Mike Fox, Colin Moran, Kent Emanuel & Trent Thornton
Listen to Audio (14:27)
“First off, congratulate Chad (Holbrook) and South Carolina on a phenomenal year. It’s almost unimaginable that you go back to 2006 [and] that one of the two programs has been to Omaha in the last eight years. Sometimes it’s both of us there at the same time. I have a great deal of respect for Chad and their whole staff. Chad did a lot of great things for this program and put us in this position when I first got here so my hat goes off to them. Very happy for these guys and Cody Stubbs especially. One of our seniors who transferred here. I’m happy for all of them but all he’s ever told me he’s wanted to do was play in Omaha. He’s a senior and he gets an opportunity to do that so it’s a special time for us and our program. Proud of all these guys.”
On handling tough pressure situations as a coach:
“You’ve really got to try to stay calm and trust these guys. I told them before the game today how much I trust them. It’s easy for me to sit here and say this team really deserves to go to Omaha and be in the world series but I really truly believe that. I think people have doubted them a little bit down the stretch here and not that we needed any validation because we won 57 games but we scripted out the dogpile last night in an email to them. Just how exactly we were going to do it and that’s the first one I’ve jumped in in 15 years being here. Might be my last one but it was fun. This has been a great group and it’s fitting. Coach Jackson said it in the locker room that is was fitting Colin (Moran) got a big hit and Kent (Emanuel) was on the mound because those two guys have meant a lot to our program.”
What does it mean to play N.C. State on a national stage and for the growth of college baseball in this area?
“I do certainly think it has brought attention to college baseball in this area especially and I know how hard Elliot (Avent) has worked over there with his program. That’s how hard it is. It’s hard to get Omaha. I keep telling myself that and we’re going six times in eight years. I told the players last night it’s mind-blowing to me. It’ll be fun in Omaha but it doesn’t matter who you’re playing out there. It’s a blast. It’s great to see your kids kind of be treated like rock stars and want autographs. It’s fun. We’ll have our hands full obviously but right now we just want to relish the moment.”
What were your emotions when Chaz Frank made the error in centerfield that led to South Carolina taking the lead?
“Our guys were picking him up as soon as he came in. Just talking about attitude and stuff. My heart sank. No doubt right now that he’s the happiest person on the planet. There’s no question about that. I felt sadness at the time because Chaz has meant a lot to our program obviously in four years and I know how bad he felt. I’m so glad we got it done.”
On pulling Benton Moss from the game and inserting Trent Thornton:
“We had a plan and we think Trent has been one of our best guys all year. We’ve brought him in games before and he’s given us five or six innings so we were hoping that would be the case. We had Chris (McCue) and Kent and a few other options. Coach Forbes and I did a lot of talking and a lot of thinking about it. You can sort of script out games before they’re played and they never go according to plan but this one went pretty much according to plan.”
How does playing a familiar opponent like N.C. State help with scouting an opponent?
“Ask Coach Forbes and Coach Jackson. They’re excited in the locker room because they don’t have to do a scouting report. That’s the first thing Coach Forbes said when he came in. They’ll watch every game and yeah we know a lot about them.”
Comments on ability to survive and advance without any dominating performances:
“I don’t like those seedings. I didn’t like that knowing we were announced. I really didn’t. I don’t quite see the point but I do see it’s for the fans and the media to rank. You just want to be one of the top eight and I don’t know if our guys felt any extra-added pressure with that. I think it was more excitement than anything else. It doesn’t matter how you get there. Baseball is a tough game. You never know how it’s going to go. At the end of the day we’re going so that’s the most important thing.”
On facing an elimination game and the possibility of that experience helping in the College World Series:
“Maybe a little bit. I’m just happy for these 27 guys and all of our staff and people that have been around our program. That’s the joy in going is everybody gets to experience. Maybe I’ll reflect back on it. I can’t remember the other ways we got there. I mean I do but this one’s sweet. This one is very special and we’ve had a lot of people help us besides our players and they’re going to get rewarded as well.”
Chad Holbrook & Players
Listen to Audio (17:49)
"Congratulations to North Carolina. Obviously an incredible season they’ve had thus far. 57-10 is an incredible feat. That being said, it’s a very disappointing day for us. I felt like the game was there for us to win and we didn’t make some plays we normally make and do some things we normally do. You’ve got to credit North Carolina. They got a big homerun there in the second and pushed across three there in the sixth when we kind of opened the gates for them a little bit. Baseball is a game of inches. That’s just how it is. Inches down the ball and down the line…inches that Joey (Pankake) could’ve caught the ball to lead off that sixth inning…Inches that could’ve been strike three on a 3-2 count with the bases loaded.
"That’s baseball. Sometimes things don’t necessarily go your way but you’ve also got to try to make your own breaks and plays. We didn’t make the plays there in the sixth when it counted. North Carolina is a terrific team. You see there’s not too much difference between the two teams. Ultimately, we didn’t win the two games that they won. It’ll haunt me for a long time but I’m also awfully proud of our players. They represented this program and this university the right way all year long. They’ve done things off the field that have surpassed a lot of things that have been done here before and the way they’ve represented the program with community service and what their GPA was.
"They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. It’s a difficult day for us today but we’ll look back on it as a darn good year and there’s a lot to be proud of. With that being said, congratulations to North Carolina as they get to go compete for the national championship.”