MIKE FOX & PLAYERS
Listen to Audio (11:25)
“I’ll tell you the same thing I told my team during the rain delay. Right now I’m enjoying watching Cornell play more than I am our team and I’m going to stick with that. I think Cornell showed you what it’s like playing in an NCAA tournament after 30 years, the excitement being here. I thought they played terrific. They probably like to have a couple of walks and maybe a couple of ground balls back and that game is entirely different.
“I don’t want to take anything away from our team, because the first game of the regionals is always that one you have to work really hard to get the win and get past this one, but I really thought Cornell just played outstanding and they were excited to be here. I’m not sure our team matched that and I think you have to be really really careful about that at a regional. Just being home and being complacent and just not locking in and bringing it, but I take nothing away from Cornell. We did just enough to win and I thought we were fortunate to win this game.”
Can you speak to Michael Morin tying the school single season save record and what he’s meant to the team this year?
“We wouldn’t be where we are without Michael. It’s incredible. He’s named first team All-American the other day and that’s really hard to do as a reliever. We signed Michael five weeks before school started the fall of 2009. Got back from the World Series and heard about this young man in the Midwest and so it was an incredible story how we recruited him and how it all fell into place and I really had no idea. Coach went and saw him and coach Forbes really really really liked him and I had no idea what kind of kid we were going to get. How tough a competitor we were getting I just didn’t know, because we didn’t have a long time to recruit him, so I think he’s made a huge impact on our program.
“You have to have a closer now in college baseball. You have to have a dominant closer who you know when the game comes down to three outs in the ninth inning your percentages of winning go up and we have one.”
Did you get what you wanted out of starter Hobbs Johnson today?
“I don’t want anybody to misunderstand. Cornell played well. They played well. It wasn’t their excitement. They played well. It was a very close intense game, which hopefully will help us.
“Yes, Hobbs gave us what we wanted out of him. We were hoping with the rain and starting about three we know it would be coming about 4:30 or quarter ‘til five, so I was real concerned. I wanted to get at least five or six out of him and if we had to stop the game, we were fine with our bullpen the rest of the way, so it worked out alright.”
What was the impact of the two diving catches by Cornell shortstop Marshall Yanzick?
“Yeah, we hit some balls hard. We lined out to right, to first base, the shortstop made a couple of big plays and that’s what kept the game close. He doesn’t make that play it’s two runs, but we had the bases loaded with no outs. We had a chance to really break the game open and extend it past five and then that changes a lot the rest of the game. We didn’t do that. A couple just really poor at bats on our part, good pitches on their part. Of course it works both ways.
"Then the game gets close and they have some confidence and they start swinging a little bit. Our bullpen wasn’t as good today as it has been so you end up with this kind of game and having the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but I think that will help us.”
Do you agree with coach Fox in terms of the lack of intensity today?
“I would say definitely. They came out fired out just like we should’ve. We knew we were going to get their best shot. That’s probably part of our leadership is us not being ready. I take that upon myself or Jake [Stallings] for the hitters. We’ll be ready tomorrow and you can’t complain, we won the game. We’ll be ready tomorrow.”
What did you do to shut Cornell down in the ninth inning after allowing the first two men to reach base?
“Started throwing strikes. I walked the first guy, which coming in, especially out of the bullpen, you always want to get the first [batter] out. Percentages go way down and so on and so forth. The fact that I walked the guy and I got behind 2-0, so throw a fastball, he’s sitting on a fastball and that’s what happens; he got a hit. Probably just get ahead and not trying to be too quick. I was jumping the first couple of batters and [coach] Forbes came out so after that I calmed down and it turned out better from there.”
How antsy did it get for you in the sixth inning after you got the first two outs, but then you had a tough stretch where they started getting hits?
“That’s baseball for you. I made a couple good pitches. They were fortunate to get good swings on them, got a couple of hits. Your job as a reliever is just to get outs and especially get out of big jams like that without giving up too many runs, so my goal was just to stop the bleeding after the one run I gave up. I made a good pitch and got the strikeout there to end it.”
You had a better day today than you had the entire ACC Tournament. What was different today?
“I guess I just relaxed more. Can’t really put a finger on it. Wish I knew so I could repeat that, but I guess I just got them to fall.”
All four of your hits were to right field. Is that an indication you’re locked in?
“I don’t know. I’ll take them anywhere, but in the week I was trying to work on me being more aggressive and pulling some more balls, but I guess it just worked out that way.”
BILL WALKENBACH & PLAYERS
Listen to Audio (7:25)
“I was pleased with the effort that our guys gave today. We hung with them offensively. I thought our pitchers did a good job keeping them off balance. If we make a couple more plays I think the game is just a little bit closer and maybe we can eek it out in the end, but [North Carolina’s] a very disciplined team at the plate. They did a good job of working counts. Obviously, they’re a very deep pitching staff and to be able to play match up they way the do, lefties and righties, it’s just a huge advantage for them. You tip the cap to that team. They just did what the do all year and that’s win ballgames and win close games and use their pitching staff to their best advantage, but, again, I was pleased with our teams effort and I expect our guys to come out tomorrow with the same type of effort and give East Carolina a run.”