MIKE FOX & PLAYERS
Listen to Audio (10:31)
“That’s a crushing loss. There’s no question about it and you got to give them credit. Big swing of the bat. I thought it was just a well pitched game all the way around and I kind of wondered if some of those opportunities we had early in the game might come back to get us and I think, obviously in hindsight, it looks like they did.
“I make that move every time without question. Put Michael [Morin] in the game in the ninth inning. We wouldn’t be playing in this regional without him and I have a lot of confidence my team will come out tomorrow and this will be a tough one to get over, but we don’t have any choice. We’ll get back on the field tomorrow and try to play a little bit better, but my hats off to St. Johns for getting a win.”
Was Kent Emanuel tiring or had he reached a pitch limit?
“No, I thought he was throwing his best at the end really. I think he got stronger as the game went on. It says on [the box score] 102 [pitches]. I don’t know that we had him at quite that many. That might be pretty close. I thought both pitchers were sensational.”
This is the first time you have to go through the losers bracket in regional play at home. How do you approach that starting tomorrow?
“Yeah, it’s one of those things. It’s tournament play and we don’t have any choice. There’s a game tomorrow at one o’clock and it’s against a really good team. This is where you talk about the character of your team and the resiliency and all those things coaches talk about during the season and baseball is just one of those sports that you can lose like this. That’s the life of a closer. You can be on the mound at the end of the game in a huge celebration or you can give up a homerun like that. It’s part of baseball and I think we’re capable of coming back. We got the pitching depth so I trust our leaders here and it would be a shame after this season we’ve had if we didn’t come out ready to play tomorrow. That would surprise me.”
Is this the scenario where hopefully your pitching depth can benefit you?
“Well, we’ll see, but right now it’s one game so your depth’s only good for the first nine innings tomorrow against East Carolina. We got Benton Moss going and then we’ll just use everybody we can to try to survive and turn around and go from there. You can’t really think about winning three games. You just got to think about trying to win one.”
Any thoughts on Michael Morin not being comfortable on the mound for two straight days? Has that happened before?
“It’s a little unusual. He got behind. [Bethea] is the one guy, I think he’s their best hitter. We did debate whether we were going to let Kent finish. Sure, we talked about it, obviously. I really think if we got another run, and this is hindsight, and it’s 5-2 I think we leave Kent out there because I thought Kent was throwing well.
“We think Michael Morin is one of the best closers in the game and he did throw 25 pitches yesterday, but he’s done that before. He’s come back on back-to-back days. He gets a big strikeout there on the changeup and really we’re just trying to waste that pitch right there. We don’t want to lose the game on our closers second best pitch, so we’re just trying to waste one down and away, let him see a fastball and come back with a changeup. Michael left it up and you got to give the kid credit. He hit it right on the screws.”
You never looked like you comfortable at all today. Can you talk about the ninth inning?
“I wasn’t comfortable yesterday to begin with. I calmed down and the same thing happened yesterday and [coach] Forbes came out and I was fine and I got a strikeout after. It was the same thing. I just left the ball up and now we’re here. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the situation or anything like that. I was calm and just wasn’t throwing strikes. It wasn’t nothing to do with the opponent or anything like that. I just didn’t feel comfortable.”
What were you trying to do with the pitch that Bethea hit out?
“It was just a fastball away. I had struck the guy out on three changeups the previous batter. I got ahead with another changeup and I didn’t want to throw too many changeups. It’s not too hard when you know exactly what pitch is coming so I tried to get a fastball away, get ahead and then trying to punch him out, but the fastball flied up and in pretty much and it was supposed to be low and away.”
Take us through your two-run homerun.
“Once I got into the bat I was dead sitting on the fastball. He threw me a changeup low. Anything low, really, is a pitch I like to get and I just did my job at the plate.”
What was the mode in the locker room following the game?
“It’s pretty down right now, obviously, because we just got beat. Our guys will come out ready to play tomorrow, I know for sure we will.”
What did you see out of St. John’s starter Sean Hagan that made him effective against your lineup?
“Part of what made him effective was most of our lineup is lefties. So, lefty on lefty he has a little bit of an advantage and with the slider.”
ED BLANKMEYER & PLAYERS
Listen to Audio (7:29)
“I just thought you just witnessed a great college baseball game. I thought the two left-handers pitched extremely well. The opportunities to score runs were not that many. I think the defensive play was good and we got a key hit at the end. A typical storybook ending for a game like that.
“Sean [Hagan] pitched great. I though our kids hung in there. I think he ran out of gas a little bit at the end. I may have kept him in there just a notch too long, but I thought James Lomangino and Kevin Kilpatrick got the job done to keep us in striking distance and a couple hits and you never know in this game. That’s why this game is the greatest game around.”
On his three-run walk-off homerun:
“He started off throwing me a slider, which was a good pitch, for a strike. I was looking for something I could elevate and stay out the double play and he threw me a fastball up and in and I was fortunate enough to get my hands through.”