June 26, 2010
Recap | Box Score | Photo Gallery
Head Coach Jack Leggett Wilson Boyd Mike Freeman
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by Clemson players Wilson Boyd, Mike Freeman, and Coach Jack Leggett. Coach, an opening statement. COACH LEGGETT: Well, they played a good ball game. Gotta give them credit. The kid pitched a good game, kept the ball down, we hit a ton of ground balls. They made a ton of plays. We never had a chance to get things going offensively. Didn’t have many lead off men on base. When we did, we did score that one run.
But we just didn’t get any flow offensively going. And we got behind early, and we did make some pitches to keep it close. But this ball game’s over. As far as I’m concerned we just gotta come back tomorrow and be ready to play.
THE MODERATOR: Questions.
Q. Wilson and Mike, just how tough was Roth tonight? Was he just pitching that well? Wilson Boyd: I think from the last time we saw him, I think he dropped his arm slide a little bit, as far as the way the ball is moving tonight. Made it tough on a lefty because it exploded in. And he had a slider away and everything, as Coach Leggett said, down in the zone. He did what he had to do tonight to win the ball game for them.
Mike Freeman: Yeah, it’s definitely his night. You gotta give him a lot of credit because he went out there and battled for his team and did exactly what they wanted him to do, and we just couldn’t get anything going. Got a couple of hits. When we did, we couldn’t put them back together.
So we just never really got anything going on offense, any kind of a walk followed by a hit. And we just kind of granted a double play or something to try and kill anything we had going.
Gotta give a lot of credit for making the pitches when he needed to make his pitches and, I mean, the good thing is we got another game tomorrow to play, so we’ll be out and ready to go tomorrow.
Q. Jack, were you surprised that Roth was able to go as long as he was? He had thrown 26 innings all season and for him to come out and throw nine, over 100 pitches, were you surprised? COACH LEGGETT: I didn’t really think when the game started that they were going to ride him that long. But he was having success, and he was throwing strikes, and he was getting some quick outs and his pitch count wasn’t up very much.
And so we just kept riding him and he kept throwing balls in the strike zone and they were making plays behind him. So I didn’t expect him to go nine innings certainly when the game started, but at the same time once he got rolling there, I knew we were having a little bit of trouble. We weren’t getting a lot of good swings.
Q. Jack, he mentioned the arm slot was a little different. Had you seen that in the scouting reports that he kind of started pitching differently lately? COACH LEGGETT: Right. We had seen him a couple times. Saw him out here in relief, and we’ve seen him on tape. And some of the regional, Super Regionals, and so forth. We knew his arm slot was dropping down a little bit. He had some good ball movement. He was a little deceptive. And obviously it was tough for us to see.
Q. Guys, I know ’02 is ancient history. People will talk about it you lost a couple to South Carolina, or Clemson did in the World Series. Cross your mind at all, any factor at all? Mike Freeman: I mean, we weren’t here in ’02. I mean, I don’t really know exactly the history. I know that they have a really good team in ’02. Michael Johnson was a part of it. But as far as that goes, that has nothing to do with this College World Series. They beat us tonight. But we got a game tomorrow and we’re going to come out ready to play.
Q. Coach, any thought on who you’re going to start tomorrow, what the pitching rotation will look like? COACH LEGGETT: I’ll go back and talk about it. Casey Harman is an option for us, certainly, and so we’ll go back and talk about it tonight.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, gentlemen.
SOUTH CAROLINA QUOTES
Head Coach Ray Tanner Jackie Bradley, Jr. Kyle Enders Michael Roth
THE MODERATOR: We’re joined by South Carolina players Jackie Bradley, Jr., Kyle Enders, Mike Roth, and Coach Ray Tanner. Coach, an opening statement. COACH TANNER: We played a near perfect game today for us. We played extremely well. We manufactured some runs early. Played pretty solid defense other than the one ball that Wingo tossed in the dirt. And we made every play. They hit a couple of balls hard. We were right there to catch them.
And what can you say about Michael Roth’s performance? I was very confident going into the game that he would give us a chance to win through three or four innings.
I know him well. He’s been an outstanding pitcher for us all year, and my confidence level was that he would get the game going for us and we’d have a chance through three or four and we’d have to figure out what we were going to do.
And then he kept stretching it out. That was one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever had a young man pitch for me. That was certainly one for the record books, as far as I’m concerned.
Q. Coach, what went into the decision to start Michael, who were some of the other options, and was it as tough as making the one to start Blake over Tyler yesterday? COACH TANNER: I think that Michael’s experience, his ability to go into tough situations, this was a very difficult one. He’s pitched all year under circumstances that are not comfortable with his role out of the bullpen.
We just felt like the matchup was good. Now, for me to think that it was going to be a complete game, I can’t even I’m honest I thought that we’d have an opportunity. He’d give us three or four quality innings and we’d have to figure it out from there. But Coach Calvi was convinced he was his first choice, after yesterday.
He said “I feel good about what he can give us,” and the reasons why, and I agreed with him, and that’s what happened.
Q. Sean McDonough was broadcasting the game for ESPN. I was listening to the monitor while you were in the 9th. He said if I’m quoting, he said that Michael Roth’s performance is one of the most impressive and unexpected performances in the history of the College World Series. What’s your reaction to that and what’s Mike’s reaction to that? COACH TANNER: Unfortunately, I haven’t been here enough to see a lot of great performances. I’ve had an opportunity to see a few. But certainly for me it’s hard to imagine under those circumstances and, as he said, not expecting it to be the performance that he got, what was most impressive. I can’t say enough great things about Michael Roth and what he did for us tonight.
Q. Michael? MICHAEL ROTH: I’m honored that he said that. I mean, I just went out there and tried to throw inning after inning. I told Coach I’d throw until my arm fell off at the elevator at the hotel.
And he asked me if that was one inning (laughter). But, no, I didn’t expect to go nine innings. But I really expected to at least go five. And I just kept taking it one inning at a time.
Q. Do you feel like your arm is about to fall off now, or how do you feel and how much did the adrenalin get you through that? MICHAEL ROTH: Adrenalin helped, yes. But, you know, we train hard. I think our bullpen, you know anybody in our bullpen could be ready to stretch it out. Maybe not 100 pitches.
My arm is sore, and hopefully I can bounce back quick. Not tomorrow. But, you know, we train hard, and I think anybody in the bullpen is ready to go out there and throw as many as they can. And adrenalin did help, yes.
Q. Michael, when you sat down, you looked at the stat sheet and you were kind of nodding your head a little bit. What stood out to you? And also did were Clemson’s lefties just totally baffled by you? Were they kind of shocked at what they saw? MICHAEL ROTH: Well, I actually didn’t know what BF meant with 33. I didn’t know what that was. So it’s an impressive line. I mean, I pitched great. And the lefties, I mean, it’s tough. I mean, coming from a side arm, you don’t see a side arm lefty very often. And face our guys in intramurals and intersquads in intersquads (laughter) faced our guys in intersquads, and they tried to make adjustments, but I just kept coming in on them.
Whenever they backed off the plate a little bit I’d keep coming in. And they just kept jamming themselves. I mainly just threw fastballs in and sliders away.
Q. Kyle, what was it like for you to be back there just catching this masterful game, and Michael do you still consider yourself a relief pitcher? KYLE ENDERS: I mean, it was definitely fun back there catching Michael tonight. He was going on all cylinders, throwing a lot of strikes and keeping them off balance. And I actually feel kind of bad. I’m responsible for his only run. And it was part of the game, and it was definitely fun catching a great game for him.
MICHAEL ROTH: You’re not responsible. I gave up a double. What was the question again?
Q. Do you consider yourself a relief pitcher? MICHAEL ROTH: Yeah, I would say so. You know, I looked at the game. I didn’t change anything like I normally do. I still threw with my throwing partner that I throw with every game.
I didn’t change anything like the normal starting pitchers where they do their normal routine like. And I just approach it that I was relieving in the 1st inning. Yeah, I would still consider myself a relief pitcher.
Q. Michael, just walk us through this year, I guess. You’re called on to get a batter or two 90 percent of the season, and then suddenly you’re in the College World Series starting and deciding a game that could be an elimination game. What’s this year been like for you? MICHAEL ROTH: Up and down, honestly. Sometimes you don’t like throwing to one batter or two batters. But I began to accept that as my role for the team this year. And everybody all 35 guys, now 27 have their role on the team. And I was a situational guy versus lefties.
We have two other side arm righties that are situational guys. And I accepted it. And I got stretched out in the Regionals throwing three and maybe a third or something. I think I tripled that tonight. So, I mean, it was I don’t know.
Q. (Question about feeling honored)? MICHAEL ROTH: I was surprised. Coach Calvi came in my room. He was like, Are you okay to start? I was like, Yeah, that’s cool. But I am honored that they called upon me against a great team. Clemson swings the bats really well lately. And we were able to get them cold tonight.
Q. Ray, in all seriousness, having him go the distance, not having to use anybody tonight, how big of an advantage is that for your team both tomorrow and in case you win tomorrow, next week, too? COACH TANNER: Well, it helps, certainly, for tomorrow’s game regardless of what happens in that game. The fact that he stayed out there for the entire game gave us an opportunity. We’ve got a couple of guys about halfway down the bullpen, and that was it.
Surprisingly, Matt Price came to me and said he was good for an inning. And I was surprised. I tried to stay away from that. Would we have gone there? Possibly, had we gotten in that kind of trouble. But didn’t want to do that.
But he said he felt pretty good. But the fact that nobody had to go out there tonight, that helps us a little bit tomorrow. But certainly they’ve got some guys, too. They played one less game. So they’ve got some guys that are ready to go. And I’m sure that he’ll probably go with Harman tomorrow, who is rested. Only four teams left. Strap it on and go and hopefully whoever we run out there will give us an opportunity.
Q. Kyle, you haven’t hit a lot of home runs this year, what was it like to hit a home run here at Rosenblatt? Did you feel some pressure to keep up with the other Riverside High guy? KYLE ENDERS: It was an honor to hit a home run. Like you said, I haven’t hit it a lot all season. I only had two coming in. And to hit one in the College World Series is definitely an honor for me. And I just try to give my team a chance to win.
Q. Follow up on that question, Kyle. Talk about the pitch, looked like it was a fastball over half of the plate, you jumped all over it? KYLE ENDERS: He had thrown me two previous curveballs. I was 2 1. I was sitting on a fastball in and I got it and put a good swing on it and hit the barrel.
Q. Jackie, you guys had a lot of pressure on you tonight facing elimination. You came out and you won. Do you think the pressure now goes towards Clemson a little bit? What’s the mentality of the team? JACKIE BRADLEY, JR.: I don’t think it goes towards Clemson a little bit. They had already been two games up. And, I mean, mainly the pressure was on us. It was either win or go home for us. They still had another chance. So, I mean, we’re both going to come out and play tomorrow, start 0 0 for all we know now, either way. Either person loses, they’re going home.
Q. Coach, have you thought about your starter tomorrow? I know you mentioned something that Sam might have something in the tank. COACH TANNER: I think he does. I chatted with him in the middle of the game tonight. I sometimes don’t know what to do during the game and I start pacing a little bit. So he was sitting there, and I dropped in on him. I said, How are you feeling? So we chatted it up a little bit in the middle and he said, you know, I feel pretty good. As Michael mentioned, these guys are conditioned. They train and they bounce back a little bit quicker than you might think.
So whether we start him or not, he’ll get some consideration. And we’ll try to put it together tomorrow.
Q. Michael, one of the Clemson guys said that they thought you were a lot harder to hit this time than the last time they saw you, because I think he said your arm was lower than it was then or seemed lower. Is that an adjustment you made during this season? And do you think it made you more effective? MICHAEL ROTH: If it was an adjustment I made, it was not on purpose. I mean, I’ve gotten better as the season’s gone on. My arm’s been feeling a little more lively right now. I don’t know. I’m throwing a little bit harder than I was when I started out. And maybe that’s helping out.
THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you very much.
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