tried to slow me down, and it just didn’t work. Coach got me out at the right time. I wasn’t doing a good job.
Q. Coach, it’s hard to overcome when your one through three hole hitters combine for I believe 14 at bats. Can you just talk about that? COACH GOLLOWAY: Again, trying to do too much. We always talk about more is less and less is more at this point. And we got guys trying to do too much. I think Buechele is one of those three in the top of the lineup at Virginia. And they’ve got the report, so I’m not giving anything to help anybody that’s competing against Oklahoma a scouting report. There were offers quite a few times up out.
It’s trying to do too much. Gerrit wants and he wills his team to win, and he’s such a big part of what we are and why we’re here. We’re trying to calm him down like the rest of the guys. And Chris Ellison has done a pretty good job leading off. He got on four straight games, and we won in those games and continued to advance except for the one on the first game back to Charlottesville. But he’s done a good job getting on.
Sometimes I think they just try to do too much. That’s what happens 3 2. It’s like, I’m hitting it, and it’s ball four and you can’t really hit it, but you’re out.
If we can just calm our guys down and make them understand that, hey, it’s a collective effort. Everyone’s done a great job to help us get to 50 wins, and I don’t know exact math, but we’re already talking about this. I think staying in the winner’s bracket, you’ve got to win four games to advance, and that might be the math for Clemson at this point or UCLA. We’ve got to win five. So it gives you an opportunity for us to win, what, 55 this year instead of 54. So that’s not a bad thing.
That’s how we look at it. That’s how we looked at it at Charlottesville. We lost three to two, we said when we woke up, we have to win two. When we wake up tomorrow, we’ve got to win two. Well, now we’ve got to win five. That’s not a bad thing. More opportunity for everybody to be a hero.
Q. Sunny, between having to play on three straight days or for parts of three days and getting in your bullpen early, how are you for pitching for tomorrow and kind of what’s your direction there? COACH GOLLOWAY: Well, we feel pretty good. I thought J.R. coming in stabilizing was a real big key for us. Bobby’s already come to me and said, Coach, I’ll be ready to go. Rocha came to me today and said, I feel great, I’m ready to go.
Erben is going to be able to bounce back. He’s been that kind of guy for us all year. He can go out there and throw in the teens for three, four days in a row. He’s got that kind of arm and that kind of strength to his body. Of course we haven’t used Duke, but the short stint out of the pen.
We like where we’re at. We’ve got Zach Neil who pitched Friday night for us all year in the Big 12, ready to go. And I believe in our bullpen. I believe in our arms. We have depth. Jack Mayfield is not the Jack Mayfield that we know, the one that’s been seen here at Rosenblatt. So he just got he didn’t stay over the rubber. He got out front, led with his elbow and pitches were up. That’s something we’ve already talked about and we feel we’ve corrected and he’ll be ready to go.
We’re going to be okay. Our arms are going to be there for us, and we’ve got depth and we’re going to be able to go three straight days. That is what we have to do.
Q. Have you decided concretely on a starter? COACH GOLLOWAY: Yes.
Q. For tomorrow? That’s Zach Neil? COACH GOLLOWAY: Zach Neil.
Q. Talk about facing South Carolina again and the first step in that challenge to try to get to the series, what you learned the first time out against them and kind of what you guys and the players, too, what you think about South Carolina. CAMERON SEITZER: South Carolina, they’re a great ball club, as you saw yesterday. Put up a lot of runs against Arizona State. They’re a good swinging ball club. They’ve got pitching. They’ve got depth. It’s going to be a challenge. We just have to come out and compete and play to the best of our ability, and that’s it.
TYLER OGLE: From what I know you can’t make too many mistakes against them. We made two mistakes in the game, and they put it out of the yard. Hopefully the team with the least amount of mistakes will come out with the win.
BOBBY SHORE: Yeah, we played a good game against them. We played good against them, it’s going to be a good game, fun.
COACH GOLLOWAY: Clearly in the College World Series, if you look at it, and I said this on the live shot with ESPN, if you can stay away from big innings, you give yourself a great chance at Omaha. There’s been some big innings against some pretty good teams. Clearly South Carolina had one of those.
I’m a genius by saying if we stay away from the eight run inning, it’s going to be a good shot. But it’s going to have to be much less than that. But that’s what concerned me the most. They’ve got a lineup and they’ve got a club that can put up a pretty ugly number on our side, probably pretty for Tanner, but not so pretty for me. I don’t want to see it.
We’ve got that kind of club, too. And I think that’s what both coaches, every coach here understands. You’ve got to stay away from the big number. We thought we did a good job of that yesterday by the four to one. We honestly felt good when it was four to one because that could have gotten to be an ugly number and we’ve seen some early in the series.
Q. Tyler and Cameron, you’ve been in this spot before facing elimination, just talk about it. You’ve been a hot team at the end of the year, too? Just talk about the thought of needing to win three in a row? CAMERON SEITZER: I mean, we’ve just got to go out and play like we have been all year. Facing elimination, not facing elimination. We’ve got to go out and play the same intensity every game and just go one pitch at a time and play to the best of our ability and win three straight.
TYLER OGLE: Obviously no one wants to stop playing right now. So we kind of have a sense of urgency since we got here to put up numbers. So as long as we stop trying to do too much and just play like we have been. Last year we caught a hot team, and this year we’re hoping to be that hot team in Rosenblatt.
We can just facing elimination, just come out and get three straight, hopefully take care of itself.
Q. Tyler, can you talk about the team’s attitude in the dugout? TYLER OGLE: When we got here, nobody was really, you know, down on themselves too much, because we hadn’t lost yet. I mean, we were just down five runs. We knew we were going to come out and score runs. We just fell a little short at the end.
I think everyone would be up for the next couple of games. We’ll see some smiles.
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