Listen to Audio (11:02)
“That might have been the greatest baseball game I’ve ever been a part of. I said after the eighteen inning game against (N.C.) State that I didn’t have any word to describe that game. I certainly don’t have any to describe that one. You watched it. We withstood a grand slam, a three-run homer and a two run homer. We talk about toughness all the time and trying to recruit tough kids. You can’t coach tough kids but we sure do have them on our team. I’m very proud of them. That’s an understatement.”
On the double play mishap in the ninth inning:
“They said Mike (Zolk) missed the tag and he didn’t run out of the baseline. He said he had a good look at it. That was a big play obviously because in hindsight Mike should have just thrown it to first to try and get the out. That inning may never have happened but we withstood some things. I thought the umpiring in this regional was really good. Very class guys.”
On using starting pitchers Kent Emanuel, Benton Moss and Hobbs Johnson:
“We feel like we owe it to our team to put the best guys out there to try and win the most important game of our season and try to advance. All these guys come to us saying I’ve got an inning or I’ve got a hitter. That’s what some of them got. They’re competitors. They want to go out there. I’ll stand by our reputation. I don’t think we put any of them at risk. I’m proud of all of them for doing the job that they did.”
On performances in the game that led to the win:
“When you step up and watch a freshman like Landon Lassiter do what he did tonight. I’m going to remember this game for the rest of my life so it’s special.”
What’s the update on the health of Matt Roberts?
“Matt’s got a broken finger unfortunately. It’s great having Brian Holberton who can catch and be versatile for us like that but I hate that for Matt.”
On his feelings after winning the regional:
“This game would have been special at any time but to do it when it’s June 3rd and June 4th with what’s on the line with the Super Regional… And the crowd. I didn’t think anyone would be here with the delay and the rain. I worried that we wouldn’t have a crowd and gosh did we have a crowd. We’ll play all our games next year at about ten.”
Any concern with Kent Emanuel being ready for Friday’s game at 1 p.m.?
“Is that when we play? I don’t know. I thought we played Saturday. I don’t know we’ll figure it out.”
Can you walk us through your thoughts before your walk-off game winner?
“I was going to get the job done no matter what. I was mad at myself for chasing a couple of bad pitches but there was no way I wasn’t going to put the ball in play there. I told myself no matter what you’re putting the ball in play.”
What were your emotions after going down in the ninth inning?
“It was kind of like not again. We’re not going to have what happened last year happen again. I knew I was up first and I was going to do anything I could to get on base. Luckily, I did and then (Michael) Russell followed. When you get momentum like that you’re going to do everything you possibly can to not give up.”
Did you rely on the extra inning games from last week to help give you confidence to finish this one out?
“I was actually thinking about that on first base when one of their kids got on and he seemed tired. I guess it was their fifth game but it’s incredible that those two extra inning games we played helped us a lot. Keep preserving and keep pushing through because we win this game no matter what.”
What were your emotions after going down at crucial moments in this game?
“I wasn’t really worried too much. I think it just showed how tough we are. We’ve been in situations like this throughout the whole year. We’ve been battling back in whatever circumstance has been put in front of us. It was just awesome.”
Did you have a lot of confidence going to bat to drive in the tying run later in the game after already doing it in the ninth inning?
“I’ve been in that spot a few times this year. I think that’s when I’m at my best. I like being in spots like that when the game is on the line. I think I have to lock in extra and it gets me going.”
On the ability to survive the regional:
“I think it’s all for our seniors. We’ve built such good relationships with these guys being with them every day. We don’t want the end to come for those guys. I think we battled just for them. I talked to Chaz Frank last night. My whole approach to this game was not losing for those three guys being our seniors. I think that’s what gets us going and motivates us.”