Game 3: Post-Game Quotes and Audio

June 3, 2006

Clemson Regional Post-GamePress Conferences Media PlayerEvent Download the Free Real Player.MississippiState(9:15) Download the Free Real Player.UNCAsheville(2:44)

UNC Asheville Quotes

Head Coach Willie StewartOpening Statement “First off, I just want to say how proud I am of my kids, how hard they played this weekend. It hurts to lose, and we’re never going to be happy with losing. But I couldn’t be more proud of the way our guys competed against two very good teams. We fought a lot of adversity during the season, but we never quit. And we didn’t quit today.”

On first trip to the NCAA Tournament “It’s a joy for us to get here, but we weren’t satisfied just getting here. We came to play hard and we came to win some games. We came up short in two very good, well-played games. We wanted to win some games. My guys came out and they played as hard as they could; we just came up short.”

On being down 5-0 “More than anything, it talks about the character of our program and the kids that are in our program. A lot of people probably would have rolled over after being down 5-0. A lot of people probably would have rolled over after being down 10-0 in the conference championship. Not my guys. My guys don’t quit; they don’t know how. That’s why I’m glad to have almost all of them back next year.”

Alan DeRatt, pitcher On the experience of playing in the NCAA Tournament “It gives us a lot of experience for next year. We’ll come back more mature and ready to do it again.”

Matt Henson, shortstop On the experience “It’s just been amazing for me. I had a chance to come here for camp when I was 17, and it was just a dream to get to play on a field like this. I’m ready for next season already.”

Mississippi State Quotes

Head Coach Ron PolkOpening Comments “It was nice to win a close ballgame. It wasn’t easy. Nothing in the second half of the season has been for us. We got 13 hits but had only five runs. We had opportunities to expand the lead, but didn’t get it done. We left 10 guys on base. The only disappointing thing I saw was we struck out entirely too many times, especially on breaking balls. But that’s just a matter of guys pressing too hard. You just need one hero, I mentioned that this morning at our pre-game breakfast. I didn’t talk about too much, just said we needed a hero. We had one in Brian (LaNinfa) today. I thought Josh (Johnson) competed well. Thankfully, we got the taylor-made double play to set up the end of the ballgame.”

On his decision to start Josh Johnson “I called our coaches, who were out at the ballpark after our pre-game meal. I asked them how Asheville looked. I hadn’t seen them play. I wanted to know how they handled velocity. Our pitching coach told me that Clemson’s velocity was beating them OK. I said `look, let’s go ahead and go with Josh.’ We tried to make a good decision to help give our kids a chance to win as many games as we can here, possibly win the tournament.”

Mississippi State Starting Pitcher Josh JohnsonOn his thoughts prior to the game “I came to the ballpark and had it in the back of my mind that I would be pitching at some point. Our pitching coach had talked with me a couple of days ago and told me I’d be the third starter out. Today, I was ready to pitch. They handed me the ball and said go get them. So I was ready to go.

“Clemson had success throwing fastballs by them earlier today. I feel like I have a good enough arm to do that. I thought I had good stuff early in the game, but I kind of ran out of gas in the fifth inning.”

Mississippi State First Baseman Brian LaNinfaOn his monstrous home run “I was just trying to get the runner in from third base. Their pitcher threw me a fastball in. I didn’t even try to hit it hard, but thankfully I got it up. I was thinking how glad I was we got those three runs. I was just hoping we could win that game.”